Theatre school finds temporary home in SLC

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By Deni Verklan

As of fall 2016, Ryerson Theatre School (RTS) students will be temporarily relocated to the Student Learning Centre (SLC).

The students will occupy the lower level of the SLC, and will hopefully be moving into a new space by 2019, according to President Sheldon Levy.

Levy said the challenge is to stop looking at options for the permanent home and make a decision by the end of the 2015-2016 year.

“The problem is … the difficulty of building [in] downtown Toronto,” he said.

But RTS chair Peggy Shannon is excited about next year’s transition to the SLC.

“The SLC is actually being custom-built for the theatre school,” Shannon said. “We’ve been in very, very intensive meetings with the [architecture, engineering] team regarding what the theatre school would need in terms of … performance space.”

RTS students can expect state of the art equipment, custom-designed dance floors with no pillars in the middle of the room (as is the case with the current RTS building) and access to better performance space in the SLC, according to Shannon.

“It’s an incredibly exciting new era, I think,” she said. “And this is just the first step in that change and in that transition.”

Third-year dance student Katrina Grogan will graduate before the transition is complete, but said she still approves of the changes.

“It’s a world class program, and it needs world class facilities to go with it,” Grogan said. “As long as it’s not limiting, it doesn’t really matter what space we work in. As dancers, we’re used to having to work with spaces that aren’t ideal.”

Shannon said that the move will still be demanding, given the space limitations of the SLC — which will restrict acceptances into RTS programs — and the difficulty for instructors to “teach out of the box.”

“I don’t know if we’re going to have two spaces (with the SLC and a new place),” she said. “It’s hard to know what the new building will be, because we’re not even in the SLC yet.”

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