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Feb 15, 2019

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What does it mean to be live? Can a hologram be considered performance? Is going to the theatre a private or communal act? And should performing artists embrace and incorporate technological change—or should they resist, and build an oasis from social media and screen time? What on earth is going on with live performance in the digital age?

Listen to the first-ever recording of the podcast with a live audience! The panel, moderated by Ben, features Colleen Renihan, Craig Walker and Michael Wheeler of the Dan School of Drama and Music.

About the Panel

Colleen Renihan

Colleen Renihan was delighted to join the Dan School of Drama and Music faculty as a Queen's National Scholar in 2016. She earned a B. Mus. in Vocal Performance from the University of Manitoba, an Artist Diploma in Opera Performance from the Vancouver Academy of Music, and an MA and PhD in Musicology at the University of Toronto in 2011 with generous funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her dissertation Sounding the Past was a finalist for the Society for American Music’s Housewright Dissertation Award.

Dr. Renihan’s research considers aspects of opera and operatic culture from a postmodern perspective. Inherently interdisciplinary in nature, it explores cultural politics, popular culture, performance theory, temporality, memory theory, opera’s interactions with media (specifically film), and opera’s potential for intervention in current debates in the philosophy of history. Her work has been published in a variety of edited collections and journals, including, most recently, twentieth century music, The Journal of the Society for American Music, and Music, Sound, and the Moving Image. Forthcoming publications include an invited chapter on Benjamin Britten’s coronation opera Gloriana to an edited collection for Boydell & Brewer, and a chapter on affective listening in Harry Somers’s Louis Riel for Wilfrid Laurier Press. Two current book projects explore the historiographical dimensions of American postwar opera, and innovation in Canadian opera and music theatre 1970-2010.

Dr. Renihan has presented her research at academic conferences in Canada, the United States, and Europe, including chapter and national meetings of the American Musicological Society, and in 2010, she participated in the Society for Music Theory’s graduate student workshop on ‘Music and Narrative’ with Michael Klein. She was a founding member of Operatics (a working group for the interdisciplinary study of opera) at the University of Toronto, a founding member of IPMC (Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Music in Canada), and has been involved with several research and writing projects at the Canadian Music Centre.

Learn more about Colleen.

Craig Walker is Director of the Dan School of Drama and Music and Professor of Drama, and is also cross-appointed to the Departments of English and Cultural Studies. Dr. Walker earned his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, where he had taken his earlier degrees in English. He has taught courses in most subjects in Queen's Drama at one time or another.

As a director, for the Queen’s Drama, Dr. Walker has directed the world premiere of Orbit, a play about the daughters of Galileo by Jennifer Wise (2014), a double-bill of Michel Tremblay’s Counter Service and Nina Shengold’s Lives of the Great Waitresses (2012), Thornton Wilder’s Our Town (2010), his own adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Drums In the Night (2008), John Lazarus’ Meltdown (2005), Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles Soeurs (2003), Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth (2000), his own translation of Odon von Horvath’s Judgement Day (1999), Richard Rose and D.D. Kugler’s adaptation of Timothy Findley’s Not Wanted on the Voyage (1997), the medieval morality play Everyman (1996) and Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine (1993). From 1997 to 2007, Dr. Walker was Artistic Director of Theatre Kingston, during which time the company produced 54 plays, 36 of which were Canadian, including 18 world premieres.

On the academic side (see profile on, Dr. Walker's most recent publication is "Canadian Drama and the Nationalist Impulse" in The Oxford Handbook to Canadian Literature. He is the author of The Buried Astrolabe: Canadian Dramatic Imagination and Western Tradition and co-editor (with Jennifer Wise of the University of Victoria) of The Broadview Anthology of Drama: Plays from the Western Theatre, Volumes I and II and The Broadview Anthology of Drama, Concise Edition. He was Book Review Editor for Modern Drama for two years, from 1998 to 2000. In 2009, he was appointed as a Corresponding Scholar at the Shaw Festival. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Learn more about Craig.

Michael Wheeler is Artistic Director of SpiderWebShow Performance, an online performance company working at a national scale. His previous position was as Executive Director of Generator, a mentoring, teaching, and innovation incubator that empowers independent artists, producers and leaders in Toronto. He has co-curated The Freefall Festival with The Theatre Centre and HATCH emerging artist projects with Harbourfront Centre. In 2017, he will co-curate the first Festival of Live Digital Art (foldA) at The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

As Founding Artistic Director of Praxis Theatre and a theatre director, he has produced and created numerous independent works including Rifles (2 Dora nominations), the World Premiere of Jesus Chrysler by Tara Beagan presented in association with Theatre Passe Muraille, a National Tour of the SummerWorks Award-winning G20 drama You Should Have Stayed Home, and Jesse Brown’s Canadaland World Tour of Canada.

Much of Michael’s work has intertwined with online tools, as editor and publisher of websites like (Winner Best Blog Post & Best Arts and Culture Blog: Canadian Blog Awards),,, and most recently He holds a BA (distinction) from McGill University and a Masters of Fine Arts from The American Repertory/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.

Learn more about Michael.