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"I don't just want to be good at my craft. I want to be great. That's why I'm at Ryerson."
Beyond technical proficiency in acting or dance, performance artists need the educational breadth and well-rounded intellectual capacity that comes from studying a broad range of both theatre related and other academic subjects. In addition to their separate, streamed programs, Acting, Dance and Production students take classes together. These include an historical perspective of performance, and a working knowledge of Canadian and international dance, drama, and film. To understand the role of production for stage and screen, you gain a familiarity with technical aspects, such as lighting, sound, set, and costume design. Through an independent study seminar, the operation of an arts organization is researched and analyzed. There is a range of electives, including musical theatre, audition preparation, pedagogy, Canadian theatre, dance history, and text analysis. For those who want to pursue work as a playwright or choreographer, there are studies in staging theatrical productions, as well as opportunities to create and mount personal works. Liberal study electives include English, history, philosophy, French, psychology, politics, and geography.
"Doing the theatre program at Ryerson really helped me find my voice ... They really challenge you personally and emotionally, in a good way, and I think I benefitted from that process."
- Acting graduate Peter Katz
The Self-initiating Artist
A distinguishing feature of Ryerson School of Performance is that Acting and Dance students learn to generate their own works, productions, and ventures. Through a unique series of specially designed courses, you nurture your creative impulse and personal voice through the invention of text and movement-based pieces. Optional courses in entrepreneurship, business, human resources, marketing, and new venture startup provide you with the skills to turn your ideas into business opportunities and confidence to manage your own enterprises. "We are taught to be thinking, creative, writing artists. We are constantly encouraged to take initiative and create our own performance pieces. Some of us have created pieces that have made it into local theatre festivals.
"As a production student, I get to see how performers work and they get to see how I work. That's huge. We learn to look at a performance from each other's perspective, communicate better with each other, work better as a team."
Under the guidance of invited directors, choreographers, or other artists, students from Acting, Dance, and Performance Production are collectively responsible for mounting the season. Actors have opportunities to present a variety of different dramatic forms, and dancers to perform pieces they have choreographed themselves. Performance production students get to undertake all aspects of production, such as promotion, set design and construction, costumes, props, budgeting, stage management, lighting, and sound design. There are also opportunities to produce and direct.