Mixed Company Theatre is saddened to learn of the passing of renowned artist David Fennario. MCT wishes heartfelt condolences, peace, and healing to David’s loved ones, friends, and family during this difficult time. On March 19th, MCT hosted an event to pay tribute to David Fennario, providing a space to share about his life and legacy from those who knew him and his work. MCT also released a statement with memories from Artistic Director Simon Malbogat about working with David.

David Fennario pointing at graffiti on a brick wall.
Photo of David Fennario by Alex Neumann.

MCT’s Statement

Our Artistic Director, Simon Malbogat, worked with David in some of MCT’s early projects and wanted to share the following statement:

“David Fennario was a true activist playwright who I first met when I was cast in ‘Nothing to Lose’, telling me ‘you really understand and connect with the play’. We became friends thereafter and I directed many of his plays. ‘Joe Beef’ was a history of Canada told through a Marxist lens, ‘Moving’ was a family drama about poverty and the continuing conflict between the French and Anglos. ‘Dr. Neil Cream’ was a play about the rich who lived in Westmount and controlled over 80% of Canada’s wealth. ‘The Murder of Susan Parr’ was about the gentrification of his beloved Verdun. 

I recall an audience member once asking David why he needed to have his characters say ‘f—’ over 150 times and his response was ‘that’s the way we talk in the Pointe’. He was a skilled playwright who gave a voice to the people of his community in Pointe St. Charles, Verdun. 

Simon Malbogat and David Fennario sitting on a couch, smiling.
Photo of Simon Malbogat and David Fennario by Alex Neumann.

I worked with David on his play ‘Banana Boots’ a memoir about the reception of his play Balconville in Belfast Ireland. When I tried to direct him at one point he said ‘I don’t wanna perform – I wanna be me.’ His dedication to authenticity was a compelling aspect of his work. 

During the tour of ‘Banana Boots’ in Edmonton, David asked me to count the number of times the audience laughed — he wanted to make sure we had over a 100 and sure enough, we did! 

We argued, we fought, we created — always for the good of social justice and art. 

We are incredibly grateful for the times we were able to work with David and know that he has left a significant impact on me as an individual, and on our company.”

– Simon Malbogat, MCT Artistic Director