Coleen Shirin MacPherson

Coleen Shirin MacPherson headshot


Coleen Shirin MacPherson is an international theatre artist, based in Toronto, Canada. She trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris and was part of a year-long programme connecting movement-based theatre practice to playwriting. She founded a company called Open Heart Surgery Theatre in 2014, an all-female physical theatre company that devises new work that is relevant to the moment; multidisciplinary, cross-cultural and experiments with multiple languages and form.

Her play First Draft (Camden People’s Theatre, Mimetic Festival, London, UK) had a multilingual version produced in Cairo, Egypt at Falaki Theater with StudioZat. Coleen has worked with Tinderbox Theatre in Northern Ireland, Wet Picnic in the UK and has toured work to Egypt, Poland, France, UK, U.S.A and China. With Mana Contemporary and 2nd Floor Rear in Chicago she co-created a silent protest against the EO Travel ban with Rachel Ellison when her Iranian-Canadian musicians couldn’t make it over the border for their performance on ritual. Coleen is interested in work that bends borders and speaks to the current moment. RECENT: Erased, a film-play was developed across borders during quarantine (La MaMa, NYC and Angell Gallery, Toronto); This Is Why We Live, US premiere in New York City at La MaMa, part of the 58th season; Assistant Director to Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu for Trout Stanley by Claudia Dey (Factory Theatre).

Coleen was part of the Factory Theatre’s Natural Resources Program for playwrights and was one of three Foreman Directors in 2020. Coleen is currently developing a new play with Factory inspired by Toronto and Glenn Gould; she is devising a podcast called Wild Women Podcast based on the paintings by Leonora Carrington with theatre creator, Martha Ross (CBC/Canada Council Digital Originals Grant). Coleen is currently Creator-in-Residence at Cahoots Theatre, developing a new work inspired by her mixed race heritage. Her play Erased will be part of BUZZ Development Series at Theatre Passe Muraille in January 2021 with a digital showcase. Coleen wishes she could fly.