By Sarah Boesveld
Discussion between Ryerson University and historic concert theatre Massey Hall could mean students will soon grace the same stage as Neil Young and Jerry Seinfeld.
President Sheldon Levy approached Massey Hall CEO Charles Cutts last summer with the idea to form a partnership with the landmark on Shuter Street.
“Using Massey Hall would be of great benefit to us,” Levy said.
The deal could not only benefit theatre and dance students, but also business and engineering students, said Julia Hanigsberg, Ryerson’s representative in the talks.
Talks are still preliminary, she said, and no definite plans have been made.
“It’s all about excitement right now… Ryerson is a visionary institution. Massey Hall is an institution with lots of vision. Now we’re looking at how we (can) work together.”
The ball is in Ryerson’s court as it tries to figure out what it can offer the 133-year-old concert hall in return for using its space.
Heather Clark, director of marketing and development for Massey Hall says a partnership with the university is only logical.
“We’re a major cultural venue downtown, and while Ryerson doesn’t have a music program, it certainly has a theatre program. It would make sense if the two cooperated,” she said.
“We have empty nights and empty days…we’re always looking for rental activity.”
Perry Schneiderman, chair of the theatre program, was asked three days ago by the dean of the communication and design faculty, Daniel Doz, to tell Massey Hall more about the theatre program, but he doesn’t know when the conversation will happen.
Theatre students were excited when told about the talks.
“It’s a common thing that theatre schools are paired with (professional) theatres,” said second-year acting student Erin Dickson.
“It’s kind of BS we don’t have anything like that.”
George Brown’s theatre school partnered with Soulpepper Theatre Company in 2005 to build the Young Centre for Performing Arts where both now share a stage.