Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.

Date: 2010 October

October 28, 2010, by

CBA 2010 winner
The Canadian Blog Awards have completed their final round of voting and our August 25th post, “Why Stephen Harper Will Continue to Attack the Arts” by Michael Wheeler was voted the #1 blog post in Canada in 2010.

Praxis also came second in the country in the Culture and Literature Category. Congrats to both Brain Droppings who took first place in the division and fellow theatre bloggers at ATP Insider who took third.

Sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for!

October 27, 2010, by


“They say that if you think you are crazy, then you aren’t. People say that. Right? So the opposite must be true too. If you aren’t crazy, then people say they think you are?”


Shadow Figure




Renna Reddie is producing for Eldritch Theatre’s Madhouse Variations by Eric Woolfe. She hasn’t been able to sleep properly since the dress run and doesn’t like being backstage alone with all the puppets.

Madhouse Variations runs October 26-November 7th with a special Halloween Show at 10:30pm on Saturday October 30th at The Theatre Centre.

October 26, 2010, by

October 25, 2010, by
1 comment

by Aislinn Rose

I want you to vote. You have until 8pm tonight to get to your polling stations and participate in the democratic process. If you live in Toronto, this is what you need to know:

Manifesto & want you to vote too!

  • Click here to find your ward, and here for a list of councillors running in your ward.
  • Click here for your polling station.  Once you’ve submitted your address you can scroll down to the bottom of the page and even get a sneak peak at the ballot you’ll be voting on.  Here‘s an example.
  • Click here to find out what identification you’ll need to bring.  When I voted last weekend, I didn’t have a driver’s licence, so I brought my passport and a credit card statement.  There are all kinds of acceptable combinations.  I didn’t have a voter card and wasn’t on the voter list either… so don’t let that stop you.
  • Praxis Theatre will be “live tweeting” the joint Torontoist/ArtsVote party at the Cadillac Lounge from 7pm onwards, but maybe the Keith Cole For Mayor Victory Party is more your style.  No matter what you decide to do (after you have voted…) you can follow along with Praxis at
  • Happy Voting!
October 22, 2010, by


by Michael Wheeler

Halfway through the final round of voting for The Canadian Blog Awards, I thought is would be a good idea to point out that there are a good many incredible Canadian blogs that are not involved in the competition. Perhaps they are unaware, don’t care, or both. People use the internet for all sorts of reasons and having a blog is not necessarily a popularity contest.

Have you voted for yet today?

You can vote once every 24hrs from now until Wednesday at noon.

Here’s just some of the great blogs just from Ontario, in the realm of culture and/or politics, that I read from time to time that I noticed weren’t in this year’s competition:

Unedit my heart: Leah Sandals is a Toronto-based art critic. Her blog allows her to amalgamate all her writings for various media in one place as well as have a forum to publish the other art-related things she is thinking about. The comments section often erupts in genuine dialogue about the role and nature of art. As a theatre guy I have found this portal an interesting introduction to the Toronto art scene.

Mez Dispenser: Dave Meslin is a musician who plays with the Hidden Cameras and frankly Toronto’s most prolific activist. Amongst other activities, he is credited with being involved in the creation of the Toronto Bike Union, City Idol, The Toronto Public Space Committee, and RaBit. The blog is not updated regularly, as “Mez” is often being more effective as an organizer on Facebook where he has 3,122 friends. Still, a good blog to keep bookmarked as it has all the highlights of whatever he is currently engineering.

The Arts Policy Diaries: Shannon Litzenberger is a dance artist, writer, director and as well as the first-ever Metcalf Arts Policy Fellow. This means Shannon is an established creator and performer who is spending a lot of time exploring the relationship between arts policy and practice at all levels of government. As part of this Fellowship she is blogging about the issues and concepts she encounters. If you consider yourself a Canadian arts policy nerd – make this your homepage for the next year. It will make you happy.

Inside Politics (author0b70f): Kady O’Malley is one of CBC’s Ottawa based political bloggers and rumored to be the fastest operator of a blackberry keyboard north of the 49th Parallel. I was reticent to include a blog by a journalist that is hosted by a corporation, but decided to for three reasons: 1) Praxis Theatre is a not-for-profit corporation, 2) Susan Delacourt’s blog, who is essentially Kady’s contemporary at The Toronto Star, is also nominated in the “Best Overall” category of the CBAs, 3) Anyone whose live blogging of parliamentary committees can consistently make me squirt coffee out my nose gets special consideration.

Struts and Frets: Kris Joseph is an Ottawa based blogger, bon vivant, and an actor who performs frequently at The National Arts Centre. I feel like this blog is the closest thing there is to in Ottawa. It’s mostly about theatre, but like myself,  it seems Kris can’t help discussing politics from time to time. Kris is also the Chair of CAEA’s Independent Theatre Review Committee, which I just wrote about recently. He is a busy guy.

Theatre Ontario: If we’re going to list great somewhat-theatre-related blogs in Ontario, then imagine how pissed Communications Coordinator Brandon Moore would be if I skipped the Theatre Ontario Blog! This is where you can catch all the openings in the province each week, as well as news about who has won this award, and who got that residency, and all the other ephemera you’re probably silently keeping tabs on if you make theatre in Ontario.

The Old Soul: Amy Pagnotta is a musician, television producer, and actor who recently appeared in the hit indie film No Heart Feelings. I’ve been friends with Amy since 1999 when she was an assistant stage manager of McGill University’s undergraduate original adaptation of Gogol’s The Nose directed by Alexander Marine (which I still consider one of the top three shows I’ve ever acted in). This is a very cool blog that unlike the rest listed here, seems to have no particular agenda – other than providing Amy with a venue to express whatever is going on with her through words, image, sound and video.

October 21, 2010, by

Yves Jacques was interviewed about The Anderson Project when it toured to Philadelphia.

by Michael Wheeler

This morning I watched the dress rehearsal for ex Machina’s The Anderson Project, directed by Robert Lepage, starring Yves Jacques at Canadian Stage. It is fairly astounding. I will leave it to the critics to dissect all the craziness, but I think it is safe to say that this is must-see material for theatre creators who live remotely near the Toronto area.

This show has been touring since it opened in London in 2006 and for good reason: The technical creativity that goes into the opening credits sequence alone is a little humbling. A projector hooked up to an infra-red scanner that can tell what it is projecting on, and a set attached to a vacuum system that can expand and contract, are just a small part of what you DON’T notice while Lepage weaves at least three tales together in a multi-character drama starring a single actor.

Thanks to Canadian Stage for allowing me to watch it be loaded in and teched for the past couple of days as part of my training program. The Anderson Project is only here for 10 days. I almost missed Lipsynch a year-and-a-half  ago and the thought makes me shiver with hypothetical dismay in retrospect.


October 20, 2010, by
1 comment


Thanks to you and your votes, has advanced to the final round of voting in the Canadian Blog Awards.  What is especially exciting, is that in the first round we came out at the top of the polls in the Best Blog and Best Blog Post categories, and in 2nd for the Best Culture & Literature Blog.

Blog Awards 2010What does this all mean?  Well, we still need your help.  Voting for the 2nd and final round is on, and you can vote for us EVERY DAY, and on your smart phones too!  We’ve got some stiff competition in that Culture & Literature category, as the defending champions we are trailing currently and could really use your vote(s).

You can find all three polls below. Would you consider making this post your homepage for the duration of this round, which ends on October 26th at noon? That would be the easiest way to remember to vote each day.

But let’s not forget: one of the reasons they have this competition is to bring new readers to new blogs, so you can find the complete list of finalists here.

Happy voting!

October 19, 2010, by

Naheed Nenshi was elected the first Muslim mayor of a major Canadian city in Calgary last night. He overcame a heavily favoured campaign run by Stephen Harper’s strategists for well-financed Conservative alderman Ric McIver through the use of charisma, vision, and social media. In this Ted Talk he describes his philosophy about and research into how cities grow.

by Michael Wheeler

My Facebook feed was an explosion of political thought yesterday.

One week before Toronto’s municipal election, two polls came out putting ex-Liberal cabinet minister George Smitherman in a dead heat with Conservative endorsed Rob Ford, while polls showed defacto-NDP candidate Joe Pantalone to be up to twenty-five percentage points behind.

The opinions expressed by my facebook friends, many of whom I had never seen express their political thoughts publicly, embraced one of two competing narratives

Position A: It’s not strategic voting, it’s rational voting: This camp, as exemplified by the post written by Globe and Mail theatre critic Kelly Nestruck on his personal blog, argues for the rational approach to electing a mayor. In a system without runoff voting, your job is to make the best choice you can from the options presented.  Life isn’t perfect and either are elections. If you know your candidate isn’t going to win, it is a waste to vote for him or her.

Position B: It’s not strategic to abandon your principles for a right-of-centre candidate: This perspective, as expressed in today’s column by Toronto Star columnist Royson James, argues that there is little practical difference between Ford and Smitherman’s policies. In particular, for progressive voters, there is very little to identify with or embrace in the platforms of the two leading candidates. Even if he loses, in the bigger picture, it is better to cast a vote for the one candidate who isn’t talking about cutting services and taxes.

Surprise! None of my facebook friends spoke out for Ford and only one spoke out for Smitherman based on his platform or abilities.

Just to add a little spice to the mix – yesterday Toronto officials reported attendance at advance polling stations was up a whopping 82.5% from the previous election. Although some of this can be attributed to a well-organized Ford campaign getting their supporters to the polls early, these kind of numbers indicate something greater shifting in the electorate. Later that night, unabashedly progressive and Muslim candidate Naheed Nenshi was elected Mayor of Calgary. In post-election analysis, The Globe and Mail concluded Facebook and social media tools were the game changer that brought Canada its first Muslim mayor.

Where does that leave us here in Toronto 6 days from E-Day? What is actually strategic? Is Smitherman really “as bad” as Ford? Is it more rational to vote based on polling over principals and policies? Is the process of casting a vote that rational an activity? Is there something they know in Calgary that we don’t know here?

All I know for certain is this would be a good start.

October 18, 2010, by


To bed, to bed! there’s knocking at the gate:
come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s
done cannot be undone.–To bed, to bed, to bed!


the ringmaster




Matthew Walker is currently directing Litmus Theatre’s Matchbox Macbeth, an eerie and magical hour-long adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic in a backyard shed. Oct 21-31, Thu-Sun at 7 and 9pm. PWYC, ($10 suggested donation).

Secret Location in the heart of Little Italy revealed with email booking to

Click here for more info

October 15, 2010, by

New bail conditions placed on activist Alex Hundert mean he is now banned from speaking to the media. This bail condition comes after he was arrested  for speaking on A G20-themed panel at Ryerson University which was deemed by police "attending a demonstration" - also against the law in his case.

New bail conditions placed on activist Alex Hundert mean he is now banned from speaking to the media. This bail condition comes after he was arrested for speaking on a G20-themed panel at Ryerson University which was deemed by police "attending a demonstration" - also against the law in his case.

by Michael Wheeler

Only total disregard  and contempt for democratic rights could lead to a Canadian citizen being informed he or she may not speak on a university panel or to the media or they will be arrested. Especially when that person is talking articulately about the largest series of mass arrests and civil rights violations in Canadian history.

The police and Crown justification to this “unprecedented” infringement of rights is that allowing Alex Hundert to speak may endanger public safety. This excuse is so poor, distasteful, and utterly unconvincing, that it is an unmitigated insult to anyone who just wasted brain power considering it.

Bottom line: we have a constitution that means something (The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), or we do not. For it to exist in any meaningful way, it must enshrine the right of citizens who wish to speak both for and against the government. If it doesn’t do this very basic job then it totally useless, and Canada is one-step from being a tinpot dictatorship. “Rights” as we understand them in our society are beginning to have anything other little more than a cursory, symbolic meaning. If this ruling stands, it is safe to say we no longer live in a free and democratic society.

Now I am not a lawyer. I have never even taken my LSATs – but a cursory glance at the Charter indicates nine different rights the Crown and police have violated in this case:


Fundamental freedoms

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.

Life, liberty and security of person

7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

Detention or imprisonment

9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.

Arrest or detention

10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.

Proceedings in criminal and penal matters

11. Any person charged with an offence has the right
(a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
(c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;

Treatment or punishment

12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Read more here in The Toronto Star