For the past seven years, the MMQ Theater and Events Group Inc. (MMQ) has produced various events and shows for the benefit of impoverished Filipino children and women through partner charities.
Continuing its role as the Philippine’s only multicultural, nonprofit “arts for charity” organization, MMQ stages its biggest annual play, Le Cabaret Charity Gala on September 14 at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. The event is made possible with the support of the Rotary Club, Makati North (RCMN).
The masquerade-themed carnival party promises guests a night full of color, sparkle with free-flowing champagnes and wines complete with a three-course French dinner.
The beneficiary of Le Cabaret 7 is “Feed a Child, Save a Nation”—a program that has help nourished disadvantaged schoolchildren Monday through Friday for the past 25 years.
MMQ founder and president, Michelle Washington, an American expatriate, shares her thoughts on what drives their organization and turn their passion into a work of compassion.
The Manila Times (TMT): Why did you chose to use theater arts as a means to help charities?
Michelle Washington (MW): Because it’s not really been done before. No theater company, especially here in the Philippines, has made it an important part of their mission (to raise money for charities). That makes us unique. Also, we’ve seen the women and children abandoned, neglected, and abused. There is a need and we want to help.
TMT: Since the Le Cabaret began in 2007 how has it grown and what were the major changes?
MW: Now we attract more variety of talent than ever before. Expats know MMQ as the place to show their talent more than anywhere else. Also, charitable foundations know us more too. Before, we begged for reputable organizations. Now the community knows us better, so it’s easier to choose.
TMT: Since it is staged by expatriates in the country, do you consider the show international?
MW: It’s considered both international and local because an important part of MMQ’s mandate is to provide a forum for expat and Filipino artists and organizations to work, partner and perform together. Building bridges—that is what we do every day!
TMT: Has the Filipinos appreciation of the show changed?
MW: I’m happy to report that our audience has grown over the years. I’ve had more and more people say they appreciate what we’re doing, especially with the expat factor that is such a part of us. Of course, there’s still more work to do. But thank goodness we have Filipino folks who know us and they’re helping us spread the word.
TMT: As for Le Cabaret’s beneficiaries, what were the improvements made through the contributions of MMQ?
MW: There were several improvements, for example, the MMQ has helped the Aeta children in Bataan build a permanent school, and has supported improvements and repairs, books and other needs to sustain it; over 35 cleft palate surgeries have been done through Operation Smile; and Sagip Women and Children’s Shelter now has the seed money to build a new facility.
TMT: What makes the staging of Le Cabaret more special this year?
MW: This is the last Le Cabaret for MMQ. We’ve enjoyed success. We have raised and donated well over P3 million in cash and services; employed expats and Filipinos from all over; visited and helped over a dozen charities; and have built a reputation for compassion and fun. Now is the time to spread our wings artistically and develop new programs, events and ways of giving. So as our last Le Cabaret, yes! This is really special.