Civil Liberties, Activism and Surveillance Panel

On Thursday October 3, we are excited to announce we will be hosting a post-show discussion panel after the 8pm performance of You Should Have Stayed Home. This talkback about Civil Liberties, Activism and Surveillance will feature:

>BC Civil Liberties Association’s Michael Vonn

>Lawyer Greg McMullen

>Activist Harsha Walia

>Performer Tommy Taylor

The panel will be hosted by former Neworld Theatre Founding Artistic Producer Camyar Chai.

This event is free with you ticket purchase for that evening. BUY TICKETS NOW.

Praxis Theatre have partnered with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for this show’s national tour. Check out this video to see why they believe this is an important story to tell.

CCLA video

Micheal-Vonn-bioAbout the Panelists

Micheal Vonn is a lawyer and has been the Policy Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association since 2004.  She has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in the Faculty of Law and in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies where she has taught civil liberties and information ethics. She is a regular guest instructor for UBC’s College of Health Disciplines Interdisciplinary Elective in HIV/AIDS Care and was honoured as a recipient of the 2010 AccolAIDS award for social and political advocacy benefitting communities affected by HIV/AIDS.  Ms. Vonn is a frequent speaker on a variety of civil liberties topics including privacy, national security, policing, surveillance and free speech.  She is an Advisory Board Member of Privacy International. bccla.org


Harsha Walia is a South Asian activist, writer, and researcher based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. She has been active in grassroots social movements for over a decade, including with No One Is Illegal, Women’s Memorial March Committee for Missing and Murdered Women, Radical Desis and more. She was one of the many leading upto both the Anti-Olympics Convergence and the G20 Protests in 2010, facing arrests and trumped charges at both. Harsha has been named one of the most influential South Asians in BC by the Vancouver Sun and Naomi Klein has called Harsha “one of Canada’s most brilliant and effective political organizers.” Her first book Undoing Border Imperialism is forthcoming in November 2013 by AK Press. Find her @HarshaWalia.


tommy finalTommy Taylor is a theatre artist, activist and NGO fundraiser living in Toronto. Recently Tommy was assistant director / video designer on Keystone Theatre’s Dora award-winning silent film meets stage project, The Belle of Winnipeg, adaptor/director of Dear Everybody at the CanStage 2009 Festival of Ideas and Creation and winner of the 2010 InspiraTO 10-minute playwriting competition for Sandwich. He was the director of Vancouver based playwright Jordan Hall’s award-winning Kayak at its North American premiere in the 2010 SummerWorks Festival (CBC and NOW critics pick). 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, one of the top shows at the 2011 SummerWorks Festival, produced by The Original Norwegian and Praxis Theatre. The show is on a cross-Canada tour for Fall 2013, playing in Whitehorse, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

Greg mcmullenGreg McMullen is a litigation associate with Branch MacMaster. He focuses on class action work concerning privacy and access to information. Greg is the Legislative Liaison for the Class Actions Subsection of the CBA BC Branch. He is also on the Board of Directors of the BC Civil Liberties Association, and authored the BCCLA’s Electronic Devices Privacy Handbook.



PANEL HOST – Camyar Chai camyar-chai

Camyar Chai has worked in theatre and film for over twenty years. He is the founder of Vancouver’s acclaimed NeWorld Theatre. He has worked as a freelance actor, director, and writer as well as engaging in Arts Education. In addition to writing plays, Camyar has also written librettos for opera. An award winning theatre maker, he received his Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of British Columbia.

Join Tommy In Jail!

This September, the Firehall is bringing innovative Toronto company Praxis Theatre to Vancouver with their true story about the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, You Should Have Stayed Home: A G20 Romp!

Like any good protest, this moving account of writer Tommy Taylor’s experience getting arrested at G20 depends heavily on involvement of the local community to have an impact.

We are seeking participants to help to recreate the cramped conditions in which Tommy was imprisoned in a tiny holding cage with 40 other prisoners. Each performance 20-30 people will join him briefly on stage for a 10 minute scene at the detention centre.

This is an essential and powerful portion of the play and requires the participation of concerned citizens of the Vancouver community to be fully realized. This is a volunteer opportunity but free tickets will be given out by way of thank you.

On opening night (Sep 25), we are aiming to get 40 well-known Vancouverites – artists, writers, politicians to join Tommy on stage.


Actors and non-actors welcome! If you would like to join the show, or just learn more about the opportunity, email: participate@praxistheatre.com

Read more about You Should Have Stayed Home

“The rich people have their lobbyists and the poor people have their feet.”

– Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel of Canadian Civil Liberties Association speaking at a post-show panel at after You Should Have Stayed Home at the 2011 SummerWorks Festival.

you should have stayed youtube2

Radius Mural – a ‘Year of Reconciliation’ project




Over the last few months a crew of artists have been working away to transform the Firehall’s courtyard and bring it to life with a stunning mural on the back wall. This towering piece of art is part of the City of Vancouver’s ‘Year of Reconciliation’ project and is based on the cultural links and connectivity of three distinct cultures that all converge in Vancouver’s historic heart: Aboriginal, Chinese and Japanese. The convergence of these groups is portrayed in a woven design with symbols, narratives and text from each culture. The mural was conceived with input from each of the three communities.

The mural artists are Jerry Whitehead, June Yun, Eri Ishii and Gerald Pedros, with mentored artists Marissa Nahanee, Christine Cheng and Mayuka Hisata (pictured to the right).


Coordinators for the mural were Richard Tetrault and Esther Rausenberg (Creative Cultural Collaborations Society). This project was generously supported with funds from the City of Vancouver.

This coming Saturday afternoon we will be hosting a special public event in the courtyard to launch the mural. We hope you can join us to see the full mural in its glory and find out more about what went into its collaborative creation!




Join us!
Saturday September 28, 2-4pm.
Firehall Arts Centre Courtyard.
FREE to the public




You can read more about the network of Eastside murals here: www.vancouvermurals.ca

The Fringe is here!


This week, an explosion of performance artists from around the world will take over the Firehall and other downtown theatre venues for Vancouver’s biggest theatre festival. It’s Fringe time! There are six Fringe shows on at the Firehall from September 5 to 15 – read more about them here.

The Fringe is always a wonderfully serendipitous theatre-going experience, as all artists are selected by lottery and often you won’t have the slightest idea who many of them are (all part of the fun!). This does make it somewhat baffling negotiating the program guide and choosing what to see from the theatrical smorgasbord of 90 different shows on offer.

To help you get into intrepid Fringing mode, we asked some artists who will be performing in our season and are well versed in the ways of the Fringe what their top tips are for getting the most out of the festival and what shows they are looking forward to.

AssassinatingThomson_enewsBruce Horak, who you may recall from his brilliant show This is CANCER!, a few years back, has been selling out shows across the Canadian Fringe circuit this summer with Assassinating Thomson and will be performing the show here in October.

Top Fringing tip:

Get out and see shows! Chat with people in line and make personal connections with potential audiences. Word of mouth is essential and having a personal connection goes a long way to drawing people in to your show.

What shows am I looking forward to most at this year’s Fringe:

Tara Travis’ show “Searching for Dick”

Ryan Gladstone and Jon Paterson in “Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub”

Zeb West in “Innocent When You Dream”


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Fringe legend and master monologist TJ Dawe has toured Fringe festivals across North America for many years and is returning to the Firehall this season with his hit show Medicine.

Top Fringing tip:

Talk to people in whatever line-up you’re standing in. Let the word of mouth spread. When performers come to flyer you for their show, ask them questions. See how interesting or funny their responses are. If they catch your interest, give ’em a chance. See their show. Being surprised by someone whose work you don’t know is a great pleasure.

What show am I looking forward to most at this year’s Fringe:

Wolf Trek: Alone in the Woods, written and performed by Kevin Kennedy. How do I know this show’s going to be good? Because I dramaturged it. Kevin’s got a fascinating story to tell, about a three week solo hike he did in the NWT. He’s also a relative newcomer to the fringe circuit, so his work will be a surprise to a lot of people. Which, as I mentioned, is a particularly enjoyable part of fringing.


The Vancouver International Fringe Festival runs September 5-15. Check out vancouverfringe.com for full details on shows. You can also see the lineup of fantastic shows gracing the Firehall stage here.