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

Date: 2012 September

September 28, 2012, by
1 comment

Ontario All Candidates Meeting:
Monday, October 1st – 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

The Tapestry/Nightwood Ernest Balmer Studio
9 Trinity Street – The Cannery (Distillery), Studio 315, Toronto, Ontario

From CAEA:

“There are a record number of amazing candidates who are running in Ontario this time around. Please come out to support your fellow member candidates and hear their positions on the many many important issues facing our association.

Be sure to have your current membership card available!

Not to be missed.”

September 27, 2012, by

by Michael Wheeler

Two years ago, as part of a Canada Council-supported Director in Training residency at The Tarragon Theatre, I was shipped out to Vancouver to learn more about how the technical aspects of theatre-making were being approached out West. I was paired with The Electric Company, where I became assistant to director Kim Collier while we were shooting the film sections of an in-progress theatre/film hybrid. (During The Olympics!)

My film scene has been cut from the 2012 production!

I pretty much immediately fell in love with the company/production/script and so I was thrilled when they asked me to come back and continue as Assistant to The Director for the rehearsal process at Progress Lab leading up to opening night at The Arts Club’s Stanley Theatre in September 2010.

Anyhow, longtime readers know this already because, of course, I blogged the heck out of that whole experience.

Two years later the production is coming to Toronto as the opening production of The Canadian Stage season at The Bluma Appel Theatre and really, I am quite excited. This super-cool medium-bending production I was a part of that none of my friends and colleagues have seen is finally coming here.

Even better, I will be joining the production when it moves into the theatre to begin teching into the space.

I’m hoping that my experience as assistant director on Peggy Pickit Sees The Face of God in The Bluma Appel last year, combined with my knowledge of Tear The Curtain when we put it together originally will make me useful. The cast is rehearsing in Vancouver first, so I will be playing catch-up. If nothing else, I can still hopefully provide some interesting online updates.

September 26, 2012, by

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


“It is with sadness that we, the undersigned participants of the Factory Boycott of 2012, witness Ken Gass’s honourable exit from the whole debacle. We respect Ken’s decision to do so and understand his desire to move on. However:

While we do not want to impinge on fellow artists who need or desire to make their art on the stages of that venerable old dame, Factory Theatre, we believe that theatre artists are, and must be, responsible for the actions they take when dealing with unacceptable theatre governance.

Therefore we cannot move on without reiterating that the board of Factory theatre has behaved in an appallingly disrespectful and off-handed manner, not only towards Ken Gass but to the 4000 plus people who signed a petition protesting the board actions, the significant group of artists and other citizens who participated in the Factory boycott and, indeed, all of The Factory’s stakeholders within the community.

We believe the nine directors on the board showed and continue to show contempt for the artists and arts supporters who asked simply for meaningful dialogue, respectful action and serious mediation in this sorry affair. As long as the current board still reigns, there will be a black asterisk next to the name of Factory theatre.

It is our belief that Mr. Struys and his cohorts entered into the process cynically and in bad faith. Both prior to and during the month of August they ignored mediation opportunities that might have saved the season from collapse. Only 36 hours before the start of mediation the Board appointed an interim artistic director team charged with finding replacement shows. This pre-empted any meaningful possibility of Gass’s involvement in the season should mediation be successful. Given the board’s steadfast refusal to respond to any community demands over the past three months, is it surprising that mediation failed?

Is this what the artists, Factory supporters and audiences deserve?

Our answer is a resounding; “No!”

Mr. Struys and the Factory board may feel today that they have simply “played a hand” well, that their policies of stonewalling and intransigence have paid off. However, there is no justice here, only shame. We believe there can be no true peace in this community unless and until the current Factory board resigns. Furthermore we wish for an engaged, renewed Factory board and membership that will be committed to putting in place a code of conduct that respects artists’ moral right to determine how our theatres are run.

We urge the various arts councils (OAC, TAC, CC), foundations and artist organizations engaged in collective bargaining to proactively engage our theatres in a dialogue about Board conduct. In the end the broader issue of who owns our theatres and artist participation in the governance of the institutions we have built must be addressed.

We fervently believe that only then we will be able to truly move forward. Only then can we go about healing the wounds within the community. Only then can this black mark be expunged from the Factory’s inspiring history. ”

Maja Ardal
Liza Balkan
Nancy Beatty
Steven Bush
Jack Blum
David Boechler
Mark Brownell
Richard Alan Campbell
Shari Caldwell
Cheryl Cashman
Alex Castillo-Smith
John Cleland
Sharon Corder
Laura de Carteret
David Christo
Jason Dietrich
Bruce Dow
Shawn Doyle
Atom Egoyan
David Ferry
Peter Feldman
Barry Flatman
Kelli Fox
Verne Good
Kyra Harper
Martha Henry
Kate Hewlett
Maggie Huculak
Stuart Hughes
C. David Johnson
Arsinée Khanjian
Jeanette Lambermont-Morey
Michelle Latimer
Diana LeBlanc
Paul Ledoux
Patricia Ludwick
Sallie Lyons
Kate Lynch
Joe Madziak
Sarah Manninen
Jefferson Mappin
Meridith McGeachie
Seana Mckenna
Elana McMurty
Andrew Moodie
Lisa Norton
Rahnuma Panthaky
Vickie Papavs
Soheil Parsa
Ronald Pederson
Gordon Pinsent
Irene Poole
Miles Potter
Geoffrey Pounsett
Susan Purdy
Fiona Reid
Kim Renders
Maria Ricossa
John Roby
Dani Romain
Jonathan Rooke
Lora Senechal Carney
Mike Sereny
Julie Stewart
Sally Szuster
Bill Talbot
Dylan Trowbridge
Joanne Vanicola
Patricia Vanstone
Sugith Varughese
George F. Walker
Brendan Wall
David S. Young
Margaret Zeidler

Re-blogged from comment left on previous post “Factory Theatre appoints “Interim Artistic Team”.

September 25, 2012, by


“I understand that there’s too much! – a flawed system. The way things work is just so fucked up. I could go on and on for hours, I’ve been researching for years. I’ve neverseen the possibility of changing it all. Until something like this comes up. Cause… I mean…it could be possible to change something.”

– Joshua: Busker, Teenager, and Occupier. (October 2011, St James Park.)



All We Gotta Do written and performed by Hugh Laurie.

Docket Theatre presents Performing Occupy Toronto, a verbatim play about the Occupy movement by Rosamund Small, on October 15 at 6pm in St James Park.

Docket marks the anniversary of the occupation with a site-specific staging for one day only. The play will be proceeded by a multi-disciplinary art installation all over the park – artists of all kinds needed to participate!

Please contact for more information about the show or how to get involved. You don’t need a ticket to enjoy this free, outdoor celebration and theatre piece. Visit and Like us on Facebook!

September 21, 2012, by

The Shaw Festival Directors Projects are a presentation of The Slaight Family Academy of The Shaw Festival and Theatre Ontario. They are performed to an invited audience today at 2pm in The Studio Theatre.

SENORA CARRAR'S RIFLES BY BERTOLT BRECHT: Directed by Michael Wheeler. Wendy Thatcher (c) as Teresa Carrar, Sharry Flett (r) as Old Mrs Perez, Wade Bogert-O'Brien as Juan Carrar.

IF MEN PLAYED CARDS AS WOMEN DO BY GEORGE S KAUFMAN: Directed by Krista Jackson. (l-r) Peter Millard as John, Kevin Bundy as Bob, Neil Barclay as George and Martin Happer as Marc

SENORA CARRAR'S RIFLES BY BERTOLT BRECHT: Directed by Michael Wheeler. Benedict Campbell (l) as Father Francisco, Wendy Thatcher (c) as Teresa Carrar and Ben Sanders (r) as Jose Carrar

OVERTONES BY ALICE GERSTENBERG: Directed by Krista Jackson. (l-r) Julia Course as Harriet, Kiera Sangster as Maggie, Claire Jullien as Hetty and Ijeoma Emesowum as Margaret

Set and Costume Design by Erin Gerofsky. Lighting Design by Conor Moore. Photography by Mark Callan.

Click here to read more posts about the 2012 Shaw Festival Directors Project

September 19, 2012, by

Greta takes on one of her most difficult interviews yet.  Although the Prime Minister seems rather disappointed that it is Greta and not Peter Mansbridge, she does manage to cajole him into singing a song that shows his love and support for the arts.

Proud opens at the Berkeley Upstairs Theatre on Thursday September 22nd

Click here for tickets.

Greta Papageorgiu is an actor, writer, teacher and director. She performs and teaches throughout Ontario and Quebec. Greta loves the theatre and hopes to share some of her love with you through 2 Minutes With Greta Papageorgiu.

September 17, 2012, by

Anti-Fascist activists at The Battle of Cable Street (London, 1936)

by Michael Wheeler

This post continues my efforts as a director of Senora Carrar’s Rifles to stage the piece as per Brecht’s instructions “with a documentary film showing the events in Spain, or with a propaganda manifestation of any sort.”

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (Moscow, 2012)

First made famous by French General Robert Georges Nivelle at the Battle of Verdun in WW1, They Shall Not Pass became an expression associated with anti-fascist movements around the world during The Spanish Civil War. It became the central refrain by La Pasionaria (Dolores Ibárruri Gómez) in her speech to Republican forces defending Madrid while it was under siege by Franco’s fascist troops in 1936.

A militant activist and communist politician, La Passionaria was widely regarded as one of the greatest public speakers of her era. When she returned to Spain after Franco’s death forty years later, she was re-elected as a deputy to the Cortes – the same region she had represented during the Second Republic when she delivered ¡No Pasarán!

Only months after the speech was first delivered it became the rallying cry of more than one hundred thousand anti-fascists who flooded the streets of London, England during The Battle of Cable Street, which successfully thwarted a march by The Union of British Fascists through Jewish neighbourhoods.

The phrase recently leapt back into international awareness when it adorned the T Shirt of Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova during their August 2012 trial in Russia for creating anti-Putin art.

¡No Pasarán!

Speech by Dolores Ibárruri, translated by Fabien Malouin.

Delivered on 19 July 1936.

Workers! Farmers! Anti-fascists! Spanish Patriots!

Confronted with the fascist military uprising, all must rise to their feet, to defend the Republic, to defend the people’s freedoms as well as their achievements towards democracy! Through the statements by the government and the Popular Front (parties), the people understand the graveness of the moment.

In Morocco, as well as in the Canary Islands, the workers are battling, united with the forces still loyal to the Republic, against the uprising militants and fascists. Under the battle cry ‘Fascism shall not pass; the hangmen of October shall not pass!’ workers and farmers from all Spanish provinces are joining in the struggle against the enemies of the Republic that have arisen in arms. Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, and Republican Democrats, soldiers and (other) forces remaining loyal to the Republic combined have inflicted the first defeats upon the fascist foe, who drag through the mud the very same honourable military tradition that they have boasted to possess so many times.

The whole country cringes in indignation at these heartless barbarians that would hurl our democratic Spain back down into an abyss of terror and death. However, THEY SHALL NOT PASS! For all of Spain presents itself for battle. In Madrid, the people are out in the streets in support of the Government and encouraging its decision and fighting spirit so that it shall reach its conclusion in the smashing of the militant and fascist insurrection.

Young men, prepare for combat! Women, heroic women of the people! Recall the heroism of the women of Asturias of 1934 and struggle alongside the men in order to defend the lives and freedom of your sons, overshadowed by the fascist menace! Soldiers, sons of the nation! Stay true to the Republican State and fight side by side with the workers, with the forces of the Popular Front, with your parents, your siblings and comrades! Fight for the Spain of February the 16th, fight for the Republic and help them to victory!

Workers of all stripes! The government supplies us with arms that we may save Spain and its people from the horror and shame that a victory for the bloody hangmen of October would mean. Let no one hesitate! All stand ready for action. All workers, all antifascists must now look upon each other as brothers in arms. Peoples of Catalonia, Basque Country, and Galicia! All Spaniards! Defend our democratic Republic and consolidate the victory achieved by our people on the 16th of February.

The Communist Party calls you to arms. We especially call upon you, workers, farmers, intellectuals to assume your positions in the fight to finally smash the enemies of the Republic and of the popular liberties. Long live the Popular Front! Long live the union of all anti-fascists! Long live the Republic of the people! The Fascists shall not pass! THEY SHALL NOT PASS!

Click here to read more posts about the 2012 Shaw Festival Directors Project

September 14, 2012, by

Kate Fenton guest blogs for Praxis Theatre about the interactive photography exhibit inspired by the themes of Mister Baxter.

by Kate Fenton

Lost 2 by Akas Tarmaji

Set in Toronto’s subway system, Mister Baxter is a new work I’ve written, which had a previous run at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival.

One of the themes that emerged for me while writing the play was that of displacement. In the play, I look at displacement from a psychological perspective, as a sub-conscious defense mechanism. Often a character feels something or experiences something that they are unable to deal with and as a result they transfer that emotion on to another person in potentially harmful ways. In my experience, social crisis, conflict and trauma are endlessly displaced into sexuality, often resulting in a chain-reaction, with people unwittingly becoming both victims and perpetrators of displacement. In Mister Baxter, a teacher crosses an inappropriate boundary with one of his students and as a result many people are traumatized and left to deal with the aftermath of his actions.

Loss Connection by Jim Mallen

As I continued to explore this theme, I thought it would be useful to hear what other people thought or experienced when struggling with displacement. The Bring the Buzz Festival at Theatre Passe Muraille, Which Mister Baxter is a part of, is dramaturgical in nature and we will be hosting a question and answer period and live discussion after every performance to encourage audience feedback about the play and the ideas it presents. To follow this interactive concept further, we came up with a campaign that we could create with our audience.

Photography is a beautiful art that captures a moment in time. In a photograph, the experience is frozen. Similarly, a traumatic experience can hold a person captive in a particular time or experience. The events that lead to that moment cannot be changed but what will happen after is what defines us and is what fascinates me most about being alive. There is no other art form that can distill a real and immediate experience in quite the same way as photography.

So here is what we did….

Photographers, artists and creative people were encouraged to submit up to three photos to The Quickening Theatre Photo Contest reflecting their experience of displacement. Their photos are posted on our website. A jury of professionals selected five winning photographs. Those photos are being used by Artist Mariuxi Zambrano to create an art installation that will transform the Mainspace to reflect ‘displacement’ in an interactive and compelling way.

Two Worlds Meet by Karl Janisse

Mariuxi has taken the winning photos and created a collaged image that will make up the walls of a tunnel structure that the audience will be encouraged to walk through on their way to their seats. The installation will be accompanied by a soundscape and live music performed by Melanie Brulee.

Winners will be announced at the Opening Night Art Gala.

Come, join us!

* click the images above to enlarge

Kate Fenton

Mister Baxter opens September 20 and closes September 29 at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace as part of their Bring the Buzz Festival. The run also includes an Opening Night Art Gala on September 20, beginning at 5:30pm and features an art exhibit and photo auction.

Click here to buy tickets.

September 13, 2012, by


In the construction of a country, it is not the practical workers but the idealists and planners that are difficult to find…powerful people have liberty.

~ Sun Yet-Sen, revolutionary who help throw down the last emperor of China



Gein Wong is an interdisciplinary director, playwright, composer, poet and video artist. Her show Hiding Words (for you), delves into nushu, a secret language created in 400 A.D. when Chinese women were not allowed to read or write. It runs from September 13 – 23 at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre, and tickets can be purchased here.

September 11, 2012, by
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Sound design and composition by Thomas Ryder Payne

The Queen West Project by Deborah Pearson and Allison Cummings is a Theatre Passe Muraille Production as part of their Metcalf Foundation-supported Theatre Beyond Walls Season.

Photo via queen west project on tumblr

Devised in collaboration with youth from Eva’s Phoenix, the production explores the area’s relationship to homelessness, mental health and regeneration.

In this production, a small area of Queen West in Toronto is the theatre for audience members wearing headsets. As they move through and participate in Queen West, they are not necessarily aware of who they encounter are part of the production and who are other Torontonians going about their lives.

The show has a Tumblr here, and an info page here. Seriously limited amount of tickets available here. Opens tomorrow.

“And those who were seen dancing were thought mad by those who could not hear the music.”