About Cracked

Meet the Team

Team Bios

Research Team

Pia_Kontos B&W photoPia Kontos, Ph.D.

Pia is a Senior Scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network and Associate Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Central to her program of research is the transformation of the culture of dementia care so it is more humanistic and quality enhancing for individuals living with dementia, their families, and health care practitioners. She draws significantly on the arts for their emotive and expressive nature, specifically music, dance, and improvisational drama to enrich the lives of individuals living with dementia. Research-based drama and film are also drawn upon as novel approaches to affecting both personal and social change.

Sherry_L_Dupuis B&W photoSherry L. Dupuis, Ph.D.

Sherry is a Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies and the Co-Director of the Partnerships in Dementia Care Alliance at the University of Waterloo. Informed by over 30 years of professional and research experience working with persons with dementia and their care partners, Sherry’s research program uses participatory and arts-based research approaches as a means of promoting culture change in dementia care. She works to ensure the voices of persons with dementia and their care partners are actively included in research, education, and practice. Sherry is also interested in the possibilities of arts-based research for exposing and disrupting taken-for-granted assumptions and practices, generating alternative understandings, and ultimately promoting personal and social transformation.

Gail_J_Mitchell B&W photoGail J. Mitchell, Ph.D.

Gail is a Professor of Nursing at York University. Her research interests include arts-based methodologies for creating and translating knowledge. She has worked with persons and families living with memory loss for more than 30 years. She believes society can help diminish the suffering of those living with dementia by changing the attitudes, images, and understandings of what it is like to live with dementia. She is also innovating and investigating technologies for e-learning, education, and networking.

Christine_Jonas-Simpson B&W photoChristine Jonas-Simpson, Ph.D.

Christine is an Associate Professor of Nursing at York University and the Director of Philosophy and Academics at the Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy for persons living with dementia. She has conducted arts-based research since 1997 through music, drama, paintings, and documentary film. Her program of research focuses on how humans live, transform, and grow with loss and grief in their lives. Christine has partnered in care and research with persons and families living with dementia for 30 years. She is thrilled to be part of the movement that is shifting the discourse and culture of dementia care from tragedy and isolation to possibility and relationships through the use of narrative and arts-based methods.

Playwright and Director

Julia_Gray B&W photoJulia Gray, Ph.D.

Julia is a Toronto-based theatre director, playwright, and choreographer with a particular interest in creating new, collaboratively-developed theatre in applied settings. She has collaborated with health researchers on several plays based on health research, including After the Crash: a play about brain injury and Seeing the Forest about patient safety, co-written with Dr. Gail Mitchell. She has also worked with Canadian Stage Company, Mirvish Productions, Tarragon Theatre, Young People’s Theatre, The Charlottetown Festival as well as many independent theatre companies. Julia is a post-doctoral fellow at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Composer & Music Director

Tim_Machin B&W photo

Tim Machin

Tim is an actor/musician/writer. He has worked in the UK, Europe and Canada. Highlights from the UK and Europe include weekly rep in Frinton and Sheringham, a UK tour with the Reduced Shakespeare Company, and European tours with TNT Theatre. In Canada he has worked at Chemainus Festival Theatre and Caravan Farm Theatre in BC, Catalyst Theatre in Alberta and on tour across Canada. In Ontario he spent three seasons with Driftwood Theatre and bits and pieces elsewhere including work for Theatre Direct. With his band, Sing Along Tim and the Pacifiers he has played at various folk festivals and fairs across Ontario including the Mariposa Folk Festival and the Montreal Folk Festival.


Susan_Applewhaite B&W photo

Susan Applewhaite

Susan is an actor, musician, and theatre creator. Favourite theatre credits include: Amadeus, Trip to Bountiful, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Steeletown, Downtown. Susan is thrilled to be working with Julia and this talented group on this new piece about dementia, which is so challenging and so important.

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Lori Nancy Kalamanski

Lori Nancy is grateful to have been part of the Cracked family since its inception back in 2012. It has been a powerful and touching experience that has not only enlightened her relationships with people living with memory loss but has also enriched her connections with family and friends. She is humbled to use her skills as an actor, musician and theatre creator to explore this important topic with audiences. Lori Nancy works internationally on stage, in voice-over, film and television. Highlights include a European Tour with bluemouth inc’s Dance Marathon, TV’s: Killjoys, The Imposters, and being a member of the award-winning, folk-rock band Sing Along Tim & The Pacifiers with fellow cast member Tim Machin.

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Mary Ellen MacLean

Mary Ellen works across the country performing, directing, and teaching theatre. She studied with master teacher Tony Montanaro at the renowned Celebration Barn Theatre in Maine, USA. She was a founding member of the Halifax physical theatre ensemble, Jest in Time, with whom she toured worldwide with for 20 years, as well as starring in three national CBC television specials with the company. Her one-woman play, Frankie, toured across Canada and aired on Bravo TV. Some TV/film credits include: Hatching, Matching and Dispatching, Wilby Wonderful, Wound-Up, Made in Canada, Liocracy, and Shattered City. Nova Scotia Merritt Theatre Awards: Twenty Years of Theatre Excellence (Jest in Time); Best Production (Trip-Jest); nominations for Best New Play (Frankie), and Best Actress (Trip, Frankie). She recently performed in Emily’s Piano at YPT and in Castor and Sylvia at Summerworks 2015 and is developing a new play entitled Lower and Slower Please: the ins and outs of hearing loss.

Tim_Machin B&W photo

Tim Machin

For Tim Machin’s bio, please see Composer & Music Director

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Claire Frances Muir

Claire is an actress. writer, producer and puppet builder. Most recent acting credits include, Hogtown (Hogtown Collective), The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Christmas Carol (Humber River Shakespeare) and August in the Underworld (Marchlight Films). She lives on Gabriola Island with her husband.

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Andy Pogson

Andy is happy to be joining this exciting group and important conversation. Latest credits: The Cherry Orchard (Chekhov Collective), A Christmas Carol (Theatre Northwest), Kimberly Akimbo (Lost and Found Theatre), Almost, Maine (Harleydog Productions), and a variety of characters on TV and in film.

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Alan K. Sapp

Alan has lived and worked in Kitchener since moving to Canada with his family in 1992. He received his training, education, and did his early theatre work in the States. Alan was a member of the ensemble of Theatre & Company and a founding member of Lost & Found Theatre, both in Kitchener, where he performed, directed, and ran a training program for students. He just finished directing The Wizard of Oz at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, where he teaches grade 10/11 drama. In 2009, Alan joined the team that created The Last Fifteen Seconds presented by MT Space. He originated the role of Moustapha Akkad, the filmmaker/producer killed in a suicide bombing in 2004. Alan has worked with Odyssey Theatre in Ottawa. Some favourite roles: Donald Jackson in Three in the Back, Two in the Head, Henry II in The Lion in Winter, Vanya in Uncle Vanya, Pozzo in Waiting for Godot, Caliban in The Tempest and Godfrey in Queen Milli of Galt, a role he originated. Alan is excited to be part of the Cracked team!


Mark_Prince B&W photoMark Prince

Mark trained as a member of the Acting Company and Young Company at the Stratford Festival of Canada. He performed with Munich-based TNT Theatre Britain, producing English theatre in countries spanning four continents. He is a founding member of Ruckus Ensemble, a theatre company dedicated to producing After the Crash: a play about the experiences of traumatic brain injury. Mark was instrumental in developing the character of Clay for Cracked.

David_Talbot B&W photoDavid Talbot

David has worked in theatres across the country and on numerous film and television projects. David was one of the original Cracked actors and helped develop the characters of Harold and Jim.

Stage Crew

Lindsay_Anne_Black B&W photoLindsay Anne Black – Set and Costume Design

Lindsay Anne has designed sets and costumes for theatre and dance of all sizes, from independent to commercial, both scripted and devised. She has regularly led workshops in high schools as well as at Canadian Stage, Tarragon Theatre, and the Sears Drama Festival. Two of her costumes have been on display at the Design Exchange, and she was the recipient of the 2007 Pauline McGibbon Award, as well as five Dora Award nominations, though never a bride.

Elizabeth_McDermott B&W photoElizabeth McDermott – Stage Manager

Based out of Toronto, stage management is a career change for Elizabeth after many years with the City of Toronto. Theatre credits include: A City, Divisadero (Necessary Angel); Comfort (Red Snow Collective); Shakespeare in Love, The Hypochondriac, The Sound of Music, The Taming of the Shrew, Love’s Labour’s Lost, As You Like It, King of Thieves (Stratford Festival); Bella: The Colour of Love (HGJTC); Anne of Green Gables The Musical, Canada Rocks! (Charlottetown Festival); Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well (St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival); The Road to Paradise, Night (Human Cargo); The Barber of Seville (Soulpepper); Night of the Living Dead Live (Nictophobia); Falling: A Wake (Blythe Festival); Old Man and The River, Red Kite Project, Binti’s Journey, Head à Tête (Theatre Direct); Danny, King of the Basement (Roseneath Theatre); Yellowman (Nightwood Theatre/Obsidian Theatre); Late, Black Medea (Obsidian Theatre); Foto (The Orange Company).

Aynsley_Moorhouse B&W photoAynsley Moorhouse, MFA, MSW – Assistant Director / Dramaturge

Aynsley is a Toronto-based artist and a social worker at the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. Aynsley specializes in dementia and the arts, and her particular interest lies in how creative engagement can lead to personal growth, meaningful interactions, and social change. Aynsley has presented her work in university classrooms, hospitals, academic conferences, arts festivals and on CBC Radio, challenging assumptions about aging and dementia.

Ksenia Ivanova – Scenic Artist

Alyksandra Ackerman – Wardrobe Assistant