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

Category: The Theatre Centre

January 11, 2013, by

Click the image to read the full post on The Theatre Centre website. Photo by Han Soete via Creative Commons

Click the image to read the full post on The Theatre Centre website.

Photo by Han Soete via Creative Commons

In December last year we announced a new joint initiative with The Theatre Centre called Civil Debates: an opportunity for two speakers from opposite sides of an argument to debate their perspectives for a live audience. It will also be a forum for attendees to participate and vote for their preferred argument.

The topics for the first four debates of the series will be suggested by YOU, the community, via a live installation on January 12 & 13 at the Next Stage Festival’s tent at Factory Theatre.

Click on the image above for all the details, and see you at the beer tent!

October 22, 2012, by

Trey Anthony speaks at TEDxTO 2010

by Michael Wheeler

There are two upcoming events I am organizing that emphasize conversation and online interactivity in a performative context. You are invited!

One is free and includes lunch – the other is very reasonably priced and perhaps you work for an organization that has a budget for there types of things anyhow…

Working with The Theatre Centre to create an interactive and friendly space to engage in dialogue surrounding TEDx Toronto: an independently-organized, one-day conference, designed to give communities, individuals and organizations an opportunity to stimulate meaningful exchange. TED Talks bring top minds from technology, entertainment and design together to share ideas, inspire movements and ignite change.

This year’s TEDx Toronto is on October 26th, 9am-5pm and The Theatre Centre will be hosting a Live Viewing Party at the POP-UP. Join us as we live-stream the conference, bringing the TED experience to you by providing an opportunity to engage with other viewers and share ideas online and in-person.

This event is FREE and lunch will be provided – BUT you have to RSVP if you’re going to be there around lunchtime (so we know how much food to get):

HASHTAGS: #TEDxToronto for city-wide conversation & #TEDxTOTC for location specific conversation.
WHERE: The Theatre Centre POP-UP @1095 Queen West
WHEN: Friday, October 26, 9-5pm
RSVP: Viewing party RSVP form (please select The Theatre Centre POP-UP from the list of locations at the bottom of the page)

Praxis workshop @ Social Media Week

Praxis Workshop @ Fringe Creation Lab for Social Media Week 2012

Partnering with Theatre Ontario to create a workshop on Live Performance and Community Engagement.

Looking at examples from work with The Electric Company, Volcano Theatre, The Shaw Festival, The Theatre Centre, Praxis Theatre and The Wrecking Ball, this workshop investigates imaginative expression and best practices in performing arts and online integration.

Questions the workshop poses:

  • Where does your social media content come from?
  • What ‘voice’ should you use to represent your organization online?
  • What’s the latest with live-blogging / live-tweeting?
  • How can online tools and presence assist instead of distract from the work?

Participants will emerge with:

  • A better idea of your organization’s potential relationship to social media
  • A clearer idea of which social media is right for your organization
  • Information to inform your social media strategy
  • Ideas for social media content and where to look for them
  • A better understanding of trends and developments in social media
    WHERE: 215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 210. Toronto
    WHEN: Tuesday November 27, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
    RSVP: Theatre Ontario Registration
March 19, 2012, by

Chicago/Toronto Performance Summit: Cultural Ecosystems

Presented by The Theatre Centre in partnership with The Drake Hotel and The City of Toronto

March 24-26, 2012 as part of FREE FALL ‘12

An exchange that brings together cultural players from two cities for a sharing of ideas, trends and experiences. Because of its proximity, its vibrant independent performing arts scene and its architectural and historical connection to Toronto, Chicago is often referred to as a ‘sister city’ to Toronto.

Building on the success of the first city-to-city exchange with curators and programmers from Dublin at FreeFall ’10, The Toronto/Chicago Summit at Free Fall ‘12 will cultivate a meaningful connection between Chicago presenters and Canadian programmers and artists, and provide a platform for discussing concerns, climate, interests and curiosities that drive performance creators and presenters in both cities.

The Summit Schedule

March 24 – Opening:

Welcome Potluck @The Drake Lab, 4pm – 6pm
This is a free public event.

The Toronto community welcomes our guests with a potluck dinner on their first night in the city. Anyone is welcome – bring a dessert and join the meal and the conversation.

March 25 – Day Two:

Artist Breakfast @The Drake Underground, 10.30am

A Free Fall tradition, the Artists Breakfast provides an opportunity for guests to meet the festival’s artists. This event is also a fundraising event for The Theatre Centre. Your $50 tickets gets you exclusive access to festival artists, the Keynote Address at 12.00pm and a tax receipt for your donation. Please contact 416-534-9261 or email to purchase tickets and for more details.

Keynote Address @ The Drake Underground, noon
This is a free public event.

“The Global Ocean is a single interconnected system that contains 99% of the living space on the planet.”

Award-winning author Alanna Mitchell will talk about the findings of her latest book, Sea Sick: the global ocean in crisis. She travelled around the world over the course of two and a half years doing field research with scientists, piecing together the astonishing tale of humanity’s impact on the global ocean.

The bottom line: humans are setting the table for a mass extinction of life on the planet, and we have a narrow window to pull back from the brink. Alanna’s talk will set the framework for a follow-up discussion about cultural ecosystems, as they exist now and what we imagine them to be in the future.

Panel Discussion with Chris Jones and J. Kelly Nestruck, @The Great Hall Studio 3, 2pm
This is a free public event.

Chris Jones, theatre critic at The Chicago Tribune and The Globe & Mail’s theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck discuss the independent theatre/performance ecology in their respective cities.

MARCH 26 – Day Three:

Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods. Our Chicago guests will go on a special artist tour of these communities and their cultural landmarks. Tweet us @TheatreCentre if you would like us to visit you, or follow #gettoknowTO.

Watch the trailer for Free Fall ’12

We welcome these prominent cultural producers and presenters from Chicago at The Chicago/Toronto Summit:

Erica Mott – Education and Community Programs Director, Links Hall

Anthony Moseley – Executive Artistic Director, Collaboraction

Allison Peters Quinn – Director of Exhibitions, Hyde Park Art Centre

Will Rogers – Associate Producer, Victory Gardens Theatre

Abigail Satinsky – Director of Programming, threewalls

Tricia Van Eck – Artistic Director, 6018 North

March 1, 2012, by

by Michael Wheeler

This March will bring Free Fall ‘12 to The Theatre Centre, an eight-day biennial national performance festival featuring new and boundary-testing works by emerging and established artists from across Canada.

This iteration of Free Fall investigates shared and individual experiences through theatre, installation, performance art, new media, lectures and online performance.

Co-curated by Theatre Centre Artistic Director Franco Boni and myself, there are works from across the country and also the City of Chicago. The relationship between our two cities will play an important part in this iteration of the festival, which will also host the Chicago-Toronto Performance Summit, an exchange that brings together cultural players from both cities for a sharing of ideas, trends and experiences.

The works are fairly disparate, and many embrace online technologies as we began discussing at Social Media Week at The Drake Hotel, which also serves as one of the venues for the festival. Some of these online components to Free Fall ’12 are:

  • The Online Brain created by Aislinn Rose (also of Praxis Theatre) for Out The Window.

Babylonia Trailer from radix theatre on Vimeo.

Local Toronto artists at Free Fall ’12 include, Jonathan Goldsbie, Falen Johnson, Coman Poon, Liza Balkan, the Toronto District School Board Media Arts Co-op program with Charles Street Video. This is the last time Free Fall will be based out Theatre Centre’s current home at the historic Great Hall, before it moves to its new home, half a block down Queen Street at the soon-to-be transformed Carnegie Library.

It’s a true honour to be a part of putting this festival together and I hope you’ll visit the Free Fall ’12 site to see which events and performances are ones you would like to check out.

If you make any decisions, you can click here to Buy Tickets and Festival Combo Passes or call 416.538.0988 to book them the ol’ fashioned way.

August 4, 2011, by

The World Premiere of You Should Have Stayed Home is 5pm @ The Theatre Centre as part of the SummerWorks Festival

NOW Magazine

“(SummerWorks) is tackling one of the biggest thorns in the city’s side in recent years: last year’s G20 summit, demonstrations and police overkill. In the highly anticipated play You Should Have Stayed Home, writer Tommy Taylor depicts his experience as a detainee in the squalid makeshift prison where hundreds of protesters were held.”

The Globe and Mail

“Despite a certain controversy over a play about homegrown terrorism last year, SummerWorks isn’t shying away from politics. In this show from Praxis Theatre, Tommy Taylor adapts a Facebook note he wrote last year after being detained for 24 hours during the Toronto G20 Summit for the stage. Billed as “the true story of a heartbroken Canadian.”

The Toronto Star

“Here are a few of our best guesses as to what shows might cause a stir (and even if they don’t, they’re worth checking out).
You Should Have Stayed Home: A G20 Romp
The always political Praxis Theatre teams up with Tommy Taylor’s company The Original Norwegian in a stage adaptation of Taylor’s experience being illegally detained while out for a walk during last summer’s G20.”

Click here to buy tickets

June 3, 2011, by

Image by Wellington Grey - Click to enlarge

by Michael Wheeler

Here are 3 internet/performance-related things I am up to. They’re all completely different and have me thinking about how different people – playwrights, young artists and audiences – can interact with the the internet and performance.

Also, I still like to direct plays and will talk about that from time-to-time too.


Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) has asked me to give a seminar on – wait for it – Social Media in the Arts.

Today, as part of ‘PLAYWRIGHTS: Getting Down to Business’, a day of professional development workshops for playwrights organized by PGC, we will discuss social media as it relates to the Canadian playwright. What advice would you give playwrights about how to use social media these days? Leave your advice in the comments before 3pm and maybe we will end up discussing it.


This summer I am leading a FREE program for youth at The Theatre Centre on – you guessed it – online tools and performance.Dates: Monday July 25 – Friday July 29 Time: 10pm -2pm Age: 15-19

This FREE program includes free LUNCHES and a TRANSIT subsidy in an exploration of what tools are available on online, what stories the participants are interested in telling, and how to tell them on the stage in new and exciting ways. Throughout the week, resident companies at The Theatre Centre will join the workshop giving participants a rare window into how cutting-edge artists are working with the newest technologies to create their work. Click here to sign up or learn more.


Work is ongoing with Theatre Smith Gilmour as they move ever closer to their North American premiere of the first ever Sino-Canadian co-production Lu Xun Blossoms at Luminato.

The latest post explores who Lu Xun was (Western audiences can understand him as having many parallels to Chekhov). Luminato has also launched their own Smartphone Ap to keep track of everything that is going on when the mega-festival hits town, which means you can now also buy tickets instantly via the small computer many of us keep in our pockets.

4 (the outlier)

This weekend I will be participating in Directors Lab North, which fosters a national and international exchange between a community of emerging, mid level and established career directors created by alumni of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in New York City.

My involvement is contributing to a panel that also includes Obsidian Theatre Artistic Director Philip Akin and Modern Times Artistic Director Soheil Parsa. We will NOT be discussing the internet. Mostly we will be talking about theatre, aesthetics and identity. Although Philip has been an early adopter of the The Blog, so you never know. Also I guess my aesthetic in some way involves the internet. Never mind.

April 21, 2011, by

Exciting news from the Wrecking Ball team in Toronto yesterday revealed that there will be 7 Wrecking Ball events taking place across the country on Monday the 25th at 8pm local time.

Click here for more information on the cities and venues playing host.

If you can’t attend in person but don’t want to miss out entirely, be sure to join virtually on Twitter via the designated hashtag #WreckingBall2011.

You can follow this tag with out without a Twitter account, and there will be Wrecking Ball tweeters at all of these events to fill you in, including @praxistheatre at the Toronto Wrecking Ball at the Theatre Centre.

December 23, 2010, by

The Carnegie Library at 1115 Queen Street West will eventually become a permanent home for The Theatre Centre

The Carnegie Library at 1115 Queen Street West will eventually become a permanent home for The Theatre Centre

by Michael Wheeler


A permanent home for The Theatre Centre

The Theatre Centre has existed in many locations since being founded in 1979, began a research and development program for Toronto indie theatre in 1984, and updated this practice in 2004 to its groundbreaking residency program now in place. It is an established leader in boundary-pushing, innovative and challenging approaches to performance and has nurtured and developed the talents of many of the city’s top artists.

In April, City Council offered the long-term lease of the former Carnegie Library at 1115 Queen Street West to The Theatre Centre as sole tenant. After 48 years of closure to the public, residents of Toronto will be able to enjoy the building once more.  More money still needs to be raised to bring this much needed resource and home for a community into reality, but this first step, and the commitment of a number of key foundations to support this move, is my #1 pick for 2010.


Citizens Against Proroguing Parliament

What? Yep. That was this year. Can you believe it? Hoping Canadians wouldn’t notice their democracy being shut down by framing it as a “procedural issue” Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament to avoid questions about the treatment of Afghan detainees and was met with impressive organization online and in the streets. It’s hard to tell what was more heartening: a single Facebook page becoming an overnight organizing megaforce or 200,000 Canadians asserting their right to live in a democracy coast-to-coast with a single voice. It’s a good thing we finally got to the bottom of that whole Afghan detainee thing….Oh – wait a second!?!


Rosie DiManno

For real. This is not a joke and I am not being ironic. Turn your filters off for a second: I get it. There was a point in my life where I was ready to start a “Bring Back DiMannoWatch” Facebook Page. Then Rosie became the only reporter in Toronto interested in capital “J” journalism as it related to G20. Instead of recycling myopic statements by subjects with much to hide, DiManno has been doing the work The Toronto Police Force and, well, every other journalist in the city, was unwilling or unable to do. She has already achieved tangible results by bringing the facts to a place where the public can interact with them and forced me to remember that human beings are often complicated and contradictory creatures.


People who did the thing they said they would do, in the time alloted, the way they said they would do it

Most successful endeavours this year were likely based on your contributions.



Summerworks is one of the most important theatre festivals for new independent performance in the country. Some of the shows produced there may not or may not speak to Conservative values, and the festival may or may not have submitted a grant late at a certain point. None of this changes the important role the festival plays in Canada’s performing arts ecosystem and the opportunity it presents for emerging artist/entrepreneurs to jumpstart their own careers.  The recent move to Queen W. and the inclusion of independent music are also a big plus for making it an event with wide community appeal.

Cardinal Clement was angered concerned data from the census could establish facts that differed from official state doctrine

Cardinal Clement was concerned data from the census could establish facts that differed from official state doctrine


Munir Sheikh

Whatever ideological differences we may have with one another as citizens, it is not acceptable for the government to act as if the Enlightenment didn’t happen. Facts are relevant, data is important and logic can only be ignored at our peril.


Sidney Crosby

An overtime sudden-death goal to win the final gold medal of an Olympic games, at home, simultaneously making your country the one with the most gold medals at the games, and establishing a new record for gold medals by a country at any Olympic winter games. Our grandchildren will be jealous.

8 comment of the year

I would like to acknowledge the highly subjective “winner” of this category each year in this space. Even though I just interviewed Brendan Gall six weeks ago, if we’re going to base these things on merit, I believe he was also the clear winner of ‘Comment of the Year ’ for his response to our February post: “How Do You Get a Grant?


The moderate growth of the theatrosphere

Although there is plenty of room for many new projects at the intersection of online tools and performance, 2010 was the year many companies committed to expanding their artistic practice online. From interviews with Studio 180’s creative team, to checking out pics Obsidian Theatre had uploaded of a cast member transforming her appearance, to Alberta Theatre Projects creating an audio mixtape from online submissions, to hearing from a flow of artists creating new work through the ‘My Story’ posts on The Tarragon Theatre Facebook Page – this was a significant year for the integration of social media tools with performance.


It’s still unclear whether any of the funds from the City’s Billboard Tax will reach their original target of “public art” to offset the visual pollution caused by billboard advertising as originally intended, recommended by city staff, and supported by a majority of Torontonians. Ten years from now, the real value of this movement may be the politicization and organization of a generation of artists and community activists.  This is a new cohort of engaged citizenry that understands how to communicate through social and mainstream media and is determined to have an impact at City Hall – not just for arts funding – but to contribute to a city that is understood as a community and is based on inclusive values.

December 6, 2010, by
1 comment

Wrecking Ball 11 Poster #2 lower res

Image by Microdot Photography

Toronto’s Elite and Artsy types take the gloves off for one last rock’em sock’em night before handing over power to the Lunch Pail type millionaires who know how to get the job done.

Voters are “sick of the elites and artsy people,” running politics.
Don CherryDec 3 2010 in The Toronto Star

On Tuesday December 7 2010, Rob Ford has asked Don Cherry to place the Mayor’s Chain of Office around his neck ushering in an era of unprecedented prosperity where streetcar tracks will morph into subway tunnels, services will increase while taxes decrease, and bicyclists have been warned that it’s they’re own fault if they get hit in the numbers on city streets. The war on the car is over!

Resigned to enduring three full periods of respect for taxpayers bereft of visor-wearing left-wing bleeding heart pinkos, Wrecking Ball 11 on Monday December 6 will be the final opportunity for artsy elites to dig down deep and give it 110%  along the boards.

Come join the Wrecking Ball as we ride the gravy train one last time into the sunset (partially obscured by a Tim Horton’s drive-thru).

Read the 6 teams of actors, directors and writers had one week to prepare 6 new works ripped from the headlines on

Read previews in NOW Magazine and The National Post

November 19, 2010, by
1 comment


The English noun identity comes, ultimately, from the Latin adverb identidem, which means “repeatedly.” The Latin has exactly the same rhythm as the English, buh-BUM-buh-BUM—a simple iamb, repeated; and identidem is, in fact, nothing more than a reduplication of the word idem, “the same”: idem(et)idem. Same (and) same. The same, repeated. It is a word that does exactly what it means.

It seems odd, at first glance, that a noun that we associate with distinctiveness and individuality, with the irreducible uniqueness of each person, should derive from one that denotes (and even sounds like) nothing but mechanical repetition. But once you’ve given it some thought, the etymology of identity makes a kind of sense. At least one way of establishing what something is, after all, is to see whether it always remains itself, and nothing else, over and over again. This is also the case, presumably, for people: you are, endlessly and repeatedly, you, and not some other.




Click here


Writer for theatre, tv and film, Bobby Theodore is the co-creator (with Ame Henderson) of 300 TAPES – a bold experiment in storytelling exploring how our memories are shaped (and warped) over time. Created over two years as part of The Theatre Centre’s Residency Program, 300 TAPES merges theatre, sound art and choreography.

300 TAPES by Public Recordings runs December 1-12 at The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen Street West, Toronto (before heading to Calgary in Feb 2011). 416-538-0988.