CCS Partners With Mixed Company Theatre to Celebrate Diversity Through Art

More than twenty Catholic Crosscultural Services’ (CCS) ESL program clients recently took part in a workshop that promoted a different spin on the art of communications.

The initiative was the product of a partnership between CCS and the Mixed Company Theatre and their Artists In the Library program which uses free interactive arts and educational programming to engage and empower audiences. The idea is to celebrate diversity through art to understand how different communities can connect with each other, create knowledge and discover the human connections that go beyond identity intersections.

The program has been running since September at the Scarborough Civic Centre Library, featuring workshops designed for seniors, adults, teens, and families using concepts and techniques drawn from theatre, improv, and the interactive arts to build knowledge and communicate ideas. The Company graciously agreed to take the initiative on the road and run a workshop in conjunction with a CCS program.  On October 8, they staged a workshop entitled, “Creating Knowledge Through Stories” at the Midland Campus of the Monsignor-Fraser College Alternative and Adult Secondary School, the location of one of our community partners offering ESL classes.

The workshop was facilitated by Forum Theatre artist, Simon Malbogat. The purpose was to help CCS students explore ideas and create knowledge through theatre games. In one activity, the students learned how to express themselves and create their own stories. The facilitator broke the class into multiple pairs and asked one person to adjust their partner’s posture and position their body to create a ‘sculpture’. The facilitator then instructed the students to discuss how to depict a story with all the sculptures and “communicate through body language,” as one student put it.

“It was great seeing the students so engaged and open to new concepts and approaches to communicating and sharing knowledge,” said Fiona Yang, a settlement worker in CCS’ Settlement & Education Partnership of Toronto program, who helped coordinate the initiative for CCS.

Mixed  Company Theatre is a Toronto-based not-for-profit that was founded as an artist-run collective in 1983 with a goal of producing innovative, socially relevant drama as a tool for positive change. Along with the “Creating Knowledge Through Stories” workshop, the theatre company is also presenting other workshops at the library every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday until the end of November, including “Performing our Story”, “Storytelling with Multimedia”, and “Cultural Explorations with Stories”.

For more information on these offerings, please visit the Mixed Company Theatre website:  If you would like to attend Mixed Company’s free Artists In The Library workshops at the Scarborough Civic Centre Library, please drop in or register by calling the library at 416-396-3599.