A promotional design for Mixed Company Theatre's presentation "I Carry with Me".

Play Description

A trip to a coffee shop quickly turns Faiza’s day into one of fear, humiliation and abandonment. No doubt her race, faith and traditional dress played a factor. Nurse Mailynn has trouble finding support from her supervisor and co-workers after a patient refuses to be treated by her because of her race. Masego feels dismissed after sharing a frightening incident both she and her son experienced. How are things going to change for people who are racialized when her own partner and the police keep making excuses? 

I Carry with Me, written by Heather Cherron von Atzigen, is a play that looks at the differences and commonalities in what we carry as human beings from different racial and cultural backgrounds. What we carry can hurt, show similarities, educate, be shared, and enlighten.  

This play is designed to catalyze audiences to want to stand up, make changes in these stories, and discover actions they can take to foster inclusive and supportive spaces for people of all cultural backgrounds. 

Content Note: This presentation depicts situations of racial tension and harassment.

Forum Theatre

I Carry with Me is a Forum Theatre play, meaning the first act of the play shows a “worst-case scenario” drawn from consultations with community members. After the play has run through once, you will be invited by a facilitator to intervene in the action. You can replace characters, suggest changes and try out your own strategies to result in a positive alternative ending. 

This play is a unique Forum Theatre experience that will incorporate movement into the story-telling, offering multiple ways to understand the challenges and emotions of these women and communities at large who are impacted by racism. 

Freedom Off Our Backs”

“Freedom Off Our Backs” is an original song written and performed by playwright Heather Cherron von Atzigen to complement I Carry with Me.

Performance Details

MCT originally performed I Carry with Me over Zoom for audiences on June 9, 10, 14, and 16 at 7:30 PM (EST), and June 10 and 15 at 2:00 PM (EST), 2023. It was performed as a “Pay What You Can” event.


Heather Cherron Von Atzigen standing in front of a brown background.

Heather Cherron Von Atzigen

Heather Cherron Von Atzigen is an accomplished artist with a diverse background in theatre. Approximately 27 years ago, Heather was introduced to Theatre of the Oppressed by Mixed Company Theatre, where she has been an associate artist now for many years, developing her acting, joking, and writing skills. She was part of the cast of “DISS”, which was nominated as an ensemble for a Dora Mavor Moore Award. This season, she wrote, created a song, directed and co-facilitated “PUSH” a virtual Forum Theatre piece about the culture of sexual assault on post-secondary campuses. She also performed as Marissa in MCT’s tour of “Two-Sided Mirror” in the Fall of 2022. 

Simon Malbogat smiling in front of a beige background.

Simon Malbogat

Director | Performance Facilitator

Simon Malbogat co-founded Mixed Company Theatre in 1983 and has been the Artistic Director since 1989. In 1992 Mixed Company Theatre became a CTO (Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed). Simon has over thirty years’ experience as a director, dramaturg, teacher, actor, and workshop facilitator. Teaching highlights include University of Toronto, Concordia University, York University, Humber College, Brock University and Queen’s University. Simon has facilitated hundreds of workshops for youths and adults in Europe, South America, USA, and Canada and has facilitated over 1,000 Forum Theatre presentations. Simon has led workshops in Turkey, Brazil, Finland, and the Ukraine. In Toronto, Simon has been involved in developing the arts in the community with programs for families, women, seniors, youth, homeless adults & youth and persons with disabilities. 

Julia Hune-Brown standing in front of a brick background.

Julia Hune-Brown

Workshop Facilitator | Choreographer

Julia Hune-Brown is a community-engaged theatre artist, educator and audio doc maker. She has worked with diverse communities directing and facilitating theatre projects across Canada. Julia has worked with MCT as an Actor and Joker for “Mixed Messages”, a Choreographer and Movement Coach for “Spring Moon”, and Facilitator for community workshops in the company’s Artists in the Library project in 2019. Julia has been a lead artist with The Amy Project — Artist Mentoring Youth and Jumblies Theatre. She is the 2020 recipient of the JAYU Arts For Human Rights Award for Established Artist. Julia often works with movement and oral history, specifically in the Toronto Chinatown community. She recently created a radio doc for CBC’s The Doc Project about her grandmother’s Gar Yin Hune, immigration story and Cantonese Opera.

Sean Rees

Virtual Background Designer

Sean Rees is a graphic designer specializing in typeface design, branding, and website design. He has made work for companies and individuals in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Sean is also a University Professor in Graphic and Web Design teaching branding, typography, user experience, web design, and drawing. Sean also has an art practice in graphic design, drawing, photography and fabric art. He’s shown in galleries in the U.S., Canada, and Germany.

A grayscale photo of Luciano Iogna looking forward.

Luciano Iogna

Actor – “Al”

Luciano Iogna has been a professional Theatre practitioner for almost 45 years and for over 35 years has specifically worked using Theatre for Social Change. Luc has had the privilege to work across Canada and internationally with diverse cultures as a facilitator, actor, writer, director and instructor; working with Labour, institutions, government agencies, schools and communities.

Alicia Plummer smiling, in front of a brown background.

Alicia Plummer

Actor – “Bystander” / “Shepbourne” / “Masego”

Alicia Plummer is an actor/writer from Scarborough, Ontario. She is a graduate from University of Windsor’s BFA Acting program. She has been in Carousel Player’s What’s So Funny? – a Clown performance for young audiences. As well as she took part in Obsidian Theater’s Playwrights Unit 2021/2022, and worked as an actor for Ottawa Fringe’s Undercurrents Festival, Mixed Company Theatre, and Canadian Stage’s Territorial Tales. During the summer of 2021 she had a reading of her horror themed Caribbean play, Shut The Front Door, air on PROGRAMSOUND.FM radio, and it will be rebroadcast again later this spring. In 2020 she wrote and directed her comedic play, Fandom, for the Northumberland Summer Shorts Festival. She is grateful to be working with Mixed Company Theatre once again. You can also catch her playing Alice in Guild Festival Theatre’s Alice In Wonderland this July!

Kelsey Rideout standing in front of a blue background.

Kelsey Rideout

Workshop Facilitator | Actor – “Faiza” / “Joannie”

Kelsey Rideout is an actor, spoken word poet and writer originally from Ottawa. Recent theatre credits include her role as #11 in the production of “The Wolves” which won the Prix Rideau Best Direction and Jury Award. Her writing has been published in Above & Beyond Magazine, GUTS Magazine, rabble, and Northern News Services Online. She facilitates creative workshops at Eternity Arts, a space that supports mental health through words and movement. She performed in MCT’s production of “Two-Sided Mirror” as Corrine, in the Fall 2022 tour. 

Jobina Sitoh in front of a beige background.

Jobina Sitoh

Actor – “Officer 2” / “Mailynn”

Jobina Sitoh is delighted to be collaborating again with Mixed Company Theatre on I Carry with Me. Pursuing her BFA in theatre at York University’s Acting Conservatory, she splits her time between Toronto and her hometown of Vancouver as a multi-disciplinary actor, singer, and performer. Select credits include her recent collaboration with Jeff Ho on dear heart at York University and current work on Helen Ho’s Maggie Chun’s First Love and Last Wedding, winner of the Toronto Fringe Festival’s New Play Contest and directed by Julia Pape, as the title character. Outside of her acting career, Jobina can be found performing with various music ensembles such as Couch Jams, a Vancouver-based R&B collective. When not performing, Jobina enjoys reading, sushi buffets, and spending lots of time with her roommate’s cat, Marlowe.

Pavla Uppal staring straight ahead.

Pavla Uppal

Workshop Facilitator | Actor – “Officer 2” / “Fitzgerald” / “Jamie”

Pavla Uppal, M.A. is an educator and an applied theatre practitioner who has been expanding the use of theatre arts for social change in education and community-based projects for over 15 years. Some of the communities she has worked with are high school and university students, newcomer women, seniors, and peace builders in Toronto. Pavla has facilitated workshops and scripted Forum Theatre plays for various communities with MCT, most recently “Anna’s Story: Family Complications After Loss” with seniors from Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women. She is a founder of Your Story Matters where she uses her passion for stories and Theatre of the Oppressed methodology to explore power hierarchy, to challenge assumptions, and to open creative possibilities for change. Learn more here: pavlauppal.com/

“I Carry with Me” features an original song written by Heather Cherron von Atzigen called “Freedom Off Our Backs”. We would like to acknowledge and thank the following people who contributed to the song’s creation and production.

Heather Cherron von Atzigen: Songwriter/Performer

Jocey von Atzigen: Performer

Alan Cohen: Producer

Script Development Process

A promotional design indicating Mixed Company Theatre is looking for community participation in the creation of an interactive play about race and privilege.

To develop Forum Theatre scripts, MCT engages communities in workshop sessions to understand the current and pressing social issues facing those groups.

In these sessions, MCT artists lead the community through various games and exercises to understand the group’s experiences and perspective on the topics. From these workshop sessions, the MCT artists draw out a “universal story” of the oppressions facing all the groups, to use as the foundation of the script.

A “universal story” encapsulates aspects of each person’s stories, rather than any one individual’s experience. 

In this project, MCT facilitated online workshop sessions in March and April with multiple groups to understand their lived experiences of race and privilege. From the ideas shared in all the sessions, MCT’s playwright, Heather Cherron von Atzigen, wrote the script for I Carry with Me

Community Partners

The logo for Culture Link.

Funded By

The logo for the Canada Council for the Arts/Conseil des arts du Canada.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.