Woking Phoenix Program

Welcome to the digital program for Woking Phoenix by Silk Bath Collective

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Woking Phoenix by Silk Bath Collective

WORLD PREMIERE | A Theatre Passe Muraille and Silk Bath Collective Co-Production

Collage and poster design by Emily Jung | Pictured: Gloria Mok and Family

Co-creator, Director, Producer

Aaron Jan

Co-creator, Director, Producer, and Performer

Bessie Cheng

Co-creator, Director, Producer and Associate Sound Designer

Gloria Mok (莫嘉詠)

Stage Manager

Victoria Wang (王璇)

Apprentice Stage Manager

Joey Lau (劉祖怡)

Lighting Designer

Noah Feaver

Production Manager & Assistant Lighting Designer

Wei Qing Tan(陈维晴)

Set & Costume Designer

Julia Kim

Assistant Set & Costume Designer

Irene Ly

Sound Designer & Composer

Maddie Bautista

Technical Director

Anthony Allan

Choreographic Concept & Direction*

Hanna Kiel (길현아)
*Created in collaboration with the performers

Nonvisual/Blind Dramaturg

Jessica Watkin

Projected Subtitles & Technician

Renée Wong (黃靖珊)


Richard Lam
Phoebe Hu (胡馨勻)
Bessie Cheng
Madelaine Hodges (賀美倫)

Production Crew
Set build: Theatre Orangeville Scene Shop & Lisa Lahue 

Install Crew: Ian Noble, Jordan Paluck, Frank Incer, Connor Price-Kelleher, Chris Sutherland, Kim Schaedlich, Taylor Cole, Evelyn Rensing

Scenic Painter: Shara-Lee Miller 

Sound Operators/Live Mixers: Jenna Geen, Christopher-Elizabeth 

Lightwalkers: Sean Lee, Daniel Yeh 

Silk Bath Collective Team

Co-creator, Director, and Producer  | Aaron Jan
Co-creator, Director, Producer, and Performer | Bessie Cheng
Co-creator, Director, Producer, Co-Sound Designer and Co-Composer | Gloria Mok


Theatre Passe Muraille Team

Artistic DirectorMarjorie Chan
Artistic Producer | Indrit Kasapi
Managing Director, Revenue & StrategyMichelle Knight
Artistic Associate | April Leung
Jenn Sartor
Associate Producer | Emma Westray
Dramaturgy & Accessibility Associate Metcalf Foundation Intern | Mandy E. MacLean
Financial Manager | Petra Chevrier
Community Engagement Coordinator | Angela Sun
Marketing and Outreach Manager | Shanae Sodhi
Marketing Intern| Latteeshia Davis
Patron Services Manager | Ceridwen Kingstone
Fundraising & Development Coordinator | Faizah Syeda
Production and Facilities Manager | Aidan Hammond
Production Coordinator | Olivia Zotti
Mainspace Technician | David Fisher

Access Guide

To access the visual story, please click the button below. An Access Guide is a package that aims to support people with communication difficulties, learning disabilities, English as a second language and Autistic People. It can be used to help anyone access and understand the play. The package may include spoilers.


Masks are still strongly encouraged inside the TPM building. There will be select “Mask Mandatory” Performances for this production which are listed below:

*Sun April 21st, 2:00PM
*Wed April 24th, 7:30PM

For more information please take a look at our COVID-19 Protocols

  • Mandarin is spoken and English Translations will be projected.
  • Tightly focused lighting states.
  • Flashing Lights
  • Use of Haze
  • Loud and surprising sounds included within the music of the performance and live door slams
  • Repeated & immersive sounds

Family grief, family conflict, implied homophobia, implied violence, implied sexual content, the experience of racism & microaggressions, the use of coarse language and heightened emotional states.

Note from the Company

In Woking Phoenix, Silk Bath Collective invites us to revisit how immigrants in this country are given the opportunity to excel but also how the system challenges them. Here we have Ma, a single mother, and an immigrant, trying to raise three children while running a business. She does the best she can. But is she enough? Of course, it’s not as simple as that. The triumphant trio of Silk Bath Collective, Aaron Jan, Gloria Mok, and Bessie Cheng, want us to consider how we set up immigrants for success while introducing us to characters who are complex, eager, funny, sometimes angry, but most fundamentally 100% real. It’s easy to understand them because we all are them in some way or another. We’ve all had a passion our parents don’t understand, we’ve all hidden parts of ourselves for fear of not being accepted, and we’ve all just wanted to see our parents succeed.

We’re excited for this production to hit our Mainspace at Theatre Passe Muraille. Silk Bath Collective developed this work as part of their residency with TPM and also as part of the Buzz development program. It’s exciting to see that Silk Bath Collective continues on the roots of collective and collaborative creation at TPM, the foundations on which this company stands, and has built a story full of rigor, passion, and touching humor. We invite you to delight in learning from these characters while relishing in the tastes of Ma’s Snack Boxes and ultimately considering how this story could end differently in a community that is more inclusive of everyone.

– Marjorie, Indrit and Michelle | Theatre Passe Muraille

Note from the Creator

Welcome to Woking Phoenix!

We’re so glad you’re here. Please sit anywhere you’d like.

We are Silk Bath Collective. We are fascinated with how Chinese tradition, language, and culture are communicated through music, food, pop culture, stories, and physicality – and how they are informed by generational changes and regional differences. We wanted to create a play that spoke to our collective experiences as first, second, and third generation Chinese Canadians. Bessie immigrated from Urumqi, Xinjiang in 2001, Gloria’s parents immigrated from Kowloon, Hong Kong in the 1980s, and Aaron’s grandparents immigrated from Toisan, Guangdong in the 1950s. We all have different definitions of what it means to be “Chinese”.

Aaron: My grandparents ran a Chinese-Canadian restaurant in Levack, Ontario called the Bluebird Tavern (it’s still there – look it up!). With their 8 children, they made Chinese food for an almost entirely white clientele. I don’t know their entire story (My grandmother was bullied for her English so she stopped speaking it), but I do know that my contributions to the play are inspired by the essence of what was told to me as a child, stories of sipping pre-drunk sodas, ordering shipments of food at the age of 12 and the love and sometimes estrangement that followed.

Bessie: When thinking about this show, I took a lot of inspiration from my mom, who raised me as a single mother after immigrating to Canada in her 30s. Her cooking has always been a way for her to show love and care for me when words have felt out of reach. I’ve also been working in restaurants since I was 19, so I relate to the grind and sometimes turbulent nature of working in these environments. It’s about getting through unexpected rushes, bearing through grueling 14 hour shifts, and bonding over our restaurant horror stories. These shared moments over 3 AM cash outs with a staff beer in hand have led to friendships that still exist in my life to this day.

Gloria: My parents started a small printing business that my brother and I spent many weekends and school holidays working at when we were growing up. I can relate to the backbreaking hours spent doing repetitive tasks, but also the simple joys of sharing a meal together with family – my mom would order our favourite Chinese takeout, and my dad would buy us Iced Capps from Tim Horton’s as a treat in the summers. I don’t think you can get more Chinese-Canadian than that. My parents’ way of showing love was always through food and acts of service. These moments at the print shop will always be core memories for me.

Woking Phoenix has been a real labour of love over these past 5 years and we are honoured to be premiering this story at Theatre Passe Muraille, a company with a rich history of supporting collectives and Canadian work. We’re grateful to Marjorie Chan who has believed in this work since the beginning, and to all our other collaborators who have helped shepherd this project since 2019.

We can’t wait to share this with you.

Enjoy the show,

– Silk Bath Collective (Bessie Cheng, Aaron Jan, and Gloria Mok)


Bessie Cheng is an award-winning queer Chinese-Canadian writer and actor. She graduated from the Playwriting and Devised Theatre program at York University. Her first play, Dirt, received the Ellen Ross Stuart Award from the Ontario Arts Foundation and was a finalist for the RBC Emerging Playwright Award from the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Her newest work in development Girls With Cars is a recipient of the Promising Pen Award from Cahoots Theatre and is named one of their theatre-makers that will help shape the next 30 years in Canadian theatre.

A few of her recent onscreen credits include Chucky (NBC), Hudson and Rex (CityTV), Sort Of (CBC/HBO Max), and Coroner (CBC).

Phoebe Hu 胡馨勻 migrated to Canada over a decade ago after completing her B.A. at National Taiwan University. She then trained at Sheridan College and Randolph College for the Performing Arts, and Ontario became her artistic home base since.

While primarily recognized as a performer in interdisciplinary ensemble work, Phoebe also collaborates with artists and productions as movement/language coach and cultural consultant, which allows her to further engage her background in urban dance, traditional Chinese music, comparative literature and linguistics into her theatre practice.

Selected credits: Orphan Song (Tarragon Theatre); Cabaret (Grand Theatre); Comfort (Red Snow Collective); Wedding Season (Netflix); Assassin’s Creed: Mirage (Ubisoft). Upcoming: Salesman in China (Stratford).

She is also a certified personal finance educator dedicated to supporting the financial well-being of fellow artists.

Online: thosewhowandertw.com/phoebehu or @phoebe.h.hu

Love to the Ma, Charlie, Vince, Iris, and even Ba in my life and in me.

Richard Lam is a Toronto-based Actor, Writer, Musician, and Sound Designer. Richard earned his B.A. in Political Science at the University of British Columbia and then pivoted to the theatre, training at the B.F.A in Acting Program at the University of Alberta and the Soulpepper Academy. He is currently the Program Guide for Talk Is Free Theatre’s Artist Basic Income Guarantee program, and a co-founder of Ground Floor, an organization that helps create healthier practice wherever theatre is made. He is completing a certificate in Conflict Management and Mediation from Conrad Grebel University College.

As a theatre artist Richard has appeared in three dozen productions with Canada’s largest and most exciting companies, including the Stratford Festival, The Shaw Festival, Soulpepper Theatre, Talk Is Free Theatre, Canadian Stage, the Charlottetown Festival, the Citadel Theatre, Buddies In Bad Times, and many others. He has been nominated for three Dora awards.

Madelaine Hodges (賀美倫) (she/her) is a Chinese-Canadian queer artist from Scarborough. She began working on this play with Silk Bath Collective in 2021 and immediately fell in love with the story and the characters; she’s honoured to get to share this story with an audience and grateful for the project after graduating from TMU (formerly Ryerson) into a pandemic. Recent theatre credits include: Regan (King Lear, Shakespeare BASH’d), Alexa (3 Time Dora Nominated Show, Killing Time: A Gameshow Musical, Mixtape Projects), and Alice/Lily (Ping, Tarragon Workshop). Recent Film/TV credits include: The Boys (Sony Pictures), BÖRJE (Warner Brothers), and Cruel Intentions (Amazon Freevee). Socials: @maddy_hodges_11. She’s dedicating this performance to her Gong Gong and Pwa Pwa; she hopes they’re proud.

Creative Team

Aaron Jan is a Toronto-based playwright, director and dramaturg. He has worked as a creator with Factory Theatre, Canadian Stage, Theatre Aquarius, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre, Soulpepper, Boca Del Lupo, York University, Theatre Sheridan, Theatre Direct, and most recently with Theatre Erindale. He is the 2019 winner of the Ken McDougall directing award, the 2021 co-winner of the Rita Joe Playwriting Award, a 2021 co-recipient of Musical Stage Company’s Aubrey and Marla Dan Fund for New Musicals, a 2021 Johanna Protege Recipient, and the 2022 winner of Tarragon Theatre’s Urjo Kareda Award for Emerging Artists. Aaron is currently the casting associate at the Stratford festival for the 2025 season.

Gloria Mok 莫嘉詠 is a theatre creator and arts manager who is the proud daughter of immigrants from Hong Kong. Alongside Chinese-Canadian theatre creators Aaron Jan and Bessie Cheng, Gloria co-founded Silk Bath Collective in 2016, focused on multidisciplinary plays about the Chinese diaspora. As 2b theatre’s Emerging Artist in Residence, Gloria created LDR for Mythical Times, a performance that weaves together her long distance relationship, her parents’ immigration story, and the ancient Chinese folktale of Cowherd and Weavergirl. Gloria is currently the Writer in Residence with Driftwood Theatre and is the Producer at Nightswimming, a dramaturgical company with a national mandate focused on commissioning new theatrical projects and performance research. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Production Design and Technical Arts program. Gloria wants to thank her parents, big brother, and partner for their continued love and support.

Victoria Wang is a Toronto based stage manager, producer and arts manager who works in theatre, dance, film and interdisciplinary forms of live performance. She has worked with companies across Canada including Native Earth, Why Not Theatre, Soulpepper Theatre, Cahoots, Aluna Theatre, Canadian Stage, Tarragon Theatre, the National Arts Centre, Segal Centre, SummerWorks, Buddies in Bad Times, Nuit Blanche and the Toronto International Film Festival. Victoria is also the founder of Memory Palace Project, a public art project that has appeared at the Toronto Fringe, Assembly Theatre, Long Winter, and the Art Apart Festival. Victoria is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the National Theatre School of Canada. Outside of theatre, Victoria is also a certified yoga instructor. As a second-generation Chinese Canadian settler, Victoria is grateful to call Hong Kong and Tkaronto home.

Joey is a stage manager and multidisciplinary artist residing in Toronto, Canada. After receiving her BFA in theatre production from Toronto Metropolitan University, Joey was selected as the 2020-2021 RBC Apprentice Stage Manager with The Musical Stage Company. Selected Credits: The Musical Stage Company: UNCOVERED: FLEETWOOD MAC AND THE EAGLES (Apprentice Stage Manager), GET A LIFE! (Production Coordinator), UNCOVERED: THE MUSIC OF ABBA (Apprentice Stage Manager), ONE SONG GLORY 2022 & 2024 (Stage Manager/Production Coordinator), UNCOVERED: THE MUSIC OF DOLLY PARTON (Apprentice Stage Manager), BAAPII ROHO (Stage Manager), BLACKOUT (Apprentice Stage Manager); Theatre Calgary: MAUDIE: THE MUSICAL Workshop (Stage Manager/Workshop Coordinator); Lua Shayenne Dance Company: YASSAMA AND THE BEADED CALABASH (Touring Stage Manager); Stratford Festival: SALESMAN IN CHINA Workshop (Stage Manager); Canadian Children’s Opera Company: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Stage Manager).

NOAH FEAVER is a Dora Award nominated lighting designer. He works frequently in Dance and Opera and has designed for companies such as: Edmonton Opera, Toronto Dance Theatre, Tapestry Opera, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Holla Jazz, Citadel + Compagnie, Zata Omm, The Royal Conservatory of Music, Against the Grain Theatre, and Rock Bottom Movement. Noah holds a BFA from Toronto Metropolitan University’s Performance Production program and spent two summers as a lighting design practicum at The Banff Centre. He works as a Lighting Design Coach at The National Theatre School of Canada. Noah is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.

Wei Qing Tan (she/her) is a theatre artist based in Tkarón:to. She is a stage manager and production manager who is passionate about sharing stories, uplifting voices, and centering care in processes. She is a graduate of the PDTA program at the National Theatre School of Canada. Wei Qing strives to be a resourceful and enriching collaborator and is interested in being part of teams that invest in their communities.

Select credits: Production Management – Burning Mom (RMTC), SummerWorks Festival 2022; Stage Management – Everything Has Disappeared (Mammalian Diving Reflex & UNIT Productions), They Know Not What They Do (Native Earth Performing Arts), Just For Laughs Montreal 2023, Between a Wok and a Hot Pot (Cahoots Theatre); Assistant Stage Management – Alice in Wonderland, Storybook Search (Bad Hats Theatre), The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom (Capitol Theatre)

Julia Kim is a set, costume, and projection designer based in Toronto. She graduated from TMU with a BFA (Hons.) in Performance Production in 2015. She’s been working mostly in Southern Ontario, designing for independent theatre and dance productions, and working as an assistant designer at Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival.

She recently moved back to Toronto, after working as a resident designer and teaching theatre design for two years at Mount Allison University.

In 2024, she was nominated for Virginia Myrtle Cooper Award.

IG: @yeon._.studio

Website: www.yeon.studio

Selected Design Credits:

Set and Costume: Jade Circle, rice & beans theatre (2024) Kim’s Convenience, Grand Theatre (2023)

Set: Pass Over, Obsidian Theatre Company (2019)

Costume: Richard Three, Shakespeare in the Ruff (2023) The Drawer Boy, Watermark Theatre (2022) Resonance, Human Body Expression (2019)

Projection: Okay, You Can Stop Now, Theatre Passe Muraille (2023) Omisimawiw, Riser Edmonton (2023)

Irene Ly is a Toronto-based theatre, film and installation artist specializing in set and costume design. She is a recent BFA graduate in Performance: Production + Design at Toronto Metropolitan University. Creating work for theatre performances, film, music videos and installation art, she engages audiences into spaces and states of mind that feel familiar – struck by memory, time and lived experience.

Selected Credits: Set and Costume Designer – Insert Clown Here (Parlous Theatre), A Perfect Bowl of Pho (Send Noods Productions), Set Designer – Arctic Ocean (Toronto Metropolitan University), Creator – You are entering (Nuit Blanche at MOCA), Set Decorator & Wardrobe Assistant – Dandelion Green (Babyteeth Productions).

Maddie Bautista (she/her) is a Bi, Saudi Arabia-born Filipina sound designer and composer. In the daytime, you can catch Maddie creating and shaping sound in iconic theatres across the country – from composing original music in the earliest stages of new work development, to tuning systems with live musicians and mid-sized casts. After the sun goes down, she moonlights as half of xLq with Jordan Campbell – a queer pop performance duo who tours across the country with their daring, interactive theatre and bizarre, grungy drag.

Maddie received 2 Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Love You Wrong Time (Outstanding Sound design and Ensemble). Selected sound credits: Wild Woman (Soulpepper), Les Belles-Soeurs (Stratford Festival), The First Stone (New Harlem Productions & GCTC); Kim’s Convenience (The Grand Theatre, London).

You can catch more of her design later this spring at seven methods of killing kylie jenner (Crows and Obsidian Theatre). www.maddiebautista.com

As a theatre artist, Anthony (He/Him) is eager to collaborate and advocate for himself and other artists looking to create. Anthony is looking forward to creating meaningful work for the disadvantaged in our community and promoting representation of all kinds. As a technical director and designer, he looks to make space and promote an enriching environment for others. He is a recent graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada from the Production Design and Technical Arts program. Selected Credits: Technical Director: Sweeter (Cahoots), Technical Director: MASHUP pon di road (Why Not), Technical Director: Lay Hold to the Softest Throat (FTA), Assistant Sound Designer: Little Shop of Horrors (Capitol Theatre), Technical Director: Middletown (NTS), Sound Designer: Metamorphoses (NTS), Lighting Designer: New Words Festival (NTS), Production Manager: Maybe Not Tomorrow (NTS)

Jessica Watkin is a blind artist scholar who finished her PhD in disability and performance in 2022. She is a blind dramaturg, educator, facilitator, and activist. Along with dramaturgy and facilitation Jess is also a Metcalf intern with night swimming theatre in 2024.

Renée Wong (She/They) is a queer, non-binary, Hong Kong-Canadian actor, playwright, arts administrator, and emerging filmmaker based in Toronto. She is a graduate of Humber College Theatre Performance Program and has obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Toronto. This is Renée’s first time working with Theatre Passe Muraille and Silk Bath Collective, she is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work on Woking Phoenix. Selected credits include: If We Were Birds (Mainstage, Alumnae Theatre), Genieology (New Ideas Festival 2023, Alumnae Theatre), Harabogee (할아버지) & Me (Weston Folktale Festival, Shakespeare in Action), FOLDA Thought Residency (Spiderwebshow & Theatre Direct). Follow more of her work on Instagram: @reneeewcs

Dora winner Hanna Kiel is from Seoul, South Korea, and moved to Vancouver in 1996. She has presented her work at 12 Minutes Max, PlanB Singles and solos Festival, Dancing on the Edge Festival and Pulse at the Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver. In 2007, she collaborated with Yoko Ono as a dancer and choreographer at the Centre A. Moving to Toronto in 2008, Hanna has continued choreographing for: Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, Conteur Dance Academy, George Brown Dance, Ryerson Dances, School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Kenny Pearl’s Emerging Artist Intensive, IGNITE, ProArteDanza, Ballet Jörgen, The National Ballet of Canada, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre, Dusk Dances, Tarragon and Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in Calgary. . Hanna is the artistic director of Human Body Expression Dance Company and a resident choreographer at Canada’s Ballet Jorgen.

Ma's Snack Box!

Photo credit: Jenny Vasquez

Experience the Taste of the Woking Phoenix in Ma’s Snack Box!

Silk Bath Collective and Theatre Passe Muraille are thrilled to partner with caterToronto to sell Ma’s Snack Box, filled with appetizing treats inspired by Ma’s cooking in Woking Phoenix! With a menu designed by Vanessa Ling-Yu of caterToronto, this box of goodies allows audiences to experience the taste of the Woking Phoenix!

Boxes are exclusively available for pre-order now until two days before your selected performance and can be purchased at check out for $22 when you purchase your tickets. Boxes will be distributed during intermission of each show! If you’ve already purchased a ticket and want to add on a Snack Box please contact our box office.

Limited number of boxes for each performance, so buy yours before they sell out!

Thank You

Special Thank Yous

National Theatre School of Canada’s Theatre Engaging Communities grant
Cahoots Theatre (Lisa Alves)
Theatre Centre (Yoan Holder)
Soulpepper (Leslie Hernandez, Patricia Vinluan, Rhett Costin, Nick Beardsley)
Canadian Stage (Meg Woods)
Mohamed Redha
Michael Wanless
For participating in past workshops: En Lai Mah, Melanie McNeill, Haneul Yi, and Jasmine Huang
Rinchen Dolma
Jackie and Kim Mok

Up Next!

Up next at Theatre Passe Muraille:
#BeyondTO Festival
May 10th – 18th, 2024
More info here!

Graphic design by Emily Jung
Photo credit: David Wong

50/50 Raffle!

If you love the performances you are seeing on TPM stages this year, our monthly online 50/50 cash raffle is a great way to keep supporting our work and get a chance to win big! Your ticket is a direct contribution to the artistic richness of our community, enabling us to create unforgettable theatre experiences for everyone!

TPM Season Sponsor:

Thank you!

You make it possible! Thank you so much for coming out to watch the world premiere of As I Must Live It as part of our 23.24 season.

We are so grateful for all of our sponsors, funders, and donors for believing in Theatre Passe Muraille’s mission and supporting our artistic programs— allowing our team to plan ahead with confidence.

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Thank you again for visiting our theatre, digitally or in-person! For more information about our theatre/company, stay a bit and check out our website, or our blog.

Photo credit: Jae Yang