Get to Know Us! MCT’s International Theatre and Facilitation Intern

Lambert has been shadowing the MCT staff for a few weeks, and participating in many aspects of our InterGEN project, including our recent video shoot and a series of workshops for seniors and youth.

We hope that at the end of his stay in Canada, Lambert will be fully prepared to take what he’s learned at MCT, combine it with his years of experience in theatre, and begin to create the positive change he desires.

1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a 31-year-old actor from France. I was born in a little city in the middle of France called Boussac. I originally was studying law, but then decided to go to Paris to pursue theatre. I was especially interested in physical theatre, and learned about divised theatre in school (also called collaborative creation: a form of theatre where the script originates from improvisation by a group of people, rather than a playwright). I was a founding member of two theatre companies, and helped to create a number of productions.
I’ve been feeling distanced from the real world, so this year I decided to train as a dramatic arts facilitator at Sorbonne. Theatre, for me, is a medium through which I can speak out about the ills of a society. Theatre can’t change society, but it can open people’s minds and alter their perspective. I don’t practice theatre to change the world, but to be in touch with people.

2. How has your experience with MCT been so far?

I’ve been getting to know MCT for a little while now, and I feel really comfortable with this team. Everyone is really friendly, and I’ve felt welcomed since my first day. For the moment, I am observing how MCT works, and learning about the organization’s methodologies.
In MCT’s InteGEN workshop sessions with groups of Chinese seniors, I have been helping to plan the activities, and I’ve also helped document the sessions with a sound recorder. The shared stories I record will assist our playwright, Diana Tso, in creating the script for our upcoming InterGEN play.

3. What do you hope to gain from being an intern at MCT?

During this internship, I hope to learn how to facilitate and create workshops that explore social and personal issues. I’ve been interested in Forum Theatre for a long time – I remember reading Theatre of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal maybe seven years ago, and thinking: “That’s probably one of the best ways to do theatre if you want to change something in this society.” So, when I found MCT and understood the kind of theatre they practice, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with them, and learn from them.

4. What exactly drew you to MCT?

MCT practices theatre on a human scale. Many theatre companies speak about the place of humanity in the world, but they forget about humans. The work that MCT does brings them close to people, and makes them heavily involved in creating opportunities for social change. I recognized myself in the way MCT uses theatre. They are really curious about giving a voice to societal issues such as racism, harassment, or miscommunication. In the case of the InterGEN project, it’s miscommunication between generations, but that applies to so many situations. MCT lives inside the identified issues; they work with and learn from people, and don’t presume to know what the issues are.

5. Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

That’s a difficult question. I think I really want to spread my passion for theatre by working with both actors and non-actors. I want to mix socially engaged theatre and a more classic style of theatre, which is what MCT already does! I would like to work in a company where I can be a facilitator, actor, and director, and create work with diverse people such as actors, community members, dancers, visual artists, writers – the list goes on. This may seem like a lot, but I need to dream big.

6. Can you tell us three words you would use to describe yourself?

-Questioning: I question everything, all the time, especially myself.
-Curious: I wonder about everything.
-Dreamer: Sometimes I’m here, and sometimes I’m not… But don’t call me flighty!

Get to Know Us! MCT’s Ambitious, Theatre-Loving Intern

posted in: General | 0

Travis interned with Mixed Company Theatre from the end of February to mid-May. He’s thrilled with how much he was able to learn during his internship, and intends to continue to turn to MCT for advice as he develops independent projects.

We’re glad we got to know Travis, and loved his enthusiasm for his work. We hope you enjoy his story of inspiration and aspirations as much as we do.

1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a 23 year old theatre student from York University. I was born in Toronto, but my parents are Jamaican. Singing is one of my favourite hobbies. I’m actually in a gospel group called United. Singing is a big part of me, and if I wasn’t in theatre, I’d probably be pursuing a career in music. My goal in life is to release at least two projects. Right now, I’ve started to write my own play.

2. How has your experience with MCT been so far?

I haven’t been at MCT for very long, but it’s been an enriching experience. The staff are eager to teach me what I want to learn, which I think is the coolest part. It’s not just a job where you’re told what to do. It’s really an educational experience.

3. What do you intend to gain from being an intern at MCT?

I’d like to get more experience working at a theatre company, and gain transferrable skills for my own company, which I’m planning to start soon. I also want to establish a really long working relationship with MCT.

4. What exactly drew you to MCT?

I learned about Forum Theatre and MCT over the summer. I wanted to figure out the kind of programs I’d like to implement with my own company, and a friend suggested that I check out MCT. I looked at their website and saw that they were offering internship opportunities. I was interested, so I reached out to Kristin, the Artistic Projects Manager, and now here I am.

5. Can you tell us more about the company you’re starting?

Right now the company is called Get It Together. It’s a working title, but the idea behind it is that as an at-risk youth, you’re always being told to “get it together,” but nobody has ever told you how to do that. So what I want to do is give youth the opportunity to do just that – learn how to develop the life skills that allow them to “get it together.” The life skills that will enable them to make a change in their own communities. This is something that I’ve wanted to do since high school, but I didn’t have the resources or knowledge to start at that point. I only started planning the launch of my company in May of 2015.

6. What inspired you?

I was inspired by my experiences in theatre and experiences in high school. During high school we had the opportunity to participate in the Sears Ontario Drama Festival. Our student troupe was able to share our story with audiences during the competition, and made it all the way to the regional round. It was great! It changed our perspective, the way we saw ourselves. I want to help others have that experience.

7. Finally, what do you like about theatre?

I love being able to go on stage and be a totally different person. You can grab people’s attention and convey a message without directly speaking to them – creatively addressing an issue. There’s also the feeling of camaraderie. Working in theatre is like being on a sports team, except without all of the competition. All sorts of people come together to create one collective piece. I think it’s also important to create art with meaning. Creating art for art’s sake is fine, but I think it’s great if your work of art can mean something to someone. I want to make a difference.

Old Age Ain’t for Sissies – Opens Tonight!

Mixed Company Theatre’s Old Age Ain’t for Sissies opens tonight at the Tarragon Theatre’s Extra Space (30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto, On). Don’t miss this chance to see this brand new production created in consultation with over 150 seniors across Toronto and the GTA.

Show Dates & Times
Nov 27 @ 8:00 PM – $20 per ticket
Nov 28 @ 8:00 PM – $20 per ticket
Nov 29 @ 8:00 PM – $25 per ticket
Nov 30 @ 8:00 PM – $25 per ticket
Dec 1 @ 2:30 PM – $20 per ticket

How to buy tickets?
Online: https://tickets.tarragontheatre.com/TheatreManager/1/tmEvent/tmEvent379.html
Phone: (416) 531-1827
In Person at the Tarragon Box Office: 30 Bridgman Ave, Toronto, ON, M5R 1X3

About the production
The Cline couple will experience all the pitfalls and frustrations which confront older adults in their retirement years. Will they negotiate the shoals and reefs successfully? Will their marriage survive? Will they survive? The play begins with a retirement party. For some the party heralds a glorious new era of freedom and adventure. For others it sounds a peal of doom. The drama is punctuated with songs resonating with the determination of seniors who want neither to be dismissed nor forgotten. The production stars older actors with an array of backgrounds and experiences. If you’ve never experienced a piece of forum theatre, this is your chance to see how it works. This interactive play invites the audience to come on stage, take on the role of one of the characters and explore possible options to the issues presented.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about our senior programming, please call (416) 515-8080 or email info@mixedcompanytheatre.com. You can also check out our website MixedCompanyTheatre.com.

Masks of Manipulation Workshop—Emma’s Take

posted in: Workshops | 0

HI THERE! Let me introduce myself! My name is Emma Bulpin, a 23 year-old artist, working as an intern at Mixed Company Theatre. I graduated with a B.A. in Dramatic Arts and Journalism at Brock University.

This past week was great because Mixed Company Theatre was hosting their Masks of Manipulation workshop for two days and yours truly got to attend. It was an eye opening experience because this workshop explored our interaction with different types of manipulation and how it can be used to get what you want. What I found interesting was the diverse backgrounds of people attending these workshops: teachers, social workers… At first, I was a little shocked to discover people outside of performance arts would have an interest in a theatre workshop… Clearly I was wrong. I was suddenly slapped in the face with a mental image of MCT’s mandate:

“Mixed Company Theatre produces innovative, socially relevant drama as a tool for positive change — ”

Masks of Manipulation

So, of course people from different professions were joining this workshop! It was inspiring. I discovered the different types of manipulation and how it can affect us. Simon Malbogat, MCT’s Artistic Director, uses Commedia Dell’Arte masks to explore the types of manipulation in a performative way. The first day, we got on our feet and analyzed different body types. As I discovered how these body types took over my physicality and what it was like to live in these different physical worlds, I began to match the masks of manipulation to its physical shape. Not only did this workshop give me a name for each type of manipulation, but it also gave me a shape and image of what to be alert for when these masks show up in my everyday life – you would be surprised – they are everywhere.

The second day, Simon had us do a lot of different exercises with our eyes closed, which played with being in control vs. being controlled. I felt that it gave the collective an unspoken trust and helped us further delve into manipulation and its affects. Not only was I beginning to name the types of manipulation, but I was also giving them faces and relating them to my own experiences. I was starting to think that everything was about manipulation and everyone was being manipulated. It was important to me to understand that manipulation is not necessarily a negative thing, but to be aware of its negativity upon people.

For each mask the group explored, we discovered its characteristics through improv and different theatre techniques. It was fascinating to watch how manipulation can use different tactics to get what it wants and how emotional discipline can defuse its negative impact. As the workshop came to an end, the group gathered around in a closing circle and shared their thoughts and experiences. Overall, MCT did what it does best—they engaged, educated, and empowered.

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