Category: Civil Debates

December 4, 2015, by
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Civil Debates Post it BoxANNOUNCING THE RETURN OF CIVIL DEBATES!

Monday December 14, 730PM @ Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen Street West

Admission PWYW (Pay What You Want)

Co-produced by Praxis Theatre and The Theatre Centre, Civil Debates was originally launched in 2013 as an opportunity to extend the online community Praxis Theatre had developed over the years via praxistheatre.com. Within a face-to-face setting, we worked to bring those conversations into a physical space. We were enthused and encouraged by the intelligent and civil discourse that had developed online, particularly in the comments of posts about hot button issues.

We began to think that – as theatre companies – we should be doing this live in a space with human bodies.

And so, building on the success of our three previous debates on Creative Cities, Arts Boards and Idle No More – Praxis Theatre and The Theatre Centre’s Civil Debates returns during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris with a debate on the ethics of receiving arts funding from drivers of climate change.

The Resolution:

A carbon-based economy is destroying life on the planet. Therefore:

Be It Resolved That it is unethical for arts organizations to accept funds from corporations causing this destruction and these revenue sources should be phased out. 

Moderator:

  • jason RyleJason Ryle is the Executive Director at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Jason oversees all aspects of the organization including programming, operations, finance, and the annual Festival. He sits on the Board of Directors for Vtape, an independent video distributor, and is a script reader for The Harold Greenberg Fund, which provides financial aid to Canadian filmmakers. As an award-winning writer, Jason has written for the Smithsonian Institution and numerous publications throughout North America. He made his first short film in 2005 and has been programming alongside imagineNATIVE’s Programming Team since 2002.

Arguing for the resolution (Side A):

  • Tommy Taylor001Tommy Taylor is a Toronto based theatre artist, activist and fundraiser born and living in Toronto, ON. Recently, Tommy was the Green Party Candidate for Scarborough Southwest in the 2015 Federal Election. In 2013, he toured his award-winning, one-man show about his experience being arrested and detained at the 2010 Toronto G20 Summit, You Should Have Stayed Home: A G20 Romp!, across Canada. As a fundraiser Tommy has worked on behalf of multiple organizations including the UN Refugee Agency, Amnesty International as well as various political and environmental advocacy groups.
  • andreaAndrea Houston is a Toronto journalist and human rights advocate, who has covered a range of issues affecting LGBT people on local, provincial, national and international levels. Andrea is perhaps best known for breaking the 2011 story that Ontario Catholic schools prohibited students from forming gay-straight alliances (GSA) clubs. Her reporting played a key role in the passage of provincial legislation that mandated all publicly funded schools be required to allow GSAs if students want them. In 2012, she was named Honoured Dyke by Pride Toronto. Andrea co-founded #ENDhatelaws, a coalition fighting for an end to international anti-gay laws enforced in more than 80 countries. Most recently, Andrea is executive assistant to Ontario’s first LGBTQ critic, MPP Cheri DiNovo, working on legislation to make the province safer and more accepting for queer and trans people. In June 2015, Bill 77 passed in the Ontario legislature, banning so-called conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth.

Arguing against the resolution (Side B):

  • MaggiephotodetectiveMaggie MacDonald is an artist, writer and environmental activist. Her recent theatre works include Young Drones, a rock opera created with The Bicycles and artist Amy Siegel (SummerWorks Performance Festival, 2014), and the space comedy No One Receiving (Rhubarb Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 2014). She is also co-creator of musicals Paper Laced with Gold (HATCH 2012), and The Rat King (Lucille Lortel Theatre, NY, 2007). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), an alumnus of the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, and was a finalist for the 2014 Toronto Arts Foundation Mayor’s Award for Best Emerging Artist. She is also a campaigner specializing in research and advocacy against endocrine disrupting chemicals and environmental causes of cancer. On twitter: http://twitter.com/MacDonaldMaggie
  • Michael Healey - high resMichael Healey is a playwright and actor. His plays include Kicked, Rune Arlidge, Proud, The Drawer Boy, Courageous, and Plan B. 1979, a play about former prime minister Joe Clark, is set for production in 2017.

 

 

 

Debate Format

Side A1 10 minutes

Side B1 10 minutes

Side A2 10 minutes

Side B2 13 minutes

Side A1 3 minutes

Questions from Floor: 25 Minutes

Audience Participation:

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Following the debate, the floor will be opened to 2-minute comments or questions from the floor.  If a question is directed at a debater, that person will have 2 minutes to answer. This will last 25 minutes maximum.

Attendees will be asked to register their opinion on their way in and out by secret ballot – to see if the debate shifted informed thought.

As always, and as the name implies, these debates will be civil and we invite apply your friendly intellect to a rigorous discussion of complex ideas.

Monday December 14, 730PM @ Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen Street West

Admission PWYW (Pay What You Want)

June 14, 2013, by
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Civil Debates Post it Box#CivilDebates 3: Idle No More will include a discussion of 21 controversial statements our speakers have submitted anonymously.

These will inform the section of #CivilDebates 3 that invites audience members to participate through a two minute response to any of the statements.

Read more about the Format and Speakers in #CivilDebates 3: Idle No More 

Here’s a preview of 5 / 21 controversial statements:

Idle No More- SUN

How do we address things like this?

  • Electing a new, different government (Liberal, NDP, etc.) will not change the Canadian-First Nations relationship. 

  • Idle No More has been an urban movement.

  • Harper lied in the apology.

  • Confrontation is likely the key to any real change.

  • The Indian Act is illegal legislation.

Creative Cities Debate - March 15, 2013

Debate 3: Idle No More

June 18, 2013; doors 7pm, debates 7.30pm
The Theatre Centre Pop-Up, 1095 Queen St. West, at Dovercourt
PWYC at the door. No RSVP required.
Hashtag: #CivilDebates

Click here for more information about the Civil Debates series in partnership between The Theatre Centre & Praxis Theatre.

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June 12, 2013, by
1 comment

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#CivilDebates 3: Idle No More is Tuesday June 18 @ 730pm in The Theatre Centre Pop Up – Queen St. W @ Dovercourt

After rigorous debate on Creative Cities theories and the Role of Arts Boards, we’re excited to announce the speakers for #CivilDebates 3: Idle No More. 

Resolution to be addressed:

The issues that created the Idle No More movement require extreme methods to achieve change.

Speakers:

??2009 alex felipe All Rights Reserved. Native Earth shoot at Six Nations Res.Yvette Nolan (Algonquin) is a playwright, dramaturg and director. Her plays include BLADE, Job’s Wife, Video, Annie Mae’s Movement, Scattering Jake, from thine eyes, Ham and the Ram, The Unplugging, The Birds (a modern adaptation of Aristophanes’ comedy. She is the editor of Beyond the Pale: Dramatic Writing from First Nations Writers and Writers of Colour, and of Refractions: Solo, with Donna-Michelle St Bernard.

Directing credits include Justice, Café Daughter (Gwaandak Theatre), Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, Salt Baby, A Very Polite Genocide, Death of a Chief, Tales of An Urban Indian, The Unnatural and Accidental Women, Annie Mae’s Movement (Native Earth), The Ecstasy of Rita Joe (Western Canada Theatre/National Arts Centre), The Only Good Indian…, The Triple Truth (Turtle Gals). From 2003-2011, she served as Artistic Director of Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s oldest professional Aboriginal theatre. She is currently working on a book on Native theatre in Canada.

HaydenKing

Hayden King is Pottawatomi and Ojibwe from Gchimnissing (Christian Island) in Huronia, Ontario.

He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Ryerson University.

In addition to work in the academy, Hayden has served as the Senior Policy Adviser to the Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Director of Research for the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Scholar-in-Residence for the Conference Board of Canada and Governance Consultant to BeausoleilFirst Nation. 

Follow Hayden on twitter: @Hayden_King

wandaWanda Nanibush is an Anishinabe-kwe mother, curator, image and word warrior from Beausoleil First Nation.

Nanibush has published in FUSE magazine, Literary Review of Canada, MUSKRAT magazine and in the book: This is an Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Blockades amount others. She is an Idle No More Toronto organizer and history buff. ”


Unlike the previous two #CivilDebates, this debate will not be modled on the Parliamentary debate system. Discussion will be broken into five sections:

1

5 minutes from each of the speakers responding to the statement:

The issues that created the Idle No More movement require extreme methods to achieve change.

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Up to 5 minutes each for each of the speakers to respond to any of the ideas put forward by the other speakers.

3

Reading of 21 Provocative Statements. 7 each provided by by the speakers, but not-attributed.

4

Opportunity for audience members to respond to one of the statements for two minutes. Debaters may also participate.

5

Conclusion. An opportunity to define the final portion of the discussion to discuss any actions, opportunities or ideas have been illuminated by the discussion.


Civil Debates Post it Box#CIVILDEBATES

Debate 3: Idle No More

June 18, 2013; doors 7pm, debates 7.30pm
The Theatre Centre Pop-Up, 1095 Queen St. West, at Dovercourt
PWYC at the door. No RSVP required.
Hashtag: #CivilDebates

Click here for more information about the Civil Debates series in partnership between The Theatre Centre & Praxis Theatre.

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April 26, 2013, by
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Civil Debates Post it BoxSo, this makes it 3/3 – with the date of each of our first three debates being rescheduled due to issues with participants and availability.

Sorry. Thanks for playing along with us while we discover how running a community debate series works. One of the things we’re learning is that we can’t announce a debate until the participants are all confirmed. This gets a bit tricky when we are trying to have discussions about things that are A) Timely and B) Led by people who are very knowledgable on the topic.

The closest model we have for this as theatre companies is The Wrecking Ball – which announces a date three to four weeks in advance before writers, cast and directors are added to create the event. To secure expert speakers, often going outside the theatre community, this model has essentially proven to be challenging. We’re adjusting.

Stay tuned for more info on what we plan for this debate in the future. We ‘re really excited by the enthusiasm for the first two sold out debates, and committed to rigorous discourse led by compelling speakers on a host of topics in the future.

April 9, 2013, by
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Pre-Civil Debates 2. Photo by Zoe Sweet

Pre-Civil Debates 2. Photo by Zoe Sweet

  • Civil Debates 2: Arts Boards was co-produced and created by The Theatre Centre and Praxis Theatre on April 1, 2013.
April 2, 2013, by
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Civil Debates 2 Image

View from moderator’s chair pre-debate

Last night The Theatre Centre and Praxis Theatre held #CivilDebates 2: Arts Boards, examining the relationship between Arts Boards and Artistic Directors through debate of the resolution:

Be it resolved that Boards of Directors have the right and responsibility to overrule the Artistic Direction of a theatre company.

Arguing for the resolution was Theatre Centre Artistic Director Franco Boni and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Artistic Director Brendan Healy.

Jini Stolk Creative Trust Research Fellow at the Toronto Arts Foundation, and Gideon Arthurs, General Manager of the Tarragon Theatre, argued against.

Here’s some of the arguments that were put forth as summarized on twitter:

After the debate, there was a lot of continued discussion, as debaters and attendees hung out and continued conversations that could not be accommodated by the strict one minute, timed question-and-answer format that shaped the final section of the event.

We changed our voting format for #CivilDebates 2 Arts Boards:

Attendees were polled upon entering the debate as to their position on the resolution. The initial result was:

36 Yea – 10 Nay

After the debate, attendees also registered their position on the resolution as they left. The post-debate result was:

56 Yea – 9 Nay

What does this mean? First of all that some people don’t want to register an opinion if they are uncertain about a proposition. Also, there were more than 65 attendees, so some people don’t want to vote at all. Finally, it indicates that after hearing the debate and the discussion that followed afterwards, more people were swayed to vote in favour of the resolution.

Thanks to all who participated. It was a very *civil* event on what has been a contentious issue.

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April 1, 2013, by
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Civil Debates 1Welcome to Debate Day #2 – Arts Boards

WHEN: Tonight: Doors @ 7pm, debate @ 7.30pm

WHERE: Right next to the The Theatre Centre Pop-Up, 1093 Queen St. West, at Dovercourt in the Thrush Holmes Gallery

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Be sure to pick up your poker chips on the way in. You’ll be asked to vote on your position as you enter with one chip, the 2nd chip will buy you 60 seconds of speaking time to either make a statement or ask a question, and the 3rd chip will be used as you vote on your position as you leave. Check back here later for the results of the two votes.

*NOTE: We’ve moved into a larger space right next door to the Pop-Up to make sure everyone can get in.

PWYC at the door. No RSVP required.

This evening Gideon Arthurs, Franco Boni, Brendan Healy & Jini Stolk will debate the resolution:

Be it resolved that Boards of Directors have the right and responsibility to overrule the Artistic Direction of a theatre company.

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How does the debate work?

Hosted by Theatre Centre Managing Director Roxanne Duncan

Moderated by Praxis Theatre Artistic Producer Aislinn Rose

The event will be live-tweeted via @praxistheatre & @theatrecentre. The Debate Hashtag is: #CivilDebates.

Not on Twitter/Don’t want to be? Below is a livestream of the tweets and pictures using the #CivilDebates hashtag, feel free to follow along live from this post.

Click here for a backgrounder on the topic, or here for more information about the debaters. CLICK PIRATE & NINJA for more info on the series and structure.


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March 28, 2013, by
7 comments

Civil Debates 1

by Aislinn Rose

Last year, after the firing of Ken Gass from Factory Theatre, David Ferry and I exchanged open letters on this site. David’s letter, addressed to the younger generation of theatre artists, first appeared on Facebook.  He asked why the newer generation of artists was so silent on the issue. Was it apathy? Had he and his contemporaries failed the next generation by not setting a good example?

“How have I and my contemporaries failed in setting an example for you, so that you do not feel compelled to speak up in such a time?

Why do we as a community of artists have so little to say politically about our own institutions in comparison to similar communities from other cultures… USA, Britain, France, Germany as well as the non-Eurocentric communities of theatre artists in the world?”

I responded by saying I felt the issue was larger than the firing of one Artistic Director, and that an assumption could not be made that silence on one point was an indication of apathy on all points. I talked about this generation’s participation in Toronto’s Culture Consultations, about our work with TAPA & Arts Action Research’s Theatres Leading Change, about the Indie Caucus and our ongoing struggles to bring necessary changes to an important but outdated institution that is the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, and more.

“This is not apathy, but a quiet community of passionate and dedicated artists working away at changing what no longer works. I am not silent, I sit on no fence, and I am not complicit. I’m just offering my voice to a different fight.”

While it was clear that neither of us was going to suggest the firing had been handled well, we certainly had come out on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of what the response to the situation should be.

What was most compelling was the intense, articulate, and passionate debate that appeared in the comments sections of these posts. Across generations most commenters were willing to sign their names to their ideas and opinions. It became clear the greatest value to be derived from our disparate viewpoints was the space that was created between the two, allowing for discussion on all the murkiness and grey in between.

On Monday, April 1st, we’re bringing this discussion into a physical space and we’re asking our community to join us in that murkiness. The debate structure we’ve chosen, based on the Canadian parliamentary model, requires a bold, clear statement, allowing for our incredible speakers to address their opposing viewpoints with passion and rigour:

Be it resolved that Boards of Directors have the right and responsibility to overrule the Artistic Direction of a theatre company.

I want to be very clear about the nature of the discussion I hope this debate will engender. This is a complicated issue, and there is much to be learned on the topic. As a result, I feel I can’t say this enough: we are not coming together to argue. We are coming together to listen, consider and respond.

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts about Civil Debates, “just like the best acting, each debater should have a responsibility to hear the arguments that come before them and respond – not just deliver a prepared statement.”  Our goal is to address more than the firing of one artistic director, or one theatre, or events in one city. We’re addressing larger issues, the results of which could be seen in theatres across this country over the last few years.

Join us on Monday for this important and spirited discussion. I hope you will come with an open mind, a willingness to listen and learn, and even just the slightest chance that someone on this panel might change your mind, regardless of the perspective you came in with.

CIVIL DEBATES

Creative Cities Debate - March 15, 2013

Creative Cities Debate – March 15, 2013

Debate 2: Arts Boards
Hosted by Theatre Centre Managing Director Roxanne Duncan
Moderated by Praxis Theatre Artistic Producer Aislinn Rose
Debaters Franco Boni, Brendan Healy, Gideon Arthurs and Jini Stolk
April 1, 2013; doors 7pm, debates 7.30pm
The Theatre Centre Pop-Up, 1095 Queen St. West, at Dovercourt
PWYC at the door.

Twitter Hashtag: #CivilDebates

Click here for more information about the Civil Debates series in partnership between The Theatre Centre & Praxis Theatre.

 

March 20, 2013, by
5 comments

Civil Debates 1

After a successful #CivilDebate 1 on the Creative Cities theories of Richard Florida, we’re excited to announce the debaters for the second resolution in our Civil Debates series:

Be it resolved that Boards of Directors have the right and responsibility to overrule the Artistic Direction of a theatre company.

Debating in favour of the resolution:

Franco Boni:

FrancoThe Theatre Centre’s General & Artistic Director Franco Boni has led the organization since 2003, and he is currently working on building its permanent home. Franco is a recognized cultural innovator, facilitator and community builder with a demonstrated track record of restoring financial stability and artistic credibility for local art organizations and festivals for over two decades.

He served as Festival Director of the Rhubarb Festival and Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Theatre Festival.

He is the inaugural recipient of the Ken McDougall Award for emerging directors, and was awarded the Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award, recognizing his outstanding leadership in the development of arts and culture in the City of Toronto.

Brendan Healy:

BrendanOriginally from Montreal, Brendan began his career as an actor, appearing most-notably in Peter Hinton’s production of Greg MacArthur’s Girls! Girls! Girls!, presented at the 2001 TransAmériques Festival.

Since relocating to Toronto over a decade ago, Brendan has established himself as a central figure in the city’s theatre scene and his work has been presented across the country. Notable productions include: Jean Genet’s The Maids, Nina Arsenault’s The Silicone Diaries, Sarah Kane’s Blasted, Martin Crimp’s Fewer Emergencies and Wallace Shawn’s A Thought in Three Parts.

Brendan is a graduate of the National Theatre School’s Directing Program. His productions have garnered multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards and he is a recipient of the Ken McDougall and the Pauline McGibbon awards for directing. Brendan was the associate artist at Crow’s Theatre before becoming the Artistic Director of Buddies in Bad Times and he is a regular instructor at the National Theatre School of Canada.

Debating against the resolution:

Gideon Arthurs:

GideonGideon is the General Manager of Tarragon Theatre and Artistic Producer for Groundwater Productions.  He is the former Executive Director of the Toronto Fringe Festival.  Before that he worked as Company Manager at Soulpepper Theatre and in fundraising at Ryerson University.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, where he was the past chair of the Media Relations Committee and works with the Indie Caucus, and is on the Board for STAF.

Prior board service includes Pleiades Theatre (Secretary), Public Recordings (Treasurer), and the Paprika Festival (President).  He has produced and directed numerous independent theatre productions at Fringe festivals, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, FemFest, Uno Festival and Summerworks.  He also has two amazing daughters, Olive and Tallulah, who are his primary preoccupation.

Jini Stolk:

Jini Jini was cofounder and Executive Director of Creative Trust, where she worked to strengthen the financial capacity and organizational potential of Toronto’s performing arts companies. As the newly appointed (January 2013) Creative Trust Research Fellow at the Toronto Arts Foundation she hopes to bring those 12 years of experiences and learnings to the City’s wider arts community. Before Creative Trust she was Managing Director of Toronto Dance Theatre, Executive Director of the Toronto Theatre Alliance/Dora Mavor Moore Awards (where she revitalized the half-price ticket booth, T.O. TIX), Associate Director of the Association of Canadian Publishers and General Manager of Open Studio.

She is involved in many community and cultural advocacy activities, and is Chair and a founding steering committee member of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, and a director of the Centre for Social Innovation; Past Vice-President of the Toronto Arts Council and Past-President of Toronto Artscape, Hum dansoundart and Six Stages Theatre Festival. She loved being a member of the steering committee of ArtsVote Toronto 2010. She received the  2012 William Kilbourn Award for the Celebration of Toronto’s Cultural Life, and was a Sandra Tulloch Award and Harold Award winner.

*Stay tuned for more information about this debate as it approaches*

CIVIL DEBATES

Creative Cities Debate - March 15, 2013

Creative Cities Debate

Debate 2: Arts Boards

Hosted by Theatre Centre Managing Director Roxanne Duncan
Moderated by Praxis Theatre Artistic Producer Aislinn Rose
April 1, 2013; doors 7pm, debates 7.30pm
The Theatre Centre Pop-Up, 1095 Queen St. West, at Dovercourt
PWYC at the door. No RSVP required. Cash bar for the thirsty.
Twitter Hashtag: #CivilDebates

Click here for more information about the Civil Debates series in partnership between The Theatre Centre & Praxis Theatre.

Praxis Theatre Centre banner

March 16, 2013, by
1 comment

Civil Debates 1

Packed house at The Theatre Centre pop-up – Image by Renna Reddie

Last night we held our inaugural Civil Debate with The Theatre Centre, examining the Creative Cities theories of Richard Florida:

Be it resolved that the Creative Cities theories serve to reinforce dominant class structures.

Arguing for the resolution was Mammalian Diving Reflex’s Darren O’Donnell and Executive Director of Trinity Square Video, Roy Mitchell.

Kevin Stolarick, Research Director at The Martin Prosperity Institute, and Sabra Ripley, Masters of Public Health in community development and health promotion, and activist with BeautifulCity, argued against.

At times passionate, the debate often shifted into a conversational mode, which was what we’d been aiming for by calling the series “civil”. It was great to see lots of new faces, and turning the discussion over to the audience led to some of the most heated moments of the evening.

Everyone in the audience had an opportunity to vote for a side on their way out by dropping a poker chip into the “yea” or “nay” bags. The results were:

The Yeas have it with 45 votes to 19.

We definitely learned a lot from this first event, and as a result we will try a different voting strategy the next time around:

If you’re coming to the next event, you’ll be asked to vote for the side you agree with as you arrive, and you’ll be asked to vote again as you leave. The side that has changed the most minds will be declared the winner of the debate rather than simply the side with the most votes. We hope this will be an effective strategy for an event that attracts a crowd more obviously in favour of one side over another.

Stay tuned for a post on Wednesday where we will reveal the debaters for our next debate, to be held on Monday, April 1st:

Be it resolved that Boards of Directors have the right and responsibility to overrule the Artistic Direction of a theatre company.

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