I have a deep-seated love for theatre. If you felt awkward in high school, then theatre was almost always the place you could be found with your fellow outcasts. You were not only encouraged to act outgoing and loud and weird, but if that wasn’t who you are? That’s ok too! There was room for anyone, whether you wanted to dance, or build sets, or do makeup. If you didn’t have any on stage talent, or even off stage talent, it was okay. You were still welcome, and you could be fit in somewhere. Anything could happen.
LOOK MA, I’M A STAR! (I’m the plant)
So that’s why I was super excited to talk to Madison Kalbhenn, a third year theatre production student, about Ryerson Theatre School. I already knew that RTS was awesome, because a) I met Maddy before, she’s awesome and b) Ryerson is awesome, but I had specific questions about the awesomeness. So we met up at Oakham Cafe for cheesy garlic bread and theatre talks.
What made you apply for Ryerson Theatre School over any of the other schools in the GTA?
RTS is the best program for what I want in the GTA. Other schools either had you forced to do acting, screenwriting, or were too theory based. RTS was hands-on from day one.
And you like it?
I love my theatre classes. They’re practical and have been since day one.
What exactly is theatre production like? I mean, I think it’s pretty easy to tell what an acting program would be like, but what hands-on things do you learn at RTS?
Basically, everything at the theatre besides being on stage. We learn about lighting, sound, stage managing, marketing, funding, front of house managing, set design. You can specialize in different areas, which is what I’m doing in stage management.
What is stage managing?
It’s kind of like shepherding. You make sure all the actors are in place, all the lighting boards and sound systems are functioning, and then when the show is on-stage, you call the show, meaning you tell the lighting operators and sound operators when to play their cues. You’re also responsible for making sure that everything is following proper safety regulations during the show.
That’s awesome! Do you learn that at school, or outside of it?
Your main class is where you work on the shows that Ryerson is doing. Every year, they do a dance show, a pantomime, and two plays. I’m the stage manager for the pantomime, Cinderella. Make sure to come check it out!
What do people in your program normally do after grad?
Well, most of them try to get work in theatre. Other people do live event stuff, so like the technicians for musicians at shows, or doing sound mixing for live events.
Are you doing anything outside of school related to Theatre?
Yeah, I shadowed the stage manager for The Book of Mormon last week, and this summer I was an apprentice on a unionized show in Port Dover.
Wow, congratulations. Any advice for incoming theatre students?
Have fun. Theatre is stressful, but have fun, otherwise, what’s the point?
Thanks for your time, Maddy. Cinderella opens up November 25th and closes November 30th, with student tickets only 15$. Go, friends! Go see something beyond your normal Friday night of Netflix! See good art!
Photos courtesy Ryerson Theatre School Audience Relations Department and Turner Sprouse Photography