A home for digital performing arts in Canada


By Josh MacDonald

Co-produced by Eastern Front Theatre and Halifax Theatre for Young People

An award winning thriller about growing up in the digital era.

74 minutes | Ages 13+

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About The Show

#IAmTheCheese is a reimagining of Robert Cormier’s 1977 novel by the same name and written by local playwright Josh MacDonald that has been in development since 2017 and won the Playwright Guild of Canada’s Sharon Enkin Theatre for Young Audiences Award in 2020. #IAmTheCheese is set in the present day, and follows a traumatized teenager named Adam Farmer through a series of interviews with an analyst named Brint, as Adam struggles to recall deeply repressed memories of his past. Beginning with just a wisp of a children’s nursery rhyme—“The Farmer in the Dell”—Adam begins to reassemble his sense of self, bit by bit. Eventually, Adam remembers the social stigma of his preteen years, when his parents inexplicably banned the use of the internet: no cellphones, no computer, no wifi, etc. But Adam dares to begin a relationship with a girl from his school named Amy Hertz, and this relationship blooms in cyberspace. However, the more that Adam remembers about Amy, and about his own parents, the closer he comes to recognizing that a massive, faceless danger might be surrounding him still. Through exploring the complex and intricate world of growing up in the digital era, #IAmTheCheese is an enriching and reflective thriller for young audiences.

Produced by Eastern Front Theatre and Halifax Theatre for Young People.

Based on the book, I Am the Cheese, by Robert Cormier.

Filmed January 31, 2022 at Alderney Landing Theatre, Dartmouth/Punamu’kwati’jk.

When I was a kid, I liked to read stories that scared me. (I still do!) I liked Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, and before that, R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. But there was another writer for young people who scared me in a different way, and his name was Robert Cormier. Instead of using impossible things– like vampires and werewolves– Robert Cormier wanted to scare me using the everyday world! And he wasn’t even really trying to scare me: he was just trying to break the news to me that people didn’t always have my best interests at heart; to startle me into seeing that hard situations can sometime hide in plain sight. When I read the novel “I Am The Cheese,” there was no such thing as the worldwide web. The character of Adam discovered different dangers hiding behind his everyday life. But in 2022, what’s more everyday than our online existences? Somebody in this play tells Adam, “when [platforms and sites] on the internet are free, it’s because we’re the product. And if we’re the product, then what are they using us for?” To me (even with no vampires or werewolves around), that’s kind of scary.

I hope you’ll like this “social media thriller,” and that maybe you’ll like it enough to go read the original book it’s based on! I bet that it’s still there, on some of your school’s library shelves, like it was there for me. Robert Cormier told me this story first, and I’m getting to tell you this next chapter. But when it comes time to imagine what happens next, here in the real world, well, that’s up to you.
– Josh MacDonald

The digital version was available online to schools in Nova Scotia from January 25 – June 30, 2022.
The live production had its debut as part of STAGES Theatre Festival from June 7-12, 2022.
The digital version was available online to schools in Atlantic Canada from December 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023.

Playwrights Guild of Canada Tom Hendry Prize 2022: The Sharon Enkin TYA Award

Theatre Nova Scotia Robert Merritt Award 2023: Outstanding Projection Design

Theatre Nova Scotia Robert Merritt Award 2023: Outstanding New Adaptation

Study Guide

Eastern Front Theatre

Eastern Front Theatre was founded in 1993 as a Dartmouth-based company supporting the work of Atlantic Canadian playwrights. Over the last 29 years, the company has championed countless Atlantic Canadian artists and stories through commissions, workshops, our annual theatre festival, and our playwrights unit. Eastern Front Theatre has produced or presented over 200 original Canadian plays, 32 of which were World Premieres. Eastern Front has four Governor General Award nominations, one Nova Scotia Masterworks nomination, and 16 Robert Merritt Awards (out of 68 nominations).

Land Acknowledgement

EFT is fortunate to live and create in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq.
Read the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Reports.
Search the Mi’kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas.
​We are all Treaty People.

Halifax Theatre for Young People

Halifax Theatre for Young People logoHalifax Theatre for Young People was founded in 2009 by Tessa Mendel and Chris Heide as a means to fill the local gap in professional theatre created specifically for young audiences. Since 2009, Halifax Theatre for Young People has had the opportunity to create, share and produce numerous theatre productions, and meaningfully engage young audiences across Nova Scotia. Halifax Theatre for Young People occupies a unique place within the theatre ecology of both our local community and our region as the only full-time Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Company in Halifax Regional Municipality.

Sam Vigneault - Adam

A white man with medium length brown hair looks into the camera.  He is wearing a blue collared shirt over a white t-shirt.Sam Vigneault (he/him) is an actor, musician, filmmaker and theatre-maker based out of Kjipuktuk /Halifax. He is a graduate from the Fountain School of Performing Arts acting program (2017) and is currently attending NSCC’s Screen Arts program. Sam is thrilled to be back in the theatre working on #IAmTheCheese and humbled to be working alongside such an outstanding team of creators. Thanks to Kat and Tessa for the opportunity, and thanks to Josh and AMK for their generous support. Selected Theatre credits include: King Arthur; This is Nowhere (Zuppa Theatre Co), Bone Cage; The Little Years (Matchstick Theatre), A Herman Tale/ Goodbye Marianne (Theatre New Brunswick), Big Sister, Little Brother (Festival Antigonish), Macbeth; Listen to the Wind (Steady Theatre), West Moon (Rising Tide Theatre). Selected Film/TV credits include: Bone Cage (Bone Cage Productions), Tin Can (CUT/OFF/TAIL). Look at Me (Taylor Olson), From (Epix).

Micha Cromwell - Amy

A black woman, with medium length curly brown hair is smiling in front of a blue background.Micha Cromwell (she/ her) is a Robert Merritt Award nominee for an Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role. She has performed at the National Arts Centre, in Chasing Champions (Ship’s Company Theatre) and The Westwoods (Mulgrave Road Theatre). Micha performed the roles of Horatio and Ophelia in Hamlet (Below the Salt Theatre). She has worked on various TV productions including Diggstown (CBC), Mr. D (CBC) and season 2 of the award- winning limited series Studio Black! (CBC). She is excited to work with such a talented cast and crew!

Susan Stackhouse - Brint

Photo of Susan StackhouseSusan Stackhouse (she/her) is an actor and an educator. She is a graduate of Dalhousie University, the National Theatre School of Canada, and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England. She has been on faculty at Dalhousie University since 1996. Susan spent sixteen seasons with the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on- the-Lake as a member of the acting ensemble and as a voice coach. She has also performed at many other theatres including Neptune Theatre, Off The Leash Creative, Ship’s Company Theatre, Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Persephone Theatre, the Blyth Festival, and the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Susan has been nominated three times for a TNS Robert Merritt Award and received it for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Rabbit Hole, produced by Neptune Theatre. She is also the recipient of the 2019 Theatre Nova Scotia Legacy Award (honouring outstanding contribution to professional theatre in Nova Scotia). Susan is a passionate supporter of the Nova Scotia Talent Trust.

Sebastian Labelle - Farmer

Portrait of Sébastien Labelle wearing a pale mauve t-shirt. He is a 42 year old man smiling broadly. He has dark hair and a short beard. Both are greying. Sébastien Labelle is Executive Director of the Bus Stop Theatre Co-op, Festival Director for Mayworks Kjipuktuk/Halifax and an artistic collaborator for the River Clyde Pageant in PEI. He has performed with numerous local companies including Matchstick Theatre, Mocean Dance, Workshirt Opera, Zuppa Theatre, Shakespeare By the Sea, Villain’s Theatre, 2b Theatre, and Two Planks and a Passion Theatre. You can catch him on screen in The Good House by Amblin Partners and in Chapelwaite streaming on Crave.

Josh MacDonald - Playwright

A white man wearing black clothes, standing with his hands in his pockets, looking directly into the camera lens while smiling. Josh MacDonald (he/him) is thrilled to have written a theatrical adaptation for one of his favourite childhood books: Robert Cormier’s novel I Am The Cheese. This adaptation is the winner of a Playwrights Guild of Canada Tom Hendy Prize—The Sharon Enkin “Theatre for Young Audiences” Award. Josh is also the writer of the stage plays Halo, Whereverville and The Mystery Play, which have been produced here at home and around North America, are published by Talonbooks, and are curriculum titles in high schools and universities. Josh is the winner of an AMD/Dell “Next Wave” Award for Best Screenplay from Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX, for his horror movie The Corridor (IFC Films). He is also the writer of the feature comedy Faith, Fraud & Minimum Wage (eOne Films). Josh writes for series television, is an actor for stage and screen, and has taught playwriting and screenwriting courses for Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD). Josh would sincerely like to thank Ann-Marie, Tessa, Elsa, Kat and this spectacular group of theatre artists for their talents and tenacity throughout this bumpy process: long live Live Theatre!

Ann-Marie Kerr - Director

Headshot photo of Ann-Marie Kerr, smiling, and leaning on folded hands against her right cheekAnn-Marie Kerr is an award-winning theatre director, actor and teacher. Select directing: Frequencies (Heist, Halifax); Concord Floral (Fountain School of Performing Arts Halifax); Secret Life of A Mother (Theatre Centre, Crow’s Theatre Toronto); One Discordant Violin (2b theatre company, Halifax, 59E59 St Theatre NYC); Bed and Breakfast (Soulpepper Theatre Company, Toronto); A Christmas Carol (Theatre New Brunswick); Daughter (Theatre Centre; Summerworks, Toronto, Battersea Arts Centre London; Intl tour); Snake in the Grass (Neptune Theatre); I, Claudia (Globe Theatre Regina, Neptune Theatre); Stranger to Hard Work (Cathy Jones Eastern Front Theatre, Ntl tour); The Circle (Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary); The Debacle (Zuppa Theatre Company, Halifax); Invisible Atom (2b theatre company Halifax, intl tour). A graduate of Ecole internationale de théâtre Jacques Lecoq and York University and is the former Artistic Associate of Magnetic North Theatre Festival.

Christian Ludwig Hansen - Projection & Co-Scenic Designer

A white man with straight shoulder length dirty blonde hair, and green eyes, in front of a light and blurry background. He is wearing a light brown t-shirt and a little smirk on his face.Christian Ludwig Hansen (he/him) is a Projection Designer and Actor from Germany who now lives in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. He feels truly honored to be joining such amazing team of established and emerging artists in making this wonderful play come to life. Other Theatre Credits [Acting]: Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare by the Sea); Mary Stuart, Machinal, Concord Floral, and Ephemera (FSPA); Settle Elsewhere (Theatre du Poulet); What the Owl Said To The Orangutan (The Unnatural Disaster Theatre Company). [Design]: #IAmTheCheese (Halifax Theatre for Young People); Hamlet (Halifax Regional Arts).

Brenda Duran - Co-Scenic Designer/Builder

A smiling woman with burgundy coloured long hair wearing a short sleeved black top.Brenda Chicas-Duran is a talented and award-winning Costume and Set Designer living in Nova Scotia/Mi’kma’ki. After earning a BFA in Theatre Production and Design at York University, Brenda worked extensively in Ontario before moving to the East Coast in 2017.

Brenda’s Nova Scotia theatre debut began with Eastern Front Theatre’s premiere of FAT JULIET. Since then, she’s been their trusted designer and technician, adding her fresh skills to every production and event. Flash forward to 2023, and she’s proudly accepted the Wes Daniels Design Merritt Award. Through her artistic work, Brenda aims to inspire audiences and create innovative opportunities for underrepresented artists in the live entertainment industry.

Recent credits: A Beginners Guide to the Night Sky (The Villians Theatre/EFT), Almost Maine (Neptune YPCo.), Downed Hearts (Ship’s Company Theatre/EFT), Pinocchio, Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare By The Sea), Miracle on 31st Street (Saint John Theatre Company), Glass Menagerie (ARC).

Everette Fournier - Costume Designer

A white person with short curly hair, smiling a half smile, leaning on a white wall, with a green plant on the left side of the image. Behind them is a wooden door.Everette Fournier (they/them, he/him) is an emerging artist practicing in ​K’jipuktu​k [Halifax], Mi’kma’ki [Nova Scotia]. They graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) with a B.F.A, majoring in Textiles and Fashion in 2021. They coordinated and showed work in the NSCAD Wearable Art Show (2018-2020) and ‘NSCAD Fashion Gala’ (2018-2019). They presented their self-produced performance short, ‘Fairy-tales from the Inbetween,’ exhibited at the Anna Leonownens in 2020. Everette views their practice as multidicplinary, rooted in elements of performance, fashion and design.

Jackson Fairfax-Perry - Composer & Sound Designer

Jackson, a mixed-race African Nova Scotian man, with a tan complexion, curly hair and beard, looks into the camera with a friendly, warm smile.Jackson Fairfax-Perry (he/him) is an African Nova Scotian composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and sound designer based in Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki. Since 2021, Jackson has racked up numerous sound design and composing credits with theatre companies both locally and nationally, including Eastern Front Theatre’s sold out production of Stevey Hunter’s FAT JULIET, for which he won the 2022 Robert Merritt Award for Outstanding Sound Design. Recently, Jackson was announced as 2b theatre company’s 2023-24 RBC Emerging Artist in Residence, where he will have the opportunity to collaborate on 2b related projects, while also developing his own work with guidance and support from 2b.

Olivia Rankin - Lighting Designer

Photo of Olivia RankinOlivia is a stage manager, and emerging lighting designer, based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, NS. She grew up in BC and upon receiving the YouthVision Scholarship of Canada she moved East to study Technical Theatre at Dalhousie. Olivia has supported award-winning productions and tours across Nova Scotia, and Canada, many of which have been a celebration of female Canadian playwrights and African-Nova Scotian history. After dabbling in producing film, her short film ‘Roomies’ was selected to be broadcast in CBC’s Reel East Coast Series- Season 6. Olivia is so grateful to be a part of such an exciting project of interdisciplinary artistic collaboration, with a lovely team of incredible artists.

Virg Iredale - Stage Manager

Headshot of Virg, a white woman with green eyes and long brown hair smiling straight into the camera. Virg is a stage manager based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax. She is a graduate of the Dalhousie Technical Theatre and Design Program. Some favourite stage management credits are: People, Places & Things (FSPA), La Calandra (FSPA), Elapultiek (Two Planks), Brundibar (HTYP). Favourite Assistant Stage Management: Good Grief* (Ship’s Company), Half Cracked* (Ship’s Company), Boeing Boeing* (Watermark), Crimes of the Heart* (Watermark) and Hamlet* (Below the Salt). A delight to work with these lovely folks in person! Thank you all!
* apprentice credits

Patricia Vinluan - Production Manager

Photo of Patricia VinluanPatricia (she/her) is a stage and production manager based out of Kjipuktuk. Patricia has enjoyed many roles in live event production, including: arts admin, festival coordination, production design and technical direction. In her career, she has been involved in the development of over thirty world premieres, has collaborated on a multitude of projects presented across Canada, and has toured internationally. In her work, Patricia is deeply invested in safe and sustainable production practices and dedicates her approach to fostering spaces that allow artists to thrive. Patricia grew up on the rainy west coast but has happily lived in Nova Scotia for almost a decade.

Tessa Mendel - Artistic Director, Halifax Theatre for Young People

A white, middle-aged woman with a colourful scarf around her neck stands in front of a rocky seashore, smiling.Tessa Mendel has directed at theatres and universities in Nova Scotia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland including Halifax Theatre for Young People, NotaBle Acts, Forerunner’s and Ship’s Company, Upstart Theatre, The Grand Theatre, London, Ontario; The Theatre Centre, Toronto; Acadia; Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and Dalhousie Theatre Department. Tessa has worked as a community-based theatre facilitator in many contexts, both locally and internationally (Jamaica, Ethiopia). She was the founding director of a company that created plays with, by and for youth in Toronto’s public housing communities. and the founding director of the Women’s Theatre and Creativity Centre in Halifax. Tessa received Creative Nova Scotia’s Established Artist Award in 2014 and her book, Using the Creative Arts for Transformational Learning, was published in 2015.