Guide to Ryerson’s Performing Arts scene

Just because you arent in a performing arts program doesnt mean you can’t set foot on a stage. There is a smorgasbord of groups at Ryerson catered to anyone with an interest in the performing arts. The best part? Most of them dont require you to be a reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix or Barbra Streisand. Heres a list of groups available at Ryerson that provide a creative outlet for anyone with a passion for the arts.

Musicians@Ryerson

Do you enjoy performing? Are you looking for someone to start a band with or are you simply keen on anything related to music? Musicians@Ryerson has you covered. Now in its fourth year, Musicians@Ryerson has grown to over 1,200 members on Facebook. They host open mics, lessons, orchestra sessions and formal performances. Musicians in the past have brought a diverse mix of genres, ranging from pop, folk, jazz, heavy metal, and even Celtic.

Musicians@Ryerson is also big on connecting musicians. Little Boxer and Mayraki are two of the several bands who have found members through Musicians@Ryerson events.

Its a great feeling to be able to have musicians network so easily,said Victor Copetti, president of the group.

Weekly open mics happen Wednesdays at the Ram in the Rye at 8 p.m.

Poetic Exchange

Poetic Exchange

Image courtesy of Poetic Exchange

Poetic Exchange was established last year at Ryerson in response to the growing slam poetry scene in Toronto. They host their own slams with up to 12 competitors doing two rounds of poetry. The slammers with the highest scores will qualify to compete in the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational. Last year, Poetic Exchange was the first Canadian team to participate. They hope to compete at the 2016 CUPSI, which will be held in Texas in April.

If competing with other poetry slammers from Harvard and NYU isn’t your thing, Poetic Exchange also has workshops where you can work on your own poems with other poets.

“It’s a really great, open space to work on your writing and on your style, as well as to meet other people with similar interests,” said Olivia Amu, Poetic Exchange’s president. “It’s just a nice, calming atmosphere.”

Poetic Exchange’s next poetry slam is Nov. 13.

Ryerson Community Theatre

The world is your stage with Ryerson Community Theatre. Formerly known as the Oakham Amateur Campus Theatre, the RCT is one of the oldest groups on campus. They provide a free platform for playwrights, directors, and actors to improve their skills and to express themselves artistically.

We want to give a chance for people who dont want this to be their career, but still be involved in the arts,said Divya Chand, the groups general manager.

When it comes to screenplays, nothing is too outlandish for the RCT. As long as it has artistic merit, good writing and a good story, anything can be turned into a production.

Auditions for actors will be from Nov. 11-13. Ryerson Community Theatre welcomes anyone, including people outside of Ryerson.

Ryerson Musical Theatre Company

RMTC - Sunita Singh Hans

Image by Sunita Singh Hans

If youre into singing, dancing, acting, working backstage and all that jazz, then the Ryerson Musical Theatre Company might be a great match for you. The RMTC provides opportunities to get involved in musical theatre, even if you arent in a theatre or dance program.

Robyn Hoja, the groups president, wanted to be involved in theatre when she moved to Toronto, but the theatre companies available at the time were too competitive. She wanted something more laid back and fun.

No matter if you were on stage or backstage or in the pit, that love and family that theatre creates never goes away,said Hoja. With the RMTC up and running, Ryerson can now be part of an energetic and enthusiastic musical theatre family.

The RMTC is currently working on their first production, Thoroughly Modern Millie. Orchestra auditions for Ryerson students will be on Oct. 28 and 29.

Ryerson Barrel of Monkeys Improv Team

Whats more fun than a barrel of monkeys? Barrel of Monkeys is a resource for non-theatre students to participate in improv activities in a relaxed and accepting environment. The groups main goal is to be spontaneous and silly, relieving the pressures of everyday student life. They provide a good mix of fun and skill building.

Improv is just another good way that you learn how to interact with people,said Barrel of Monkeys co-captain James Dittburner. It puts you on the spot, which you might be in any sort of professional or academic setting.

The group puts a strong emphasis on providing an accepting space. Its a place where anyone can be themselves and be accepted and just have fun,said co-captain Shannon McMullin.

Meetings are every Tuesday or Thursday and consist of playing improv games. Members have the option to perform or to just watch.

S.W.A.T. (Songwriters Advocating Teamwork)

Have a few rhymes up your sleeve? Show them off with S.W.A.T. It’s a new group, creating a community for rappers, songwriters, DJs and producers at Ryerson. Angelo Robb, the president of S.W.A.T. thought of creating this group after attending a songwriting workshop with Poetic Exchange and Musicians@Ryerson.

Were still evolving as a group and we look forward to finding more people who just want to meet creative people and make Ryerson more of a music scene,said Robb.

S.W.A.T. is more artist-focused, making music more accessible for students who have always wanted to rap or write music but haven’t had the chance to. They provide a space for you to channel your inner Jay-Z and exercise your songwriting and rapping skills.

The group is currently working on a mixtape project, collecting different music and working with different rappers at Ryerson. They’re planning to have an album release party in the future.

Featured image (Musicians@Ryerson) by Carlo Torres