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

Category: Uncategorized

March 13, 2010, by

Dave Tompa on how he scored the juicy role of an NDP Member of Parliament in Praxis Theatre’s Section 98

Praxis Theatre’s one-night-only workshop presentation of Section 98 is finally here.  Do you have your tickets yet?  Last night we had an invite-only dress rehearsal, and we learned a lot.  In particular, after all these years of audiences being told to turn their cell phones off, we’re finding it a bit of a challenge to encourage you not only to leave them on, but to actually put them to use during the show.  So we’re hoping to see you and your cell phones at the Harbourfront Centre tonight at 8pm.

Check out Praxis Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director Michael Wheeler talking to Harbourfront about our “Open Source” show, and why you need to bring your phones.  See you tonight!

Harbourfront Centre’s Upfront talks “Open Source Theatre” with Praxis Co-Artistic Director, Michael Wheeler

December 14, 2009, by
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website is one of five blogs in the Culture and Literature category that have advanced to the final round round of voting in the 2009 Canadian Blog Awards.

We need your help to come out on top. It only takes about 10 seconds to vote. The ranked ballot allows you to vote for as many blogs as you want.

Best of luck to our competition: Mouse-traps and the Moon, North By East West (NxEW), Book Mine Set, and Quick Brown Fox. Make sure to check out all four of these great portals to increased understanding of and interaction with Canadian culture.

Click here to vote in the Final Round of the Canadian Blog Awards.

December 7, 2009, by

In what will likely be seen as a significant turning point in the quest for legitimacy by the theatrosphere, David Finkle, of, has been granted membership in the New York Drama Critics’ Circle.

The organization, whose role is to give out the highly prestigious annual awards named after themselves, had been reticent to offer membership to non-print published critics. But it seems the tide has finally turned, as reported by NYDCC President and Time Out New York critic Adam Feldman.

That’s right theatres, if you’re not engaging your local online critics and bloggers, you are officially hurting the feelings of writers that will form the next generation of prestigious award-givers. That really shouldn’t be the motivation to engage with the online theatre community, but if fear is your GO button – consider it officially pressed.

November 26, 2009, by


Harbourfront Centre and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre invite you to participate in a FREE, three-day workshop with Glasgow-based artist Adrian Howells, delving into the process and considerations related to autobiographical, confessional and intimate performance.

Howells has been a performance artist for the past 20 years. He creates work that promotes intimacy and genuine exchange with the audience in one-to-one, autobiographical and confessional contexts, in a range of non-traditional performance spaces. He has developed work investigating sexuality, social taboo and social conventions in public space and private situations. Howells is a recognized artists and performance professor at the University of Glasgow, with extensive experience in workshop facilitation and lecturing for high school and university students, professional artists and community groups.

HATCHLab is a peer-to-peer learning opportunity presented as part of our HATCH: emerging performance projects and World Stage programmes. The mandate of HATCHLab is to link the local performance community with international peers and practices. Past HATCHLabs have been facilitated by New York’s The TEAM (Theatre of the Emerging American Moment), Australia’s Back to Back Theatre and UK’s Stan’s Cafe.

Space is limited. If you are interested in taking part contact: for more information.

November 20, 2009, by

FUSE cover cropped

Fuse Magazine, one of Canada’s foremost periodicals on art and culture, is expanding editorial coverage to include more reviews on books, film and video, and theatre. The magazine is recruiting three section editors who specialize in one of these areas for two year terms.

Each section editor will be responsible for floating potential reviews to the editor and editing three short reviews per issue for their section. Editors should be in touch with a network of writers and are required to attend bi-monthly editorial meetings to discuss ideas, themes, progress, etc.

Editors should be based in Toronto and able to work from home. A modest per issue honorarium is available for each position. Interested applicants should submit their resume, a cover letter describing editing experience and examples of review topics, along with a writing sample by December 1, 2009.

Please submit materials to:

October 13, 2009, by

On October 5th 2009, CAEA members sent a strong signal that they weren’t joking at the previous AGM held in Toronto when they voted 96-1 to pass a resolution in support of researching new solutions and contracts for use in creating indie work. With no action taken by CAEA almost one year after the resolution had passed, members returned a second vote that explicitly details their dissatisfaction. Approximate estimates (official numbers are still not available) pegged the tally at 42 for, 4 abstentions, and 4 against.

The motion, which was submitted by Sarah Stanley, was presented to the AGM by Montreal indie artist Zach Fraser. Of particular note was the address to the AGM made by CAEA founding member and ACTRA Lifetime Achievement recipient Walter Massey, who spoke eloquently in support of the resolution.

For the second straight year CAEA membership has voted overwhelmingly to support a new approach to encouraging, creating and contracting indie theatre. All that remains is to see if CAEA staff and the soon-to-be-elected Council will choose to ignore the expressly and explicitly stated desires of membership for a second straight year.

The motion:

WHEREAS there is continuing dissatisfaction among the Equity Member/Creators with the current options to engage Equity artists, including the Independent Artists Projects Policy, Small Scale Theatre Addendum and Coop Guidelines that are available to its members;

AND WHEREAS Equity adopted a member resolution passed at the last National Annual General Meeting, resolving that steps would be taken by Equity to address this dissatisfaction by consulting with a committee, struck by Council, made up of volunteer CAEA Member/Creators whose purpose is to field concerns & suggestions, gather information and seek advice from fellow CAEA members as well as examine alternative options, devise revisions or alternatives to the current agreements and policies and report back to the Business Representatives, senior staff and membership at large, except that committee and advisory work will be initiated and guided by Council and answerable to Council;

AND WHEREAS there is further and growing dissatisfaction among the Equity Member/Creators with the lack of any tangible progress made by such committee and advisory work;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT Equity deem this matter a priority and take such steps as may be needed in order to cause senior staff to prepare a full report addressing these issues to be presented to the membership at large by the next National Annual General Meeting.

September 3, 2009, by

by Michael Wheeler

A turnout like this means something, you know what, when your first meeting is packed up and its sold out to put it in theatre terms it means you have a hit on your hands. To put it in activist terms it means you are in a movement moment, it means if you organize it they will come. It means you have good timing. That’s the moment we’re in right now.

Naomi Klein addresses the Department of Culture organized Town Hall at The Theatre Centre, September 3rd, 2008.

The inaugural Department of Culture meeting drew hundreds of people to the Theatre Centre on the hottest day of last fall, with people spilling into the lobby and out onto the sidewalk where the event inside was telecast.

Politically, for the arts in Canada, those were some very dark days. The Conservative Government had released a number of ideologically motivated cuts to arts funding over the summer of 2008, while every day the polls showed Stephen Harper cruising to a larger majority government. The notion that Canada “had become more conservative” was being floated as a talking point, and even some of my most progressive friends were starting to reconcile themselves to a bleak five years. Our Town Hall was organized in direct opposition to that notion. We proposed that there was still time to turn this train around and that artists and arts workers could play an integral role in doing so.

The speakers were great, and the turnout was impressive, but what was really key about that meeting was it provided the three absolutely essential resources that our fledging organization needed: Money, volunteers and profile. Money came in the form of individual cash donations straight out of people’s wallets and cheques that came in over the next week. Volunteers were identified with contact info, availability and skill sets by a team entering info into a bank of laptops in the lobby. Profile came from the sheer size and enthusiasm for the event and the clearly serious manner with which our community organized.

1 year ago today, The Theatre Centre was packed to the rafters and out on to the streets. 

We used each of these resources for all they worth every day from September 3rd to October 14th 2008. What was kick-started that night morphed into a national grassroots movement. Some of the actions that came out of our first event were:

  • Departments of Culture were set up independently by likeminded artists across the country.
  • These autonomous ad hoc organizations were tied together in the last week of the campaign by a series of concerts, video contests and theatre pieces, including the first ever national Wrecking Ball in ten Canadian on the same night from coast-to-coast.
  • Not all of the thousands of volunteers across the country relied on art. Online volunteers made our Facebook site the #4 Special Interest Group of the election according to CBC.
  • Swing teams targeted key 905-area ridings holding public meeting, attending debates and distributing information at GO stations and bus stations.

Our biggest electoral success was playing a part in changing the overall ballot question. 2008 was the first time that a question about culture was posed at the leader’s debate. That artists from across the country were united in their opposition to the government in both official languages had some influence on changing the question from: “Is Canada becoming more Conservative?” to a more traditional Canadian election question like: “Is Stephen Harper too ideologically motivated and out of touch with Canadian values to be trusted with a majority government?” On this question the government will fail every time.

The same creative team behind this video by Hooded Fang was the same gang behind this summer’s Fringe hit musical East of Broadway. Nice year guys.

Michael Ignatieff’s announcement two days ago that the Liberal Party would no longer prop up the Conservative Government points to a new campaign soon. Department of Culture is not affiliated with any political party, but clearly this will mark the beginning if a new chapter in arts activism in Canada.

Some of the key questions facing us are:

  • What role will we play this time?
  • How can we involve everyone who wants to participate?
  • Where will our resources come from?
  • Should we have another Town Hall to kick things off?
  • How do you play an effective part in an election if you don’t endorse any political parties? 
  • What is different this election?
  • What is the same?

What do you think? I hope Department of Culture will be revived not just because we support the arts, but because culture is an integral part of a healthy society along with a compassionate social safety net, environmental reform, support for the rights of all Canadians, and many other things our current government opposes. Culture does not occur in a vacuum. 

Whatever your thoughts, stay tuned to for more information. It’s sure to be back up and running shortly. No, you are not experiencing deja vu. Yes, it does seem like this is exactly half over.

Harper’s Ordinary Artists by Rob Baker, Alastair Forbes, and Alex Hatz gets my vote for funniest video of the 2008 campaign.

August 19, 2009, by

Generous Simon and Roanna 2

I caught Simon Lee Philips and Roanna Cochrane having a celebratory snog at the opening night premiere of Michael Healey’s Generous outside the Finborough Theatre in London (UK not ON).

Simon has a lot to celebrate – having just been cast in Trevor Nunn’s production of Inherit the Wind. Looks like he’s made the move from small fringe theatre to the West End. Simon’s star meter is definitely on the rise.

August 17, 2009, by
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Now Audience Award:  Greenland

SummerWorks Prize for Outstanding Production: Greenland

Contra Guys Award for Outstanding New Play: Say Nothing Saw Wood

Crow’s Theatre Award for Direction: Alan Dilworth (The Middle Place)

RBC Arts Professional Award: Impromptu Splendour

The Spotlight Award: The Art of Catching Pigeons by Torchlight and Andrea Donaldson (Montparnasse)

The Steamwhistle Emerging Artist Award: Akosua Amo-Adem (The Middle Place)

July 31, 2009, by


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