With the Ryerson Theatre School’s annual New Voices series – showcasing dance, theatre and set design work from the program’s fourth-year students – quickly approaching on March 26, Ryersonian reporter Kelly McDowell spoke with producer Sheldon Rosen on what to expect from the show. The performance series runs until April 9.
Q: What is New Voices?
A: It is a variety of performances, both theatre plays and dances created entirely by fourth year students at the Ryerson Theatre School. The pieces range from 10 minutes to an hour and a half, and each are generally in two of the 10 nights of performances.
Q: What are the responsibilities of the creators?
A: It’s outrageous what they’re responsible for. They write it, cast it, produce it, and rehearse it. They are responsible for costumes, props, finding rehearsal space and time. It’s incredible.
Q: How long have you been producing the show?
A: I have been the only producer since it started 10 years ago, but then it was only one or two nights. This year we have 10 nights of performances, which is the largest we’ve had it.
Q: What does the production team do?
A: They create an overall lighting plan, set the stage – so much happens because each producer gets a team of students to help with the production. I honestly don’t think that we would be able to do it without the production team of volunteers.
Q: What challenges does New Voices have?
A: For me, it’s a challenge to choose the pieces, give creative and constructive feedback and to organize the shows. For the student’s, it’s fully taking on responsibility to become producer and creator for the pieces.
Q: What is the audition process like?
A: I make my choices early in the process; I don’t see the finished pieces from beginning to end until the final shows. I choose which ones have momentum and potential to become full pieces.
Q: Which students are involved in the show?
A: Only fourth-year students can create the pieces and be named as producer of the piece, but they can bring on students from other years. They can bring on people who don’t even go to the school. We have over 100 students involved, the producers can’t do everything themselves.
Q: Do students always make the best choice?
A: Occasionally there are times when I think ‘That wasn’t as good as I first thought,’ but usually I do find that the hard work pays off and the pieces are very well done.
Q: What feedback about the shows do the students have?
A: The producers and performers often tell me that this is the most exciting thing they did throughout their schooling, and that it has prepared them for a professional career. I want this to show them what the real world will be like after school.
Q: What is your overall impression of the show?
A: I’m so glad that I get to be a part of this; I get to see the student’s grow. I’m like a proud father. I worry if they present their pieces well, I want them to do well. I worry more about them than I do my own work, but the results are usually astounding.