As the leaves change and the days grow colder, Mixed Company is buzzing. This fall has been our busiest yet in all of our 25 years! Half-way through our Fall Educational Tour, we’ve already added visits to many conferences, festivals and events with a new show, and some old favourites in our Forum Theatre collection.
We’re also gearing up for our 1st Annual STARS Gala celebrating our 25th Anniversary. The STARS Awards Gala, to be held at the spectacular SHAMBA space, will include artistic performances and a silent auction during the cocktail reception. Definitely an evening not to be missed!
We’re still recovering from a very busy summer: courtesy of the Canada Summer Jobs program, three students spent their summer at Mixed Company learning the ropes. Read about one student’s experience in Learning Summer Lessons with Mixed Company Theatre.
This Summer’s premier of DISS garnered intense media interest. Take a behind-the-scenes look at the artistic process of in From the Streets to the Stage.
We may be digging out our scarves and gloves, but it’s not only winter on the way – take a look ahead to what next summer will bring, with The Ripple Effect: Second Wave
Education and Community Outreach
Mixed Company Theatre
P.S. Make sure we see you November 25 ~ Contact us now to book your tickets – space is limited!
Plan to join the 200 guests who have been, are, or will be, involved with Mixed Company Theatre as they celebrate 25 years of innovation, creativity and participation in a collective movement that recognizes the value of art, action and conversation to generate positive change in communities.
CBC’s Suhana Meharchand, Master of Ceremonies for the evening, will guide guests through an exciting evening of awards, artistic performances that include presentations of some of Mixed Companies current and recent productions, Morro & Jasp, The Original Silver Elvis and Dora winning soul singer, Jackie Richardson. A silent auction in support of Mixed Company’s productions and a cocktail reception will help make this an evening to remember.
Event partners include: SHAMBA foundation, Steam Whistle Breweries, Dufflet Pastries,Puddicolme Farms, Stitt Feld Handy Group, Heller Productions, The Chef Upstairs andSharp Canada.
In recognition of the partners who have supported Mixed Company for over a quarter of a century, the STARS Awards acknowledge young people who are making a difference, and individuals and organizations with enduring commitments to their communities. ThreeSTARS will be formally awarded:
Rising Star: The Rising Star Award will be presented annually to a youth who has demonstrated a commitment to educating, engaging, and empowering his or her peers and community to create positive solutions to challenging issues in community, schools, or workplace. This “young person to watch” will be selected through an open nomination process led by the Award Committee and represent the possibilities of the future.
Shooting Star: The Shooting Star Award will be presented annually to a Mixed Company partner from community, government, or the business world that has demonstrated a commitment to the impact of Mixed Company’s initiatives and demonstrates a passion for educating, engaging, and empowering through all of its actions. This socially responsible organization will be nominated by Mixed Company and confirmed by the Award Committee to represent the impact and potential of organizations’ capacity to inspire change among all of its stakeholders.
Shining Star: The Shining Star Award will be presented annually to a person or organization that has used the power of art in any form to educate, engage, and empower communities for positive change. The award recognizes the long-term, enduring commitment to creating positive change through the arts. Nominations for this award can include individuals connected with a Mixed Company partner or be otherwise known in the community with the Award Committee making the final selection.
Mixed Company Theatre invites you to join in celebrating the accomplishments and dedication of these STARS.
Tickets at $75 each, or three for $200, are available at 416 515 8080 or through www.mixedcompanytheatre.com.
Hope to see you there!
Wow! Have we had a busy fall tour and it’s only half over! A brand new show, a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to help us visit new schools in Hamilton, and many invitations to participate in great kick-offs, conferences and festivals have kept our schedule packed this autumn. So much so, that we’ve even extended our Fall Educational Tour into December!
The Bully Show: Clown in the Round
Combining Clowning and Forum Theatre, Mixed Company collaborated with UNIT Productions to develop our newest presentation,The Bully Show: Clown in the Round. This has toured to elementary schools across Toronto and Hamilton, and is described by a TDSB principal as “a powerful presentation, students were thoroughly engaged and it definitely did evoke emotions.”
Siblings Drew and Ashley physically and psychologically torment their peers. Their game is to manipulate and control others through the misuse of power. Who will stop them? Will you?
Developed in collaboration with students, this Dora-nominated anti-bullying play has educated more than 100,000 students internationally and Tom Kriener of the TDSB is describes it as “one of the best educational experiences I’ve viewed in my 22-year teaching career.”
Tashieka McTaggart and Carrie Adelstein
Scott Edwards and Sefton
Jackson in Showdown
Developed in collaboration with Humber College staff and students, Mixed Messages presents worst-case scenarios of sexual assault. In performances this fall at colleges and universities, including Humber, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto and Ryerson,Mixed Messages catalyzed audience members to change the outcomes presented in the play by making positive alternate choices.
Duncan McCallum, Carrie Adelstein
and Tashieka McTaggart in Mixed Messages
Byron Laviolette in The Bully Show: Clown in the Round
Here’s a timeline of the special events Mixed Company has packed into our Fall schedule so far:
SEPTEMBER 26 – Showdown kicks off theSafe Schools for All: Peacemaking EducationConference for educators and community members at University of Toronto OISE
OCTOBER 7 – Showdown kicks off a youth-focused TAVIS Community Safety Event at York Memorial CI.
OCTOBER 10 – The Bully Show: Clown in the Round is named Critic’s Choice at Harbourfront HarbourKIDS Respect Festival, a 3-day event for kids and their families over the Thanksgiving weekend.
OCTOBER 14 – Mixed Company Theatre emcees the Empowered Student Partnership (ESP) Kick-Off at the Elgin Theatre. Featuring a live DJ and performances by youth fromDISS, what’s the ‘definitive’ format – this varies from intro and other articles… this Summer’s from the Streets to the StageProject, developed in collaboration with ESP students and Mixed Company artists, new scenes present worst-case scenarios, then audience members are given a means to express their voices, making their schools safer. Check out a clip on YouTube!
OCTOBER 14 – Showdown delivers at the Ministry of Children and Youth Services Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Toronto.
OCTOBER 30 – Mixed Messages tours to the World Forum Theatre Festival in Austria as part of the “Women’s Power” program, supporting women all over the world in their struggle to overcome patriarchal structures.
There are still dates available to book performances in November and December! And don’t forget about our upcoming Spring Educational Tour, offering 2 new shows: for elementary schools: Morro and Jasp GO GREEN, an engaging and entertaining look at being environmentally friendly; and for secondary schools, DISS, an interactive presentation on the risks in choosing where you belong.
By Mitchell Gauvin, Member of Mixed Company Theatre’s I.M.P.A.C.T [Individuals Making Positive Artistic Change Together] Youth Troupe
Toronto Police Service got a first hand look behind the scenes of Mixed Company Theatre’s process when members from the Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) helped to develop ‘DISS’ – the story that recently toured throughout Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods. Mixed Company spent the summer working with the Toronto Police Service, creating a Forum Theatre piece that tackles gang and youth violence in Division 12 and other priority neighbourhoods across Toronto.
“We worked for a week and a bit creating different scenes and script ideas,” says Duncan McCallum, Director and project leader from Mixed Company. McCallum shared some of the exciting advantages of Forum Theatre: “The MJ character is the liaison between the audience and the stage for this presentation, which mirrors more traditional Forum Theatre techniques. We created songs and lyrics for the MJ, in a combination between the hip-hop styles of an MC and a DJ.” The MJ character carries the narrative thread throughout the play, and acts as a unique narrator with a distinctly urban, youthful tone.
Mickey Rodriguez, who played the MJ, has substantial DJ experience. Working with other artists in Toronto’s hip hop scene for ten years, Rodriguez joined the cast to be included in the discussion and solutions to youth violence. “This is how you break away from it,” he says, “exploring the violence through hip-hop.”
In preparation for the production, Ghislain Gashema and other members of YIPI have learned about how gangs can be formed, as well as the possible ways to address the issues raised by gang presence. Members participated in creative exercises, developing new content from personal experiences. Gashema says being part of this Forum Theatre work gives him a chance to act; to be part of a new experience. “You talk to people you couldn’t have without theatre,” he says. “[Theatre] brings people together in the community.”
DISS premiered at York Memorial Collegiate Institute in Division 12 (Keele and Eglington), and toured to priority neighbourhoods throughout Toronto including Division 31 (Jane and Finch), Division 32 (Lawrence Heights), Division 41 (Steeles and L’Amoureax), and Division 42 (Malvern). DISS will form part of Mixed Company’s Spring Tour in 2010, taking this collaborative work to other new audiences.
The Ripple Effect – Second Wave Festival of Community Arts will demonstrate to a wide audience how the arts give communities of common interest a voice and venue to engage, educate and empower. A week-long festival highlighting Toronto’s Community Arts work,The Ripple Effect – Second Wave starts June 14, 2009 with a full daily schedule of events including a large, multi-disciplinary opening ceremony at Yonge and Dundas Square. In celebrating the diversity of community arts throughout Toronto, this Festival will generate greater connectedness throughout the city’s neighbourhoods.
In 1997, the original Ripple Effect Festival hosted many groups from across the world as they met in downtown Toronto. 2010’s Festival presents a scaled down version to increase focus on the arts working specifically in Toronto’s various neighbourhoods and communities. The Ripple Effect – Second Wave, also serves as a pre-conference symposium and celebration for the PTO Conference – Pedagogy of the Theatre of the Oppressed. Hosted by Mixed Company, this prestigious international conference will begin during the final weekend of the Festival of Community Arts.
Toronto’s always buzzing Annex neighbourhood will serve as the hub area of the Festival. Three theatre spaces within that neighbourhood will be home to a wide-variety of panel discussions, workshops and community arts performances. Satellite venues throughout the city will host additional arts projects performed and presented during the week. .
The Ripple Effect – Second Wave is inviting national and international experts in Forum Theatre to come to Toronto and work in collaboration with underserved communities and organizations to create new issue-based performance pieces using Forum Theatre techniques. These collaborative works will be performed for their community within local community space. Further presentation in one of the Annex Festival hub’s spaces will ensure access to these exciting new works for both the immediate local and broader Toronto community audiences.
Governed by a council of artists and community members from key organizations throughout Toronto, The Ripple Effect – Second Waveis structured to be as accessible and inclusive as possible for all interested communities. To keep this wave swelling, keep checking our website regularly for the most up-to-date information and ways you can participate.
By Samantha Calder-Sprackman
Drawn to Mixed Company because of my enthusiasm for engaging, educating, and empowering communities for social change – I have tried to create positive change as a Big Sister in Kingston, as President of the Right to Play club at Queen’s University, and teaching English to orphans in Ethiopia – I had never been exposed to the powerful effects of Forum Theatre. My experience this summer opened my eyes to the influence that a Forum presentation can have on its audience.
From my first day, I noticed the diverse talents of those at Mixed Company. Every member has their unique niche: from writing and directing, to managing finances, to preparing media releases, each person is integral to creating success.
Three students were hired this summer, thanks to the financial support of Canada Summer Jobs, an MBA/law student, a future teacher, and me, a medical student. Each of us was encouraged to use their knowledge to contribute. As the Research and Development Assistant, I used my skills to research new community partnerships, synthesize feedback from past shows and workshops, and create complex databases.
I have new appreciation for the diversity of talents that are required in the not-for-profit field.
I was exposed to many of the unforeseeable challenges that can be thrown at a company. We began to prepare a summer camp tour but, unfortunately, the City of Toronto went on strike overnight and necessitated canceling those plans. Another challenge this summer was getting audiences to performances of DISS, a new interactive play about youth and gang violence. It was a challenge to fill the seats during the summer months, despite days of calling community organizations.
However, the show must go on and what a great performance it was – I was blown away watching DISS. I could not believe that such a great play could be put together on such a tight creative schedule. The Forum aspect of the play particularly impressed me. During the second half of the presentation, I watched youth in the audience actively problem-solve ways to avoid realistic gang violence problems. This unique facilitation encouraged the audiences to test various situations by dissecting scenes and changing them from negative to positive. I have not seen this anywhere else in all the social action projects I have been a part of. And this was one of the most important things I learned at Mixed Company: the value of allowing the audience to create their own solution to the problem.
That is a lesson I will keep from my summer at Mixed Company for a long time to come.
For additional information about booking a Mixed Company Theatre presentation, contact 416 515 8080 or email@example.com.
Mixed Company Theatre acknowledges the generous support of:
Sefton Jackson and Oneko McTaggart in DISS
Sypher scene with the DISS Troupe
Mickey Rodriguez in DISS
Partner in Crime Prevention: Toronto Police Service
of Community Arts
June 14-20, 2010
The Ripple Effect: Second Wave will include Forum Theatre Workshops
Forum Theatre Presentations will engage, educate and empower audiences throughout Toronto
Mixed Company’s Volunteers, interns and Summer Students
As a Centre for Forum Theatre, Mixed Company works with many volunteers, interns and summer students. Here are some of our favourites:
Wryan Gallimore, Administration and Artistic Intern from Eva’s Initiative (standing in front of the wall he painted!)
Megan Mackeigan at our Media Retreat (Summer Law and MBA Student, and Founding Member of Sketch Comedy Troupe, SHE SAID WHAT)
Mixed Company’s Administration Staff with Kendra (in the stripes), Summer Student and Volunteer
To learn more about Mixed Company’s Volunteer Opportunities, contact 416 515 8080 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to our generous supporters!
The Fleck Family Foundation
The George Lunan Foundation
The Lewfam Foundation
The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation
Mrs Heather Brooks-Hill
Mr. & Mrs. Rob Dougans
Mr. & Mrs. Larry Enkin
Ms. Carol Philips
Ms. K.E. Lyn Royce