ImaginAction and Theater of Witness

  • We Are Here (2013)

In January 2013 ImaginAction’s artists Hector Aristizabal and Alessia Cartoni developed their first Theater of Witness-inspired play in Los Angeles, California, with 6 torture survivors coming from 5 different countries and currently living in the US. Playwright Diane Lefer developed the dramaturgy, original live music created by Enzo Fina. Photo by Brian Biery.

Please join us for a special Theater of Witness event. Six PTV (Program for Torture Victims, Los Angeles) clients take the stage to share their stories of survival in a performance directed by Hector Aristizabal and Alessia Cartoni with their ImaginAction organization.

Come and be a Witness to the stories of 6 torture survivors from El Salvador, Guatemala, Cameroon, Uganda and Russia.

Premiere, free of charge on Tuesday, February 26 at 7:30 PM.  At Mercado La Paloma: 3655 S Grand Ave, Los Ángeles 90007 (Community Room)

Second and last performance, free of charge on Wednesday, February 27 at 7:30 PM at Club Fais Do-Do: 5257 W. Adams Blvd., Los Ángeles 90016. Thanks to the generous donation of the theater  by Steve Yablock .

This play is made possible, in part, by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, awarded to Hector Aristizabal.

  •  Sanctuary (2013)

In July 2013 Imaginaction’s artist Alessia Cartoni started working as a mentee with Teya Sepinuck (founder and director of Theatre of Witness) in the development of what was her last production in collaboration with the Playhouse in Derry, Northern Ireland.

Photo: echogate productions. Declan Keeney

Sanctuary illuminated the stories of those in exile, those seeking safe haven, and those who have created oases of peace and healing in Northern Ireland. The performers included refugee and asylum seekers and providers, as well as those who seek or offer refuge following violence, mental health issues, forced exile, poverty and/or sectarianism. ‘Sanctuary’ also highlighted moments of ordinary and humble peace building. Sanctuary was created and directed by Teya Sepinuck, with music by Brian Irvine and puppetry by Aja Marweneck it toured in Northern Ireland in October and November 2013. A documentary film of the production will be available in 2014.

In this project Alessia assisted Teya’s work as a mentee and worked with Aja Marweneck in the development of the puppetry and as a puppetist in the show.  Alessia is deeply inspired by the transformative power of this method and willing to become a practitioner creating her own work.

  • Our Lives Without You – By Alessia Cartoni

    Stories Beyond the Legacy of the Ballymurphy Massacre

The Theatre of Witness Programme at the Playhouse Derry is offering a mentoring program which offers two mentees, Alessia Cartoni and Thomas Spiers, the opportunity to create an original Theatre of Witness production, supervised by Teya Sepinuck and subsidized by the Playhouse Theatre of Witness Programme. Their performances will be presented in late May 2014, dates and times TBD.


Now, in January 2014, after a period of interviews and group work Alessia is working with the Ballymurphy Massacre Families’ stories, and she will be developing a Theatre of Witness piece from February until May 2014 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.



In the aftermath of injustice and violence, lives are changed forever. The Ballymurphy Massacre families have been seeking justice for more than 40 years for their loved ones shot down by British soldiers in 1971. The families demand a full and independent international investigation as no one has ever been held legally accountable for the killings. The families also demand a public apology from the British government along with a statement acknowledging that the dead were innocent civilians. But while the families have drawn public attention to the killings and have used political and legal language in their quest for justice, their own personal stories as individuals coping with the aftermath of loss – the loss of family, identity, the sense of secure belonging in a community – have never been heard.

The participants of this Project are the daughters, the sons, the brothers and sisters of the people that between the 9 and 11 of August 1971 were suddenly murdered, will always be missed, and are kept alive in memory and hope. The stories we seek to capture reveal courage, faith, love and truth, and the capacity of human beings to live in between the realm of reality and the realm of memories. Those memories of family life with the loved ones who are lost are preserved in stories, saved and offered like precious jewels.

From the legacy of the Massacre, this piecet asks: Who do we become after the tragic loss of a father, mother, brother? How do we raise our own children after that, staying fully present in their lives even when a part of ourselves died that day?


Our Lives Without You – By Alessia Cartoni

Stories Beyond the Legacy of the Ballymurphy Massacre

Six family members of those killed in the Ballymurphy massacre share their poetic stories about mourning, loss and healing.

Wednesday May 28th: 7:30 Corpus Christi Youth Centre – Ballymurphy

Thursday May 29th: 8:30pm Brian Friel Theatre – Queens, Belfast

Friday May 30th:  8:30pm The Playhouse – Derry-Londonderry

Saturday May 31st: 7:30pm 174 Trust – Belfast

Admission is free for all performances. To book call Emma Stuart:

02871 268 027

MORE INFO about the Ballymurphy Massacre:

Campaign for Justice:

The Ballymurphy Massacre Film:

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