When the curtain goes down on a Mixed Company Theatre show, the dialogue is only beginning. Here’s what a few of our participants had to say after their  experience:

From Government:

“To see a timeless story brought to life, to see drama used as a means of social change, to witness the magic of the theatre – this is what it means to live life more passionately, for our very existence to be enriched by unique, often unexpected and eye-opening perspectives.”
—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada

“The organization’s success is a testament to the vision and determination of the actors, playwrights, directors and many skilled individuals behind the scenes, who have worked so hard to build a viable theatre company. I would like to commend the Company for its contributions to a richer, more varied Canadian theatre and for making this art form relevant and exciting to a wide variety of audiences.”
—The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

“Mixed Company Theatre has been using the dramatic arts to empower audiences to bring about positive change in their daily lives. I commend the theatre company for presenting performances that are socially relevant to people of different backgrounds and walks of life. By using theatre as a vehicle for meaningful change, Mixed Company Theatre makes a real difference in the lives of Ontarians, and helps to make our province an even better place to live.”
—The Hourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario

“I know the most recent partnerships you have struck with city arts agencies, educational, workplace and other institutions here in Toronto will continue to ‘ripple out’ across our city and touch the lives of thousands.”
—Mayor David Miller, City of Toronto

“In bringing its performances into schools, communities and workplaces, Mixed Company Theatre has helped unleash talent and creativity within countless individuals and taught many the power of positive change.”
—Mayor David Miller, City of Toronto

“Mixed Company has built a solid reputation in the community through its commitment to popular theatre and grassroots participation.”
—Olivia Chow, MP, Trinity – Spadina

“I thought the Mixed Company ensemble was terrific. On behalf of the co-chairs, participants and working group, please convey my sincere thanks to Simon (and his hearty mix of talent) for his efforts in helping us present a ‘lighter’ side of our issues. You are indeed a ‘mix’ of talent and it was a pleasure working with you. I’m sure our paths will cross again.”
—Annie Schiefer, Liaison, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

“Showdown provided a unique opportunity for staff to have fun while they learned and engaged the topic of violence in a credible and realistic manner. Showdown’s ability to provide hope and positive solutions for the very complex problems of violence and bullying was heartening and clearly emphasized the resilience of youth. The material was all the more poignant presented through the voices of youth, challenging the audience to consider the experience of violence and bullying from the youth’s perspective.”
—Edwina Godden, Central Region Youth Justice Trainer, Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services

From Educators:

Our girls were inspired and in awe of the Mixed Company Theatre’s presentation—it was entertaining, thought provoking, and fun! Our students also appreciated the chance to interact with the company and reflect on the important messages being shared. Thanks again to everyone for making this one of our great presentations this year and for reminding us about fostering positive relationships with each other!”
—Teacher, TCDSB

“Educating adolescents is hard work—it requires knowledge, humour, presentation skills and most importantly, an understanding of developmental needs. I love it when one of our young people asks an actor to freeze, assumes their role, and puts on a stunning performance on how to say no, or how to be assertive, or how to resolve a sticky problem.”
—Ron Gray, Guidance Counsellor, Don Mills Collegiate Institute

“…Your performers are very professional and gifted in dealing with adolescents.”
—Lauren MacDonald, Vice-Principal, Parkdale C.I., Toronto

“Of all the plays/entertainers we have had this was the best value and message for the money.”
—Teacher, East York C.I., Toronto

“This was one of the best educational experiences bar none that I’ve viewed in my 22-year teaching career…The control of the actors, the director and the students resulted in a very gripping and charged experience. It’s not often that 19-year-old students will enthusiastically endorse a school presentation but this was it!”
—Tom Kriener, Head JCI MPHE, Jarvis C.I., Toronto

“Excellent work! My Students were engaged throughout, and the work continued for two weeks following the performance.”
—Teacher, YRDSB

“I have been able to use Mixed Company presentations and some materials from your teaching guide to continue to use lessons from the story and make students think about their own lives and involvement with peer pressure. My students loved the performance and were very much engaged.”
—Teacher, TDSB

“It was a pleasure having Mixed Company Theatre perform at Riddell. They were able to successfully plan and implement an anti-bullying performance that included all of the key messages and strategies for dealing with bullying. It was an interactive presentation with students participating and problem-solving throughout the performance. It was Grades 4-6 age-appropriate and connected very well to discussing our own school climate and how all of us have a responsibility to make Riddell the safest place to learn and achieve our full potential.”
—Wes Hahn, Principal, R A Riddell

“I have to honestly say that this was by far the best performance I have brought to any of the schools that I have been admin at. The production and actors were absolutely outstanding. The accolades are pouring in from students and staff. My students felt it was the best assembly they have ever attended and staff all dropped by my office to say they were totally impressed. Please express my sincere thanks to the outstanding actors. They did a phenomenal job . I explained to them that Iona is an Arts school – they were not aware of this and therefore my students totally appreciated the talent and performance. They were a totally captivated and engaged audience. Congratulations on a job well done!”
—Joanna Boudreau, Principal, Iona Catholic Secondary School

“I just wanted to say that I thought the production was excellent – one of the better dramatic plays that I have watched in my 21 years of teaching the actors should be very proud of themselves! Thank you very much for your desire to make a difference…I loved the way the audience was able to interact with the performers and the performers stayed within their role – I have never seen a level of participation like this before”
—Michael Bokla, Elmbank JMA

“Mixed Theatre Company has done it again! Project ACT is a wonderfully interactive performance which engages students from the first second. This production deals with healthy life style choices but does not ‘preach’ at students, rather engages them in thinking about the implications of their choices in a manner which invites their input and values their suggestions. I have no hesitation in recommending this performance for our middle and secondary school students.”
—Lesley Cunningham, Social Worker, Hamilton Wentworth District School Board

“Thanks to the creative talents of the Mixed Company Theatre group, thought provoking and dynamic live ‘case studies’ were performed at a conference for our professors who deal with challenging classroom situations.  The actor’s ability to engage our audience and improvise around participants who shared their ideas on how to resolve issues was extremely helpful in consolidating their overall learning experience.”
—Cathi Berge, Director, HR & Organizational Development, Sheridan College

From Community Leaders:

“With their commitment to Forum Theatre, Mixed Company Theatre is pushing the boundaries of theatre in Toronto.  By engaging their audience in interactive productions that challenge personal assumptions and push people to develop solutions, Mixed Company Theatre is more than just entertainment – it’s activism, engagement and personal growth.”
—Craig Kielburger, Founder, Free The Children

“Toronto Police Service’s partnership with Mixed Company Theatre created an excellent opportunity to engage communities through the use of theatre arts and assists our ongoing efforts to enhance relationships with citizens of Toronto. Positive community relations improve our effectiveness in keeping our community safe.”
—Chief Glenn De Caire, Hamilton Police Service

“…our staff have seen the visible, positive changes in a number of youth that took part.”
—Tony Puopolo, Executive Director, Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club, Toronto

“Simon Malbogat brings to the field of Leadership Development a fresh and unique learning methodology developed through his extensive work with Mixed Company Theatre. In a world where we desperately need new approaches to the many emerging complex challenges, Simon’s body of work is both timely and necessary for those of us working in business today.”
—Colin Funk, Creative Programming Director, Leadership Development at the Banff Centre

“Your work and passion are inspiring and I congratulate you on the accolades and funding you received last night. Thank you again for inviting me to be part of the fun.”
—Suhana Meharchand, CBC Newsworld News Anchor and Host of CBC News: Today

“The Mixed Company initiative lit a fire of creativity in the eight staff members who collaborated on the script and courageously performed four real life scenarios about the every day work of front line staff. This approach stimulated discussion about difficult issues in an atmosphere of “no blame” and led to concrete actions we can apply in the workplace.”
—Director, Organizational Development, Toronto Community Housing

“The Toronto Police Service’s TAVIS initiative and Mixed Company Theatre have partnered to support positive change in various Toronto neighbourhoods through the use of DISS, a forum theatre production that presents worst-case scenarios of gang involvement.”
—Jeff Pearson, TAVIS Coordinator, Toronto Police Service

“I am excited at the prospect of having the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thunder Bay hosting Project ACT – The Play in the future and hope that all kids in Thunder Bay have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful program.”
—Bill Nicholson, Windsor Unit Program Coordinator, Boys and Girls Clubs of Thunder Bay

“Empowered youth get involved when they can explore, discover and feel they have a voice. Mixed Company Theatre provides an opportunity for witnessing and then participating. A perfect mix to create safe dialogues about important health issues and weeks of integrated follow up activities that help build healthy communities. This show inspires everyone involved to re-think, re-work and reinvent themselves. Bravo Mixed Company!”
—Patricia Gough, Artsaround Program Director & Retired Elementary Principal

“Project ACT will be an important resource for schools, as it opens the discussion on such a variety of important youth topics – drugs/alcohol use, well being, healthy eating, coping mechanisms. Schools and students look to address these issues all separately, yet throughout the unique perspective of Project ACT the roots of unhealthy behaviours are exposed, connecting them all in one forum theatre discussion.”
—Rebecca Tompkins, Operations Manager, Empowered Student Partnerships

From Participants:

“I participated in the forum theatre JustUs Group, which developed and performed Out of the Illusion. The program allowed me to share my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, my traumas, and it helped me to realize a lot of behaviors and attitudes that I have carried for many years. Mixed Company Theatre gave me a platform, and freedom to express what I had buried for so long. It was a healing experience, as we were validated and acknowledged. It helped me to talk about the “pink elephant” that exist within our lives. It helped me to move toward freedom, have an opportunity to share my truths, and not be afraid of “damnations”. The program allowed us to enjoy friendship, freedom, and laughter – laughter from deep within, healing within, and bonding with others who also spoke their truths. I enjoyed the company and the feedback.
I am grateful. Nyaweh.
I would recommend this for anyone and all ages! Our voices need to be heard!”
—Norma General, Out of the Illusion participant, in parntership with the JustUs Group, Ryerson’s G. Raymond Chang School 

“The 25th Anniversary STARS Awards Gala was a sophisticated and intimate gathering of friends and supporters. We celebrated 25 years of Mixed Company Theatre and set the stage for more to come!”
—Alicia Payne, Associate Artist – Mixed Company Theatre

 

“I wanted the audience to change their attitudes towards homeless people. Most have this idea that the homeless are in the streets because they are lazy. But really, most are in the streets because they had no choice. They were caught up in a difficult situation…”
—Maxwell, Community Initiative Project participant, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning with Andy Barrie”

“This project kept me focused on my journey staying clean off drugs, not only did it give me the inner strength, however it also brought my self-esteem up to where I now feel more confident about myself”
—BJ Morris, Community Initiative Project Participant and Mixed Company Theatre Volunteer

“Come and see the show because it shows all different ways on how to deal with harassment and what the worst scenario would look like.”
—Bells and Whistles participant, in partnership with NERP

“As a result of Mixed Company’s Bouncing Back I have been accepted in a summer arts program where I will be working with renowned actors and playwrights. I have also been paired with an arts mentor who will be working with me to pursue acting and playwriting. I have been volunteering as a host at Theatres and festivals gaining valuable experience. Without Mixed Company none of this would have been possible. You know that saying if you can’t do, teach? Well, if we can’t change our lives, at least we can make awareness and try to stop it from happening to other people. Prevention of feeling lonely, betrayal and hunger. That’s what Bouncing Back aimed to do and should continue to do. This is a necessary project and well worth the funding.”
—Katy Currie, Bouncing Back participant