InterGENERATION: Seniors Finding Voice Through Forum Theatre

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The Mixed Company Theatre (MCT) workshop series, “Making Meaning from Memories” have brought together a group of seniors, who have found their voice while experimenting with forum theatre. The workshops are part of a new community arts project, InterGEN that reconnects youth and older adults in three Toronto communities. The seniors (ages 50-80) have clearly been participating in community building exercises – many of which have brought them out of their comfort zone. The activities prepare the seniors to become more comfortable using their body and speaking in front of the whole group.

One senior in her 70s described her experience in the program as something that she feels has changed how she thinks, as she said, “I go home and think about all the things we spoke about. The next morning I have all these ideas about things that I haven’t thought about before—like about diversity. I mean the things the kids have to deal with these days—I just never had to do that.”

In the final scene that the seniors rehearsed they chanted the chorus of a song, written by Luciano Iogna, an MCT facilitator who wrote the script based on experiences the seniors shared. They chanted repeatedly: “I get no respect.” Lines in between the chorus include moments that describe how disrespect manifests in their lives, such as people having no patience for them, nobody offering them a seat on public transit, or being made to feel invisible. The two MCT facilitators, Simon and Luc, encouraged the seniors to think about different ways people might respond to these experiences – something they will have the opportunity to play with through forum theatre. As facilitators, Simon and Luc, pointed out: the MCT approach to forum theatre encourages participants to critically reflect and analyse their experiences, while also seeking possibilities for empowerment and change.

The session ended with all of the seniors coming to a consensus on the title for their play: ‘C’mon Granny’ will be performed on Sunday March 1, 2015 at Lambton House in Toronto.

Christina Parker (OCT, Ph.D.), is an educator and researcher in Toronto and is our Volunteer Researcher for the Inter-Gen program.

Calling all Teens: Speak Out with Art!

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Get Theatre-Active with Urban Arts and Mixed Company Theatre this March Break!

Learn how to create and perform a play about what it is like to be a teen in Toronto. MCT is looking for teens with and without theatre experiences, as well as singers, musicians, lyricists, dancers, and all around creative people to participate.

Sign up today, spaces are limited!

MARCH 16 – 20 2015 (1:00-5:00 PM)
UrbanArts – 5 Bartonville Avenue East
(Weston Rd. & Ray Ave.)
Toronto, M6M 2B1

To register contact UrbanArts:
Ify Chiwetelu, Arts Program Manager,
(416) 241-5124

Download the Urban Arts Workshop Flyer

Coming this Feb – 50+ @ Lambton House

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In collaboration with Ryerson and Heritage York, 50+ @ Lambton House – Making Meanings of Memories will set out to explore
what we feel as we age – and then express our thoughts on how to enjoy life. In these six workshops led by MCT’s Simon Malbogat, participants will explore intergenerational challenges, experiences and stories and present it to the public on March 1st.

Workshops @ 2pm
February 10&12
February 17&19
February 24&26

Spaces are limited! For info & registration contact Joy, (416) 766-8679.

Download the flyer – 2015 HY Seniors with MCT-3


An Open Letter To PTO – Pedagogy and Theatre of the Opressed

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Dear PTO Members,

My name is Simon Malbogat and I have been a PTO board member since 2009. I have been using theatre as a tool for social change since 1989 when I became artistic director of Mixed Company Theatre and especially since we became a centre of Theatre of the Oppressed in 1992 at the request of Augusto Boal. Even though I participated in Theatre of the Oppressed festivals and produced the Ripple Effect Festival I did not feel as connected to others who were doing the work as I would have liked. The connections were short-lived and in the
theatre world we are all scrambling to survive and who has the time!

In 2009 Boal had just passed away and I went to the PTO conference in Minneapolis, I was asked to join the PTO board. I felt a connection to the people attending the conference and I decided to accept my nomination to the PTO Board. This visceral connection made me feel that I belonged with this group and the work they were all doing. The people attending were questioning and observing with an eye for creating best practices in applied theatre to create positive change.

Since 2010, the PTO board has created a strategic plan which has been put into practice by holding telephone meetings once a month where members report on the activities which they are responsible for. Such as a beautiful logo and of course the new by-laws which incorporate where PTO is now and where we want to be in the future.

If you are a PTO member please think about joining a committee, become a regional representative, write for the journal or the zine and become part of the PTO movement.

It has been an absolute pleasure to serve with this hard-working, supportive and committed group of people and I look forward to continuing positive change through theatre.

Yours Sincerely,
Simon Malbogat

We invite you all to learn more about Pedagogy and Theatre of the Opressed.