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

Tag: Michael Wheeler

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 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!

August 19, 2013, by

by Michael Wheeler,


Andrew Coyne is questioned about the role of expertise in the cultural sector. Photo: Dahlia Katz

As moderator of the ‘An End To Arts Funding?‘ debate at SummerWorks, it seems unethical for me to engage in any sort of critique of the arguments presented Wednesday.

I hope to moderate more debates in the future, and I can’t have debaters wary that although I am quite pleasant in person, I’m storing their arguments for digital deconstruction post-event.

However, there have been a number of responses from people who were in attendance and have posted their thoughts online:

And of course, before the debate Nadia Ross published this ‘opening statement’ here on Praxis:


Photo: Dahlia Katz

Tangentially, a conversation came up at the debate connected to an ongoing discussion in this space: performance and memory.

Mr. Coyne conceded there was probably some role for the state to play in archiving and preserving great works, noting that mark of a great writer is their words survive themselves and their era.

As theatre artists, we can’t aspire for our work to be preserved in the same way. You were either there, or you weren’t, and you missed it. Gone forever. We can archive notes, programs, props – even scripts – but the work itself cannot be preserved (as Holger Syme also notes in his post to makes a different point) in a way that it can be reproduced  .

This is neither here nor there with regards to the substance of the debate, but it reminds me that part of what makes live performance distinct is it is ephemeral and I am cool with that.

August 14, 2013, by

by Michael Wheeler

Civil Debates image 1This week SummerWorks Artistic Director Michael Rubenfeld asked me to moderate today’s debate on the question: An End to Arts Funding? Of course I agreed.

It looks to be an exciting discussion, and I look forward to facilitating a fair and rigorous debate on the future of public investment in the arts.


PRO:  Andrew Coyne

CON:  Nadia Ross                                                                                                          

Moderator:  Michael Wheeler                                                                                               

Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne



Bios and Format introduced by Moderator


Opening statements   7 minutes


Asks any clarifying questions  3 minutes


Opening statements    7 minutes


Asks any clarifying questions  3 minutes


Responds to CON arguments and/or connects to their own  7 minutes

Nadia Ross

Nadia Ross


Responds to PRO arguments and/or connects to their own  7 minutes           


Closing Statement  5 minutes                                                                                  

Closing Statement   5 minutes                                                                             

5 x Questions From Audience:

2 minutes max per question, 3 minutes max to respond.  20-ish minutes

SummerWorks 2013 Debate. Lower Ossington Theatre, August 14, 2013 @ 5pm

July 10, 2013, by

Interview by Ryan Quinn

Aislinn-MikeR: I’m here with Michael Wheeler and Aislinn Rose ofPraxis Theatre who are co-curating the HATCH program at the Harbourfront Center in 2014. Can you tell me a bit about the HATCH program?

A: The HATCH program is through the Harbourfront Center. We took part in it in 2010, and it was a really transformative period for Praxis theatre because it was really our first foray into integrating our online activities with our artmaking activities. That’s why we’re looking at projects for this year’s submissions that are going to be working on some of the same things: incorporating social media into either the communication about the project, integration into the actual creation of the project, or use of social media in the performance of the work. So, essentially what the program is, is an opportunity for a company, or a collective, or an artist to work on a particular aspect of a project that requires a space to experiment in. You get a week’s residency in the Harbourfront’s studio theatre. You really do have the use of that space for the whole week to work on something you couldn’t do in a rehearsal room, or someone’s back yard, or your own apartment. So, for our project, we worked on a piece called Section 98.

M: That was very concise. The only thing I would add to that as to core elements of the residency is that your one week of residency at the Harbourfront studio theatre has to end with some sort of public presentation. However, I think we’re adamant that it’s not about presenting a final work. Hopefully, people are experimenting throughout the week, then that presentation is more a revelation of what that week’s experiment was rather than “here’s our play”. A couple other things that come along with the residency are, firstly, a lot of support from the Harbourfront center that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you were producing your own show, you get marketing support, mentorship, publicity. So, a lot of things that if you were producing yourself, you’d have to come up with the cash for.

Click here to read the rest of the interview on

Click here to read the rest of the interview on

April 15, 2013, by


Justin Trudeau’s leadership acceptance speech this weekend.

by Michael Wheeler

Members of two the largest national opposition parties came together to make major decisions over the weekend.

In Montreal, the Official Opposition New Democrats continued to move towards the political centre at their policy convention, moderating the pursuit of “socialism” in the party’s constitution. In Ottawa, the third place centrist Liberals, running first in some polls, elected a leader with immediate celebrity status and political pedigree in Justin Trudeau.

Members of both parties are now returning to their homes across the country, fired up by the energy of working, campaigning and partying with likeminded organizers and activists.

For New Democrats, who have been working to solidify the gains of the past election as a credible Government in Waiting, they head home believing they are better placed than ever before to form the first ever Social Democrat-led Canadian government.

For Liberals, there will be a sense that their time in the wilderness is coming to an end: Suitably shamed for the Sponsorship Scandal, many feel powered by Trudeau-mania 2.0 they will soon reclaim government as the ‘Natural Governing Party of Canada’.

My belief is they are both wrong. Here’s why:

Energy. Young, innovative, passionate, creative, energy.

Where is it in our politics? More than anywhere else, it is in the protest movements within these parties working to make them less-partisan, more cooperation-driven entities.

Nathan Cullen went from NDP Leadership outside long-shot to extremely capable Official Opposition House Leader based largely on the energy of those that advocated cooperating with other parties to defeat Harper and reform Parliament. By the end of the leadership campaign, Cullen had signed up more new NDP members and received more votes from the floor than any other candidate, including eventual winner Thomas Mulcair.

The only candidate with enough resources to mount a sustained and legitimate campaign against the Liberal Establishment JT Juggernaut was Joyce Murray. With support from environmental groups and LeadNow, and powered by much of the same grassroots activist energy that fed the Cullen campaign, Murray also proposed cooperation with the opposition to defeat Harper and reform Parliament.

Thomas Mulcair's speech at the NDP Policy Convention this weekend.

Thomas Mulcair’s speech at the NDP Policy Convention this weekend.

These events having come to pass, and non-cooperative leaders having taken the reigns of these political machines, conventional wisdom is that these issues have been dealt with now. Each political party has a right to believe in its own manifest destiny and each has chosen to exercise that right.

Notwithstanding the Keystone pipeline, Senate reform and foreign investment, the policies and positions Trudeau and Mulcair represent will be hugely overlapping. These leaders will not ask their members, staff and volunteers to exclusively put their energy and hopes into defeating the Conservative Government. They will be putting significant energy into fighting tooth-and nail-ground wars between NDP and Liberal candidates with never-before-this-similar platforms.

The paradox of this use of political energies is vividly apparent in my riding of Parkdale-High Park in Toronto. How many activist hours, paid and volunteer on both sides of the fence, have already cumulatively been used determining whether Peggy Nash or Gerard Kennedy will represent the riding? Zero sum math about this question is not all that useful in any case, as it can’t account for how many more citizens would be inspired to participate in more meaningful, less alienating, electoral proposition.

Meanwhile, with each election, the size of Stephen Harper’s Government grows.

There is more than enough committed, creative, energy in this country to transform it politically. It is bursting at the seams in fact – looking for a chance to be a part of a seismic change that will sweep Canada when we find our collective will to elect a government that makes laws informed by rational evidence and human decency.

As long as this energy remains split between Liberals and New Democrats (and Greens, but they’re not the problem here), and as long as this energy remains focused on each other instead of Harper, we are likely to have Conservative Canadian Governments.

This is a problem of our own creation and it is within our power to solve.

The attack ads on Justin Trudeau are done.

I imagine they practically wrote themselves.

Ohh yes. They’re brutal. They’re going to ruin him.

Yeah, I’m worried about that too. We need him. If the ads are too successful and he gets into trouble, we’ll have to pull them.

*From Proud by Michael Healey, who has already expressed his reservations about political cooperation in this space.

If we must share power to end a terrible government in a time of great need – can we not set aside our own personal baggage and do what needs to be done here? How long will the clear democratic will of the country that consistently votes 60% + for centre-left parties be thwarted by the drive of these two competing parallel political brands to replace one another?

There are significant obstacles to overcome here, not the least of which are decades of mistrust, hubris, power and core values. It is a real test for both parties, which asks them to be committed to Canada first, and their own interests second. It is a proposition that could not be asked of a private citizen or corporation, but it is entirely appropriate to ask of a political party:

Do the right thing. Not because it will help you. Not because it will create vindication for anyone. Not because you and your party will always be remembered. Do it because it is your job as political parties to harness, encourage and express the political energy of the country. This energy has expressed itself clearly in multiple forms and political contexts.

Set aside incremental differences and both use both hands to throw the bums out.

It’s that simple. It can be done. After all, political parties are made up of people, run by people, and an unprecedented act of cooperation and political transformation is the energy inspiring people in Canada today.