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

Category: Uncategorized

July 16, 2012, by

by Anthea Foyer

Transmedia storytelling is becoming much more prevalent. Even if you have not heard the word you have probably experienced it, or a part of it, in some way in both popular and alternative culture. Transmedia storytelling is, essentially, a technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies. Audience engagement is of prime importance and a wide range of techniques are used to this end. Within each story these acts of engagement, all the platforms and actions are narratively synched to each other.

Alternate Reality Games {ARGs}, can be considered a form of transmedia storytelling. They are interactive narrative experiences that use the real world as a platform to tell stories and, generally using the internet as a hub, the audience becomes integral as they can affect the story by their ideas or actions.

Depending on your viewpoint this is either TERRIFYING! How can you control a narrative arc when everything is changing and the audience gets input! OR EXCITING! The planet as your stage, a direct connection to your audience, storytelling that is kept on its toes as it adapts to the participants.

I tend towards the second option, which is why I think that theatre creators have so much to offer and to learn from ARGs. The ‘live-ness’ of theatre, adapting to the unexpected audience reaction, the real world engagement – all of these traits that are inherent to the theatre experience are also key to making a great ARG experience. From the ARG side, I think that theatre creators can learn a lot about gaming techniques, online engagement strategies and non-linear narrative from the digital/interactive components of ARGs.

The Mission Business is a recently launched, Toronto based company that is exploring the space between the two. They describe themselves as ‘an adventure laboratory based in Toronto that designs connected live-action and online experiences to thrill you, challenge you, and make you think.’ Their expertise includes expertise in theatre, digital content creation, and game design.

Their inaugural project ZED.TO is an immersive narrative experience about the end of our world. It encourages its participants to engage with the story through various media. These include original online content, pervasive-style interactions and performance events linked to major arts festivals across Toronto throughout 2012. By charting the rise and fall of ByoLogyc, a fictional biotech corporation, ZED.TO is an investigation into the hubris of mankind in its hurry to innovate and improve itself – regardless of the price.

This location based story stretches the boundaries of actor, audience, stage and experience. It gives an audience an immersive experience that can be accessed through a variety of outlets from online, live events, live theatre experiences and a variety of other media. This project is a great way to get immersed in the world of ARGs and experience location based storytelling first hand.

Transmedia 101 presents: ARG 101: ZED.TO from 7-9pm on Tuesday, July 17th at InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Center.

Transmedia 101 is a community building initiative that encourages collaboration between both transmedia professionals and creatives, innovators, & instigators from ancillary industries/interests who desire to learn more about how to apply transmedia strategies to their properties & projects.

Anthea Foyer is a digitnista who makes beautiful things using technology. She believes wonderful things happen when worlds collide – on and offline. She is also one of the organizers of Transmedia 101.

June 8, 2012, by


The hands of live artists Lorena Torres during Aluna Theatre's critically acclaimed Nohayquiensepa

Video artist Lorena Torres will be creating live projected imagery throughout the evening.


As guests arrive they’ll be greeted by the steel-string folk & blues stylings of Praxis friend Ian Rennie. Later in the evening, Local 164, made up of Gordan Bolan, Jenny Young, Jason O’Brien and Dave Chan, will play from their set of Americana/Roots songs. You can also check them out at the Evergreen Brickworks on the June 16th.


Tommy Taylor - You Should Have Stayed Home

Tommy Taylor will be on hand to perform a short piece from our award-winning SummerWorks hit, You Should Have Stayed Home, co-produced by The Original Norwegian.


This is just a selection of some of the gourmet morsels we’ll be serving


Salmon tartar

with dill, lemon zest, and chives, garnished with yoghurt cream and served on a beet root chip.


with red chili, shallots, mango, cilantro, and citrus juice, served on a plantain chip.

Watermelon, feta, and mint bite

Watermelon cubes stuffed with fresh mint and feta salad.

Wine provided by Reif Estate Winery

Zucchini Latkes

Garnished with yoghurt cream and fresh peas

Praxis Gourmet Sliders

1. Fresh all beef patty with roasted tomato jam, homemade garlic pickles, radicchio

2 Fresh pork sausage patty with orange marmalade mustard and grape salsa

3. Mushroom, sweet onion aioli, aged cheddar

Coconut lime ice cream


Mini meringue cups filled with orange and rhubarb compote garnished with whipped cream and toasted almonds

Assorted ice cream and sorbets

1. Coconut lime ice cream garnished with toasted coconut

2. Strawberry ice cream with graham cracker and pecan streusel

We hope you can make the party. If you are unavailable to attend, donations of any size will be gratefully accepted at:


When: Monday, June 11th – 6:30pm
Where: 358 Wellesley St. East
How much: $75 (but ask us about our artist rate)
How to reserve:

Hope You Can Make It

October 27, 2011, by

Praxis puts Section 98 on the internet in 2010
– Photo of Melissa Hood by Hugh Probyn
by Aislinn Rose
Later today, I will be joining NOW Magazine‘s Glenn Sumi, The Globe & Mail‘s Kelly Nestruck, and Mooney on Theatre‘s Megan Mooney for a Roundtable Discussion: Theatre Criticism and the Internet.
The panel will be moderated by The University of Toronto’s Michelle MacArthur, a PhD Candidate and Instructor for DRM 231H: Theatre Criticism. Michelle will be leading the discussion around questions of how blogging and social media are changing the nature of theatre criticism, and whether the internet has democratized reviewing, altering the traditional relationships between artists, audiences and critics.
Representing Praxis Theatre on the panel, I’ll be talking about our use of the internet and how it directly feeds our work and relationships with audiences and the indie theatre community.
The event is open to the public, and – inspired by Praxis’ twitter friendly performance of You Should Have Stayed Home – our moderator is encouraging live-tweeting throughout the discussion. So if you can’t attend the event in person, feel free to join the discussion online.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Thursday, October 27th
Robert Gill Theatre
Graduate Centre for Study of Drama
214 College St., 3rd Floor

How to follow the panelists on twitter:
Megan Mooney, Mooney on Theatre – @mooneyontheatre
Kelly Nestruck, Globe and Mail – @nestruck
Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine – @glennsumi
Aislinn Rose, Praxis Theatre – @praxistheatre, @AislinnTO

May 20, 2011, by

by Michael Wheeler

2011 is shaping up to be a particularly interesting year for local independent companies at Luminato and audience engagement through social media as these companies reach out to audiences across Toronto.

Lu Xun Blossoms

My official involvement this year is connected to my work with Theatre Smith-Gilmour and their recently launched website which will have regularly updated original and engaging content about the North American Premiere of Lu Xun blossoms at Luminato.

Co-produced by Theatre Smith Gilmour and The Shanghai Centre for the Dramatic Arts, it is the first ever Sino-Canadian theatrical co-production.

Want to know more about the show?

Awesome: Theatre Smith-Gilmour Co-ADs Michelle Smith and Dean Gilmour just wrote a blog post all about how this groundbreaking production came about.

Necessary Angel is another local company involved in Luminato 2011. In fact, it has not one, but TWO shows in the festival this year. It’s probably a testament to the general consensus on how important/boundary pushing Necessary Angel is that no one has really complained about this fact.

The company is running two separate audience engagement initiatives for the shows through their Facebook page:

For the production Tout Comme Elle, audience members are solicited to submit pictures of their shoes and the stories they tell. Participants are entered into a draw to win dinner and tickets to a show.

Andromache is recruiting

For the production Andromache – something pretty crazy is happening:

The production is casting one of the roles, “the recruit”, through a Facebook competition facilitated by the Andromache Facebook App where potential “recruits” upload their photo and key info before being voted on by other facebook users who access the Andromache ap. The top three vote-getters will receive an interview with internationally acclaimed director Graham McLaren and one will be hired to play the role.

No shit. Forget that agent that doesn’t return your calls: Just get on Facebook, get that photo up there, and get your friends voting. There is work out there after all. (Please note: I uploaded my own photo and profile and I am not doing well. Come on Praxis Blog readers – don’t you want more weird blog posts about using Facebook to get work with important theatre companies?)

On a producing level, this is already a slam dunk in my mind – I can see that the number of people that “Like” the Facebook page, which is part of the process of voting, has gone up significantly since these competitions started. As Facebook groups become de-activated in favour of Pages, while Toronto remains a city with exceptionally high Facebook saturation – using participation in an international festival to leverage your Facebook Page Fans this way is pretty darn smart. Here’s hoping they get an actor in the top three that can play the part…

January 7, 2011, by

Friends, family and colleagues were all shocked by the sudden death of actor, writer and director Gina Wilkinson after a short battle with cancer on December 30, 2010. All who were connected with Gina are welcome to attend a memorial in her honour later this month and a new fund to support emerging female directors has been established in her name:

Gina’s Memorial
Monday January 24 @ 3pm
Jane Mallett Theatre
27 Front St E, Toronto

Tax-deductible donations to establish a fund for The Gina Wilkinson Award for Emerging Female Directors can be made payable to: “Ontario Arts Foundation – In memory of Gina Wilkinson” and sent to:

Attn: Alan Walker, Executive Director
Ontario Arts Foundation
151 Bloor St W, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON, M5S 1T6

December 24, 2010, by


Happy Holidays from everyone at Praxis Theatre.

We will be back in 2011 with some new ideas and content as well as more of what we do best.

If you came here looking to kill some time on the internet – there’s always these 30 pics of kids that are scared of Santa – just to make you feel that y0ur holiday season is going relatively well. If you are in or around Toronto – maybe we will see you in person at Small Wooden Shoe’s second annual Christmas concert, What Keeps Mankind Alive, on the 29th of December at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Until the New Year!

Praxis Theatre

September 7, 2010, by

Jesus Chrysler Lab Cab

by Michael Wheeler

In the winter of 2009 I attended a theatre history lecture at Toronto Free Gallery by Alex Fallis on The Progressive Arts Club and the theatre created by artists who were opposed to many of the anti-civil rights policies enacted by Prime Minister Bennett in the 1930s. These people proved to be so fascinating that I elected to create with Praxis Theatre a show about them, Tim Buck 2, which played at The Tranzac Club as part of the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival.

This led to our Harbourfront Centre HATCH workshop Section 98, which expanded the scope of our work to some other instances when civil rights proved to be a contentious issue for Canadians: namely the FLQ crisis, the Air India bombing, Omar Khadr, and the treatment of Afghan detainees captured by Canadian soldiers. Both the Fringe show and our HATCH workshop were extremely useful in terms of exploring who these people were, what they were concerned about, and the complexity of balancing our country’s commitment to civil rights and concerns of national security.

Unfortunately, neither of these initial explorations did an awesome job of storytelling.  So this spring and summer we went back to the drawing board with this project and thought about how to move beyond ‘staged dramaturgy’ and into narrative-based work informed by these themes.

The most consistent positive feedback from our open source creative process revolved around curiosity and fascination with Eugenia “Jim” Watts.

The most consistent positive feedback from our open source creative process revolved around curiosity and fascination with Eugenia “Jim” Watts.

Both presentations involved an online component that allowed the audience to participate with or respond to our work: Tim Buck 2 asked the audience to return to the website to learn the results of a poll conducted at the conclusion of a debate at the end of the show. These posts also generated some interesting conversations in their comments sections.

Section 98 was more intrinsically attached to the internet with Praxis Artistic Producer Aislinn Rose acting as Open Source Project Leader, sharing parts of our process online, actively seeking participation from our community, and developing an infrastructure that encouraged live feedback over the web or through texts during the workshop presentation.

There were also quite a few normal conversations, in person, with live human beings who had seen the show(s).

The first conclusion was that the core personality we had explored that generated a unique resonance with both audiences and ourselves was Eugenia “Jim” Watts, played in both productions by Margaret Evans. A core political organizer and theatre director in 1930s Toronto, she co-directed the legendary civil rights play banned by Bennett, Eight Men Speak, and later went on to be one of two women serving with the Mackenzie Papineau Brigade in the Spanish Civil War where she was an ambulance driver. She was also involved with a number of other projects; she was very busy, and interesting, and worth being the impetus for a work of art.

Margaret Evans playing Jim Watts in Section 98 as part of HATCH at Harbourfront Centre

Margaret Evans playing Jim Watts in Section 98 as part of HATCH at Harbourfront Centre

The second conclusion was that this piece required a playwright, and a good one. This playwright would preferably be an artist who had experience creating theatre about historical events for a contemporary audience (we talked a lot about avoiding a ‘bio pic’) and a passion for social justice.

So it is with much pleasure and excitement we announce Dora-winning playwright Tara Beagan has joined Praxis Theatre in continuing our work on this latest iteration, . Tara and I worked together for two years on Crate Productions’ The Fort at York, and she also acted as an outside eye for Praxis on our Toronto Fringe 07 co-pro, Dyad, but Jesus Chrysler is her first official work with Praxis Theatre and we are thrilled to welcome her.

Jesus Chrysler will be presented at The Factory Theatre as part of Lab Cab on Saturday September 18 and Sunday September 19 at 5pm. The entire festival is free with all manner of art and experiences presented by over 50 artists throughout every nook and cranny of The Factory from noon to 6pm each day. We invite you to come check out the whole festival and save your 5pm – 5:20pm slot for us. This being a Praxis show, we’ll definitely welcome your feedback online or in person, with a particular emphasis on your thoughts about our transition to a script based work about a single individual.

Hope to see you there!

Where’s Praxis? Can you find Tara, Margaret and Michael in the Lab Cab poster?

Where’s Praxis? Can you find Tara, Margaret and Michael in the Lab Cab poster? Click to enlarge

August 5, 2010, by

The Next Stage Festival is a juried uber-fringe held each January at The Factory Theatre. It offers audiences and industry programmers the chance to see both new and reworked productions by successful Fringe artists as they take the leap into the Next Stage of their careers.

Next Stage in the Factory Theatre Mainspace:

At The Sans Hotel
Created & performed by Nicola Gunn Designed by Nicola Gunn with Rebecca Etchell, Gwendolyna Holmberg-Gilchrist and Luke Paulding

In a deserted Hotel strewn with familiar remnants, a woman is marooned in a bathtub. She suggests something terrible has happened or is about to happen…

Duel of Ages
by True Edge Productions (with a cast of 21)

This anthology of duelling scenes begins in the 16th century and goes, all the way to its impact on the modern psyche in the age of cinema.

Fairy Tale Ending: The Big Bad Family Musical
Presented by Role Your Own Theatre from Toronto
Music and Lyrics by Kieren MacMillan & Jeremy Hutton

Fairy Tale Ending is a topsy-turvy yet touching tale of a young girl coming to grips with loss and the reality of growing up. NSTF’s first family show for kids and grown-ups – matinees and kids pricing TBD.

The Grace Project **World Premiere**
by Judith Thompson & the ensemble

The Grace Project features courageous young adults sharing their true, life-shaping experiences living with chronic illness.

Next Stage in the Factory Studio Theatre:

The Apology
by Darrah Teitel
Directed by Audrey Dwyer, Performed by: Brendan McMurtry-Howlett, Natasha Greenblatt, Sascha Cole and Daniel Chapman-Smith.

Teenage sexuality coupled with inspired political ideology fan the flames of this anachronistic work set in early 19th century British high society that discusses the tensions between maternity and feminism, ideology and love in an original story of sexual revelation.

Eating with Lola
Presented by Sulong Theatre
Written and performed by Catherine Hernandez, Directed by Ann Powell

Part confession, part revelation, Lola’s epic tale unravels the entire modern history of Manila from the time of the Thomasites to the second wave of Filipino migration to the United States – one spoonful at a time. A one woman (and one puppet) tour-de-force.

Swan Song of Maria (A Tragic Fairy Tale)
By Carol Cece Anderson
Directed by Mark Cassidy, Music Performed by Hilario Duran, Featuring Lili Francks, John Blackwood and Bridgett Zehr

Inspired by Swan Lake, the piece combines Afro-Cuban-Latin-Jazz, various dance styles and story to navigate a the forty year relationship.

Tom’s a-cold
By David Egan
Directed by Daryl Cloran, Featuring Shane Carty & Brendan Gall

In 1845, HMS Terror and Erebus set sail from England seeking the Northwest Passage through the Arctic. Neither ship was ever seen again. Three years later, two men sit in a lifeboat.

June 29, 2010, by
1 comment

Champagne: Check, Dora Statue: Check. It look like you won Christine Horne.

Champagne Bottle: Check. Dora Statue: Check. It looks like you won Christine Horne.



The Mill Theatrefront in association with the Young Centre for the Performing Arts


Donna-Michelle St. Bernard Gas Girls


Vikki Anderson The Turn of the Screw


Clinton Walker The Turn of the Screw


Christine Horne The Turn of the Screw


The Ensemble Spent


Gillian Gallow The Mill


Dana Osborne The Mill


Andrea Lundy The Mill


David Atkinson The Belle of Winnipeg

April 2, 2010, by

Basically this invite from our HATCH 2010 brethren from The Room was funny and complex enough to be posted as is sans-Variation.

Basically this party invite from our HATCH 2010 brethren theRoom was funny enough to be posted as is, sans-Variation.