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

Date: 2013 October

October 21, 2013, by

Praxis continues its partnership with The Canadian Civil Liberties Association to use our play as an access point to contribute to the broader discourse surrounding civil liberties in Canada.

The CCLA has messaged members through email and social media encouraging participation in staging the play, and has partnered with us to create panel discussions on broader issues facing civil liberties in a number of the cities we are travelling to.

This Tuesday, following the 8pm performance of #G20Romp, we will continue the discussion about G20 Toronto with a discussion of many of the issues the play raises. Years after the largest mass arrest in Canadian history there are many unanswered questions, developments, and non-developments with regards to police actions at the Summit.

Last week, CCLA published: “Take back the streets”: Repression and criminalization of protest around the world. We look forward to a robust discussion of the issues facing protest and dissent.

Edited Logo with text

Click here to buy tickets.

Click here to buy tickets.

Civil liberties and protest in post-G20 Toronto

Aki Studio Theatre @ Daniels Spectrum – 585 Dundas Street East.

Tuesday October 22nd: Show @ 8pm  panel @ 9:30pm.

@PraxisTheatre will be livetweeting the discussion on Twitter via #G20Romp

Moderated by: 

Praxis Theatre Artistic Director Michael Wheeler


Abby Deshman – CCLA: Director, Public Safety Program


Abby graduated from University of Toronto faculty of law in 2008 and has an LLM from New York University law school. She has been a program director with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for four years, and is currently the director of the public safety program. Her program area touches on all aspects of CCLA’s work on criminal justice, police powers, police accountability and privacy.

Leading up to the G20 she coordinated CCLA’s advocacy efforts on policing and protest, and during the meetings she led a team of independent observers monitoring police conduct. She interacts regularly with police forces across the country on issues of protest and policing and oversees the CCLA’s involvement in the struggle for post-G20 accountability.

On Tuesday, she will begin the day by heading up to OPP Police College to give a lecture to new Public Order Unit Commanders on protest rights.

Jan Borowy – Cavalluzzo

Jan BorowyJan Borowy’s practice areas include labour relations, human rights, pay equity and professional regulation. Jan brings to her practice a longstanding commitment to the promotion of workers’ rights and human rights. Her experience gives her an understanding of the importance of a clear strategy in union negotiations, campaigns, strikes, organizing and educational programs.

Jan is the former Research Co-ordinator at the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, where her work focused on a campaign for fair wages and working conditions for garment home-workers. She further developed her advocacy skills as the Worker’s Rights Community legal worker at Parkdale Community Legal Services. At law school, Jan developed an expertise in Aboriginal law and issues facing Aboriginal workers.

Jan’s experience within the firm has included close involvement in the representation of private sector and public sector workers before labour arbitrators, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the Pay Equity Tribunal and the Ontario and Canadian Labour boards. Jan is a member of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers and the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations.


Tommy Taylor – Writer/Performer: You Should Have Stayed Home

Tommy is a theatre artist, activist and NGO fundraiser living in Toronto. Recently Tommy was assistant director/video designer on The Belle of Winnipeg (Dora Winner), adaptor/director of Dear Everybody at the CanStage Festival of Ideas and Creation and director of Kayak at The SummerWorks Festival. He is a graduate of the Centre for Cultural Management (University of Waterloo/ CCCO), The Vancouver Film School and Humber College’s Community Arts Development Program.

Tommy was arrested (but never charged) and detained during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto. He has since turned his account of the experience into You Should Have Stayed Home. The show is on a cross-Canada tour for Fall 2013, playing in Whitehorse, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

October 18, 2013, by

Tommy Taylor interviewed about You Should Have Stayed Home: A #G20Romp on The Rush

Click here to buy tickets.

Click here to buy tickets.

*50% of tickets for 2pm shows are reserved for Pay What You Can at the door.

Toronto, Ontario: Aki Theatre, 585 Dundas St. E. Phone: 416 531 1402:

Thu October 17, 2013 @ 8pm (Preview); Fri October 18, 2013 @ 8pm (Opening); Sat October 19, 2013 @ 2pm & 8pm; Sun October 20, 2013 @ 2pm;

Tue October 22, 2013 @ 8pm; Wed October 23, 2013 @ 8pm; Thu October 24, 2013 @ 8pm; Fri October 25, 2013 @ 8pm; Sat October 26, 2013 @ 2pm & 8pm

October 16, 2013, by

I've created some G20 Postcards with images dropped in from Toronto's G20 on pictures of beautiful Brisbane.

I’ve created some special G20 Postcards with images from Toronto’s G20 Summit dropped into pictures of you, beautiful Brisbane. Although, looks like you’re well on your way to creating your own memories.

Hey Brisbane. So I heard the news that you are getting your own G20 Summit Meeting next November. Well, I had the G20 come to my home, Toronto, back in 2010 so I thought I’d give my fellow Commonwealthers a heads up. Particularly when I hear Queensland premier Campbell Newman say “What we don’t want is the scenes that have blighted other cities such as Toronto…” Which is a statement I agree with, but then why is he planning the Brisbane G20 in the exact same way? (I should mention now that I was unlawfully arrested, never charged, in a mass arrest during the Toronto G20).

The debate is already on about the Queensland Government’s proposed G20 Safety and Security Bill (and it won’t just affect Brisbane’s horde of Zombies). Here are some facts on how the security plans in play for you, Brisbane, worked out for us in Toronto.

(SPOILER ALERT: It ends up being “the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history.”)

1. Expanded Police Powers

Under the new security bill, security forces (made up of police forces from across the Commonwealth, including New Zealand and Canada) will have expanded powers during the Summit. Inside the G20 Exclusion Zone, officers can arbitrarily perform pat-downs or strip searches on anyone, hold suspected agitators in detention for the duration of the summit, ban common items such as eggs, cans and hand tools. Police will also be allowed to publish the names and photographs of anyone they decide should be prohibited from entering The Zone.

In Toronto we had many similar laws in play, including a much-scorned secret law passed without proper notice. The results? Well, as the official investigation into policing at the Toronto G20 Summit found, it was goddamn terrible. Not so much because of the vandalism to cars and windows by 75-100 people (who the police were ordered not to engage with for some reason), but because of what happened to people.

With 20,000 militarized police officers in downtown Toronto there were multiple cases of excessive force used by police resulting in serious injury, and over 1,100 people arrested in Canada’s largest mass arrest (over 900 were never charged). Hundreds of people were unlawfully kettled in by riot officers, sometimes for hours in the pouring rain and many more were subjected to arbitrary stop and searches by officers. There were 334 strip searches (but only proper documentation on 281 cases). Many of the the “weapons” seized by police had nothing to do with G20 (including toys belonging to a fantasy role-player). By all measures, an utter mess.


2. Three Day Detention

Part of the bill would allow police to arrest and detain anyone they deem a threat for three days. In jail. Without bail. Items that could deem you a threat? Eggs, cans of beans, model airplanes, surfboards, and reptiles. Yes, reptiles. Some folks right there in Queensland are already trying to give you a heads up on this one. They note that innocent people will likely be arrested and Brisbane actually doesn’t have enough room to house large numbers of detainees.

Here in Toronto, similar tactics got us 1,100 people arrested and sent to a temporary detention centre built inside a movie studio. Protesters, bystanders, tourists, journalists and even a transit worker were swept up in the mass arrests. Most were held in atrocious conditions and Queer prisoners were segregated into their own cells. This stands as one of the most vile failures of the police during the Toronto G20 for a number of reasons.

3. “It’s Great for the Local Economy!”

There seems to be an ongoing campaign foretelling of the riches G20 will be bring to Brisbane. Many Brisbane shop owners are starting to grow concerned however about the shut-down and elimination of consumer foot traffic.

The cost of the Toronto G20 Summit ballooned to a ludicrous 1.1billion, a huge chunk of it being the security budget. Local Toronto businesses reported record losses and had to fight the Federal Government tooth-and-nail for partial compensation for damages and revenue lost. It was, however, a huge payday for the police who also held onto many of their new toys and surveillance cameras.


4. Aftermath

After millions of dollars and years of investigations, here is what I can tell you: Everything that is being planned for you, Brisbane, has brought misery to every city before you: London, Pittsburgh, Toronto.

Finding accountability and justice over the past 3 years for policing crimes at the Toronto G20 Summit has been a demented joke. From our Mayor rolling over, to only ONE officer being handed a criminal conviction, it’s been a farce.

Right now I’m on a cross-country tour of Canada, sharing my G20 story with my fellow Canadians. On the first stop of the tour, way up in the Yukon Territory, I read about what’s being being cooked up for you Brisbane, and felt I had to share these facts with you.

However, you may want to hear more from Queensland Council for Civil Liberties President Michael Cope, who had this to say about policing powers in Toronto for the G20: “According to the systemic review report they had the power to in effect remove anybody and search anybody without any suspicion whatsoever unlike this legislation, so they had extraordinary powers, which didn’t stop this.”

Good people of Brisbane, one final time – heads up.

October 15, 2013, by

Praxis Theatre is thrilled to announce our online collaboration with The English Theatre at The National Arts Centre is now live @

SWS Logo

Click to see what is playing at the SpiderWebShow

SpiderWebShow is a theatrical space where Canada, the Internet and performance minds intersect.

It is Co-Created by Praxis Theatre Artistic Director @MichaelcWheeler and NAC English Theatre Associate Artistic Director @SarahgStanley, with Digital Dramaturgy and Design by creator @gfscott.

We have many goals with the show, but the first and most important one is to involve you.

Come check it out!

October 14, 2013, by

Culture Vulture’ David C. Jones joined the show in Vancouver and talked to Tommy Taylor about the experience.

Hey Toronto,

Read an interview with J. Kelly Nestruck and Director Michael Wheeler

Click to read J. Kelly Nestruck’s interview with Director Michael Wheeler

We want you to be in our play. Every performance of You Should Have Stayed Home requires a cast to join Tommy Taylor onstage for 12 minutes when the narrative arrives at The Eastern Avenue Detention Centre.

We have done this scene in many ways with over 150 participants total in Toronto (SummerWorks 2011), Whitehorse  and Vancouver. The number of participants has varied from 15 – 40 over the course of these three runs. The scene always works, but emphasizes different elements depending on who and how many people participate on a given day.

We have had old cages, young young cages, mostly female, mostly male, sometimes packed, sometimes with enough room for each participant to sculpt their positions more precisely.

Each show happens with the people from the community it performs in who have chosen to participate on a given day. It is the social justice-influenced performative chaos theory that keeps our one-man show distinctly different and alive every night. We want you to join it.

How to participate in the show:

Click to read Glenn Sumi's interview with Playwright/Performer Tommy Taylor

Click to read Glenn Sumi’s interview with Playwright/Performer Tommy Taylor

To join the production, send an email to

Let us know when you are available and would like to be part of the show. Do one show or do every show. People who do more than one show get a ticket to the show. People who do more than five get two tickets. The show runs from Oct 17-26.

Daily Rehearsals: Every time there is a show there is a ‘detainee’ rehearsal one hour before – 1pm for 2pm performances and 7pm for 8pm performances. At these rehearsals we’ll walk you through the 6 things you have to do – no acting experience required. Basically you have to be yourself if you had been swept up in a mass arrest: stand, sit, yell for water and play a volleyball type game. We have done this 25 times now. There is a safe, clear, fun system in place.

Want to see the show first? All detainee performers are welcome/encouraged to attend our dress rehearsal at The Aki Theatre on Wednesday October 16 from 7pm – 10pm. You can see the production and also learn what you have to do all in one 3-hour session.

Why participate? Every person who performs in the play is another voice that has stood up for basic Charter Rights that are in jeopardy in Canada. We think this matters, and hope you will too.

Click to read the review of You Should Have Stayed Home by Colin Thomas

Click to read the review of You Should Have Stayed Home by Colin Thomas