In 1992 in Washington DC, Michael co-founded Hope Is Vital, an arts & public health initiative. Over the following  eight years, Hope is Vital stood up theatre-based public engagement/HIV prevention programs in over 80 communities around the US. Michael wrote the book Theatre for Community, Conflict and Dialogue (Heinemann Press, 1998) based on that work.

In 1999, Michael co-founded Sojourn Theatre and served as artistic director for 20 years, co-creating, writing & directing nearly 30 devised, often site-specific and participatory theatre works. These include Cities on a Hill, 7 Great Loves, Witness Our Schools, GOOD, One Day, BUILT, The Race and How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes.

In 2012, he co-founded  the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, now a collective of nine artist/facilitators who work with organizations and agencies around the  country on community research, transformational process and system change.

He has been a consistent speaker, workshop leader and presenter at universities, conferences, theatres, local government agencies and community sites for over thirty years.

His theatre and installation work has been commissioned by/produced at sites which include: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (DC), Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Alliance Theater (Atlanta),La Mama, Etc (NYC), Boise Contemporary Theatre, Haus of World Kultur (Berlin), ASU Gammage, Flint Youth Theatre (Michigan), The House Theater (Chicago), The Pacific Edge Festival (Australia), Ping Chong & Company, TBA Festival (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art), Cleveland Public Theater, ASU Art Museum, Goodman Theater, Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans).

He has held faculty/leadership positions at Northwestern University and Arizona State University, and is now based at University of Montana, where he founded the Co-Lab for Civic  Imagination in 2022.

He is Civic Collaborations Director for One Nation One Project, a national arts & health initiative in partnership with National League of Cities and 18 sites/cities around the US.

He is co-designer/ co-facilitator (alongside Jun-Li Wang) for Art-Train, an ongoing virtual national  technical assistance program he created in partnership with Springboard for the Arts.

He is co-designer/co-lead (alongside Willa Taylor and through Morten Group) of American Library Association’s Civic Imagination Station Initiative.

He has led or engaged in collaborations with, among others- ArtPlace America, Catholic Charities USA, Goodman Theater, Lookingglass Theatre, Georgetown University, Steppenwolf Theatre, Cook Inlet Housing Authority (AK), National League of Cities, Children’s National Medical Center (DC), Nashville’s Metro Arts, Chicago Parks & Recreation, Douglas County Health Department (NE), The State of Kansas Department of Commerce, Ensemble Studio Theater (NY), National Endowment of the Arts, The City of Portland, OR, Nike, New River Valley Planning Commission (VA),  The Old Globe Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Americans for the Arts, Oregon Department of Education, Planned Parenthood New Orleans, Chicago Public Schools, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.