Upon starting my summer position at Theatre Ontario, I never thought I would have the opportunity to witness any of the workshops the organization has to offer. While a large part of my responsibilities, especially early on in my internship, fell on coordinating the annual Summer Theatre Intensive during the weeks leading up to it, it was always under the assumption that I would not be in attendance for it. So it was with pleasure, eagerness, and curiosity that I went to Waterloo for the majority of the Summer Intensive week when the opportunity arose.
What I witnessed were fiery students who craved to gain the most out of their experiences. Late on my first evening there, I walked past the student common lounge, where participants were engaged in an impassioned discussion about the ‘external conflict’ in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, after having spent the entire day actively participating in classes. Most agreed to have their classes start earlier than scheduled. Pairs of students spent the bus ride to the Stratford Festival (for a performance of Man of La Mancha) going over lines of their scenes, not to waste a moment’s time. Most potently, as I was sitting out in the hallway to the classrooms one afternoon, a participant ran past me on the way to the bathroom—“I have to go so bad, but I don’t want to miss a word!” she explained in her haste. Clearly, these were students who were there to work.
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The week did not go by without its challenges. Disruptions and unexpected changes occurred in the residence building and the surrounding campus. But even in the face of these challenges, the spirit of the courses, the magic of the theatre, was kept alive in the determination of the instructors and their participating students. It even stimulated some creative juices—the musical theatre class used these extenuating circumstances as inspiration for their final musical revue performance, a piece that was both honest, and kneel-over hilarious.
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It was a pleasure to be reminded of this once again.
Find out more about Theatre Ontario's Summer Theatre Intensive