Primary navigation

Dan performs his stand-up routine on-stage

Breaking Character

Breaking Character explores disability representation through the eyes of six performers with disabilities trying to make it onto the screen, stage, comedy club circuit, and runway. 

Breaking Character

Breaking Character explores disability representation through the eyes of six performers with disabilities trying to make it onto the screen, stage, comedy club circuit, and runway. 

Meet the Participants

Alexia Vassos

Alexia Vassos – The Graduate

Stage and Screen Actor, Little Person

Alexia was the first Little Person to graduate from her university’s theatre and drama program. After leaving the safe haven of academia, she’s embarking on a journey to find her place in the industry—whether on stage, screen or in an audio booth. Alexia open to many avenues, but one thing’s for certain: she will not be tokenized.

Dan Barra-Berger

Dan Barra-Berger – The Storyteller

Comedian, Legally Blind

Dan, a stand-up comic who is partially sighted, made the long list of CBC’s Next Up competition series. Now he just needs to become a regular on the comedy club circuit. Though humour is at the core of everything he does, so is storytelling. With the support of his partner, Michelle, Dan is on a path to combining those talents to make people laugh, subvert their expectations and advocate for a more accessible world.
 

Caeden Lawrence

Caeden Lawrence – The Philosopher

TV/Film Actor, Hard of Hearing

A bartender by day, Caeden has scored multiple bit parts in both film and TV. But after being diagnosed with genetic progressive hearing loss, he’s navigating new barriers in the industry. Caeden worries that the powers-that-be see him as a “liability” on set, and wonders if he would he be better off finding security in the restaurant industry.

Tai Young

Tai Young – The Multi-hyphenate

Performer/Personality, Wheelchair User

At 17, Tai is already a seasoned performer having appeared in numerous musical theatre productions, commercials and TV shows. As a wheelchair user, he’s passionate about disability representation in the media and has been part of national advocacy campaigns. Tai counts photography, makeup, fashion, tennis and skiing among his many interests. As for what happens after he graduates, Tai refuses to be pinned down.

Catherine Joell McKinnon

Catherine Joell McKinnon – The Veteran

Actor/Filmmaker/ASL Coach, Deaf

An established actress who is Deaf, Catherine was raised on the east coast and has lived in Toronto since the '90s. One of the highlights of her career was playing—in the same year—Alexander Graham Bell’s wife on screen in Murdoch Mysteries and his mother on-stage in Silence. Besides acting, Catherine has made a name for herself as a Master Dialect Coach and Deaf consultant for major productions. Though juggling being in front and behind the camera has its challenges, Catherine is determined to make it work.
 

Rachel Romu

Rachel Romu – The Rebel

Model/Musician/Activist, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

A Thunder Bay, Ontario, native, Rachel is a model, musician and activist with a connective tissue disorder and a history of multiple surgeries for spinal tumours. After having to re-invent themselves post-surgery and diagnosis, they are hellbent on becoming a disability mogul one record and runway at a time.
 

Alexia Vassos
Dan Barra-Berger
Caeden Lawrence
Tai Young
Catherine Joell McKinnon
Rachel Romu

Breaking Character airs Wednesdays

at 8 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv