Cracked: New Light on Dementia Play

cracked logo                                    Ring the bells that still can ring
                                    Forget your perfect offering
                                    There is a crack in everything
                                    That's how the light gets in.

                                        - Leonard Cohen, Anthem

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Donate to Support the Canadian Tour

We are currently working on raising funds to support touring Cracked: new light on dementia nationwide. If you would like to support the tour please see the donation form.                            

Tour Dates


Film Premiere 

cracked film promoFriday, January 19, 2018
8 PM - 9:30 PM EST

This launch event marks the premiere of the filmed version of Cracked: new light on dementia, an innovative research-based theatre production that challenges the stigma associated with dementia, inspires alternative ways of thinking about dementia, and encourages everyone to take part in making this a better world for people living with dementia.

Tickets: *This is a FREE event, but advance registration is required in order to guarantee a seat at the event. Tickets at the door are first come, first served. Doors open at 7:30pm. Register for tickets at:

The event includes: the premiere screening of the film; a Q&A with the actors, researchers, producers, and director; and a free raffle to win 1 of 3 Kobo eReaders with gift cards. Sponsors of the event include the Waugh Family Foundation, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, Rakuten Kobo, and the Partnerships in Dementia Care Alliance at the University of Waterloo.

Artists include:
Film director: Anthony Grani 
Play director/playwright: Julia Gray 
Performers: Susan Applewhaite, Lori Nancy Kalamanski, Mary Ellen MacLean, Tim Machin, Claire Frances Muir, Andy Pogson, Alan K. Sapp 
Stage manager: Elizabeth McDermott 
Set and Costume Design: Lindsay Anne Black 
Music composition/director: Tim Machin 
Cinematographer: Ann Tipper

About Cracked: New Light on Dementia


Cracked: new light on dementia is an innovative research-based theatre production that raises important questions about the dominant ‘tragic’ ways persons with dementia are understood and treated in our society. Inspired in part by Leonard Cohen’s words in Anthem, the play is intended to inspire alternative ways of seeing persons with dementia as vital human beings with agency and possibility. Filled with poignancy, honesty and humour, Cracked calls each of us to reflect on the role we play in the lives of persons living with dementia.

Cracked follows persons with dementia and their families on their unique journeys with dementia, from diagnosis through to their new lives in a long-term care home. The families grapple with what the diagnosis means, if and how the diagnosis changes their relationships and how they struggle to be with each other in the present where the persons with dementia call them to be.

Cracked is based on research conducted by Drs. Sherry Dupuis, Gail Mitchell, Pia Kontos, and Christine Jonas-Simpson, all of whom are health researchers who specialize in the areas of aging, dementia, and research-based drama. The play was developed collaboratively by a group of artists, the researchers, persons living with dementia and their family members. Cracked is grounded in the idea that relationships must be front and centre when providing care for persons with dementia, memory in all of its forms must be valorized, self-expression must be nurtured, and the humanity and full citizenship of persons who are living with dementia must be fully supported. This perspective is in contrast with the dehumanizing care practices that still prevail in many dementia care settings.

Cracked has already been well received with sold-out shows (Bitove Wellness Academy, OISE University of Toronto, Nithview Home). Performances have also been included as part of the SpringWorks Indie Theatre and Arts Festival - Stratford, and two national conferences.

Audience Comments

"humbling... hopeful...powerful...thought provoking...profound"

"Awesome! Love this play. Everything is what I see every day! Trying to help everyone understand dementia. Celebrate the person and not to shut them down."

"Very emotional. Everyone who cares for someone should watch this."

                     Cracked new light on dementia on Zoomer Radio [audio file]

                                     Cracked new light on dementia fact sheet

Created by Collective Disruption 

Playwright/Director: Julia Gray
Performers: Susan Applewhaite, Lori Nancy Kalamanski, Mary Ellen MacLean, Tim Machin,
Andy Pogson, Claire Frances Muir, Alan Sapp.
Research Team: Drs. Sherry Dupuis, Pia Kontos, Gail Mitchell, Christine Jonas-Simpson
Co-Creators: Mark Prince
Set and Costume Design: Lindsay Anne Black 
Music Director: Tim Machin
Stage Manager: Elizabeth McDermott
Assistant Director/Dramaturge: Aynsley Moorhouse
Scenic Artist: Ksenia Ivanova
Wardrobe Assistant: Alyksandra Ackerman
Creative Partners

For more information please contact: or 416-884-6941


Cracked was developed through funds attained through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Ethics approval was received through the Office of Research Ethics at the University of Waterloo.  Ms. Moorhouse was financially supported by an Ontario Arts Council’s Theatre Creator’s Reserve, administered by Theatre Gargantua.

Past Performance Hosts
Special Thanks

Kamill and Attila Apt, Giselle Clarke-Trenaman, Romeo Colobong, Nadine Cross, Allan Day, Sandy DeVisser, Jeannette Gevikoglu, Dr. Tara Goldstein, Anna Gray, Chris Janik, Marika Kemenyi, Kathy Lakatos, Tom Lakatos, Andrew Lamb, Heather Landon, Lin Lay, Judith Leitner, Sian Lockwood, Elizabeth McDermott, Lisa Meschino, Dov Mickelson, Dr. Gary Naglie, Daniel Nemes, Dana Paul, Michelle Ramsay, Meg Tennant, Lois Ward.

A very special thanks to Jerrold Karch for his creative contributions.            

Press Releases & Publications

Gray, J. (2016). ReView: An anthology of plays committed to social justice. Social Fictions Series (Vol. 23). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Dupuis, S. L., Jonas-Simpson, C., Mitchell, G., Kontos, P., Gray, J. (2016). Humanizing dementia care through research-based drama. Presented at the 45th Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting of the Canadian Association on Gerontology Meeting.

(2016, October). "Cracked" a play on dementia. snapd College.

Cracked: new light on dementia. Zoomer Radio [audio file].

Anderson, S. (2015, November 26).  Spotlight on dementia: An innovative blend of research and theatre is enabling scientists to reduce the stigma around a distressing disease. UofT Magazine.

(2015, November 3). De-stigmatizing disease through playwriting. UHN Newsroom.

Alzheimer Speaks Radio. (2015, June). The play Cracked new light on dementia. [web radio broadcast].

Chesworth, J. (2015, June). Cracked new light on dementia and the power of story telling. [blog post].

McAlister, M. (2015, June). Mental health is a human concern. [blog post].

Haggis, C. (2015, June). "Creativity as practice”: Three highlights from the 2015 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum. Exploring critical intersections between research and performance in transforming dementia careCentre for Hip Health and Mobility, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, ON.

Taylor, K. (2015, March). Dementia, depicted: The role of the arts in explaining Alzheimer's.  The Globe and Mail.

Cracked new light on dementia play. (2015, January). Stouffville Uxbridge snapd

Moorhouse, A. (2015, January 16). Cracked: new Light on dementia combines research, dementia and the arts. Alzheimer Society Canada.

New play challenges dementia stereotypes. (2015, January 16). University of Waterloo, Waterloo Stories.

Cracked new light on dementia press release. (2015, January 12).

Drama sheds light on dementia. (2015, January 9). Stouffville Sun-Tribune. 

Tiffin House Hosts ‘Cracked: New Light on Dementia.’ (2014, November 11). BayBridge Senior Living.

Cracked? Who’s cracked? (2014, October 29)Canadian Mennonite.

Tiffin House in Midland to present play about dementia. (2014, Oct 7) 

Play challenges perceptions of dementia. (2014,  September 30). The New Hamburg Independent.

Research Institute for Aging. (2014, June). Theatre inspires the agents of change at Walk with me.  Walk with me changing the culture of aging (Newsletter).

Cracked is a ray of light SPRINGWORKS: Play about dementia draws positive response. (2014, May). Stratford Beacon Herald. 

Partnerships with the Perth County Alzheimer's Society. (2014, May). SpringWorks Newsletter. 

Arts-based approach sheds new light on dementia. (2014, May). Baycrest Matters, 10(9).

On the boards: Cracked: New Light on Dementia. (2014, May 14). The London Free Press. 

Play shows dementia diagnosis in a new light. (2014, May 7). Waterloo News. 

to Present a Free Theatre Performance to the Community. (2014, May 6). Highview Residences and Alzheimer Outreach Services. 

Waterloo man with early onset Alzheimer’s says he’s ‘the smiling, happiest grandpa you’ll ever see’ (2013, November 23). The Record. 

Walk with me: Changing the culture of aging. (2013, Fall). RIA News.

*Excerpted from Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs by Leonard Cohen. Copyright 1993 Leonard Cohen. Reprinted with permission from McClelland & Stewart.


For more information on any of the PiDC Alliance initiatives, contact Sian Lockwood, Knowledge Translation Specialist.

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