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Tyler Rizzuto

BA English (4th year)

Can you tell us about the Oakham Community Theatre’s 2020 Annual Play Festival?

Oakham Community Theatre’s 2020 Play Festival, “Coming Undone,” is a compilation of 5 short original plays featured in nightly shows. Each individual show features all 5 plays for audiences to enjoy. The show will be taking place from Wednesday March 11th to Saturday March 14th at 7 PM each night with a Saturday matinee at 2 PM. Tickets are 15 dollars each (but only 10 dollars if you use the promo code “BEARD” or “BOYFRIEND”). Performances take place really close to Ryerson at Aki Studio near Dundas and Parliament. If you want a great night out with your friends, this is the place to be! You can grab your tickets here: https://www.nativeearth.ca/akistudio/coming-undone/?fbclid=IwAR3mRdE_slRqp6Me6FdoAp-apRicEGVdHqJd5_Jn64Q6RH8GU83-u_efSAo, external link, opens in new window

What should audience members look forward to?

Audience members have lots to look forward to! The lineup has an excellent mix of dramas and comedies which are sure to make you laugh and cry. I think the most unique aspect of the show is that all these plays are written, directed, and acted by community members, many of which are students. That means everyone who watches the show will be seeing these works for the first time as these productions have never been featured anywhere before. You will also have the opportunity to see young people develop their skills on both the performing and technical sides, which is an amazing sight to see.

Why should English students attend?

English students should attend because seeing a show like this one can really open up their minds to what the power of an English degree holds when you are able to create unique and powerful art such as these plays. Moreover, attending the show is another medium to experience some compelling stories that go beyond reading. Watching these plays will be a great way to escape from everyday life and be consumed in another interesting world crafted for your pleasure.

Coming out to the festival is also a great way for English students to support their fellow peers as there are lots of Ryerson English majors that write, act, and direct for OCT. Lastly, if someone is thinking about joining the group, seeing this show would greatly capture OCT’s essence and would be a great way to see what we are all about, which will help them decide whether they want to take steps to officially join.

What is your role in the theatre group, OCT? How will you be involved in the 2020 Annual play festival?

This year I am acting as lead characters in two of the five plays being performed, one of which I wrote. The script I created is called “Boyfriend Troubles,” and the other play I am acting in is called “Growing a Beard,” written and directed by my good friend, Katherine Ross. Acting in these plays are an experience like no other since you are preparing throughout the entire semester for this week, which includes nightly rehearsals and lots of one-on-one meetings to discuss characters and more. During show week, I show up to the theatre beforehand to get in costume, warm up with my amazing cast, and prepare to give it my all each night.

You’re a theatre group operating around Ryerson campus. Besides the Annual Play Festival, what other ways can students view your works or participate?

There are lots of events occurring throughout the season! We have improv nights, audition workshops, script writing competitions where the winner’s work gets performed, and we have other shows like our annual “Autumn showcase” where community members can perform live scenes and monologues. Like us on Facebook at “Oakham Community Theatre” and you will get all the updates for future events. You can also sign up for our mailing list by reaching out to oakham.community.theatre@gmail.com. There, you will get direct emails informing you of new and exciting events being featured within the community that you can join.

Why and how did you join the OCT? How can aspiring student artists get involved, if interested, to showcase their own works?

I joined OCT in my first week at Ryerson. I was a first-year student with a love for theatre and wanted to get involved on campus. My friends and I went to the club fair and that’s where I found OCT’s table. I signed up for the mailing list, went to their “meet and greet”, and went to their play festival auditions that month. I got offered my first role in an OCT play and the rest is history. Since then I have served on the group’s executive team as an “Executive at Large” for two years and I have acted in a total of six OCT plays including the ones I’m in right now.

I highly recommend that aspiring student artists get involved with our group since OCT can provide great resources to help creators develop their work. The best way to look into ways of showcasing their work is by reaching out to “Oakham Community Theatre” via Facebook or they can send an email to oakham.community.theatre@gmail.com, opens in new window to ask if there are any upcoming opportunities for them. As I mentioned before, the best way to get consistent notifications for upcoming detailed opportunities would be by liking the Facebook page and signing up for their mailing list. Ultimately, my favourite aspect of OCT is the community it provides. Being a part of such a community-oriented group provides such a special space to make life-long memories with such great friends. I think the group is a great space for anyone! If you join, you will be accepted with open arms.