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Our Archives & History

Our Archives & History

Remembering 50 Years

In 2021 we celebrated our 50th anniversary, take a tour through our archives compiled by students, staff, and faculty.

Once an Intern, Always an Intern

Highlighting the community that endures and the strength of the professional relationships built over this shared experience.

Compiled by Betty Fan

Our Beginings 

The facade of 44 Gerrard St East with a logo superimposed that reads "RTS, Ryerson Theatre School"

During the 1960s and ‘70s there was tremendous growth in the Canadian Theatre Industry; in Toronto alone, several new theatre companies emerged including Theatre Passe Muraille, the Tarragon and Factory theatres. The Canadian Government established several new granting organizations, initiating several arts funding programs dedicated to the burgeoning cultural industry. Ryerson Theatre School (RTS as it was known) opened its doors in 1971, the result of a recognized need for excellence in professional theatre training.

Jack McAllister, a veteran with decades of experience in the live performance industry, looked to London’s Central School of Speech and Drama as the model for our university's own theatre. Backed by then Dean of Applied Arts, Al Sauro, and President Fred Jorgenson, McAllister's proposal was accepted. Jorgenson's successor, Donald Mordell, approached McAllister with a recommendation to incorporate the Canadian College of Dance in Montreal (associated with the Royal Academy of Dancing and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) into Ryerson's new theatre program.

In the beginning, training for acting and arts administration was offered as a four-year program and technical production and dance training was a three-year diploma. Ours became one of only two schools in North America to offer full-time professional theatre training in acting, dance teaching, arts administration, and technical production.

Performance at The Creative School offers full-time four year BFAs in Acting, Dance and Production with facilities that include a proscenium stage, flexible black box studios, rehearsal rooms, dance studios, wood/ metal workshop, scenic art/drafting lab, costume workshops, and a range of other teaching spaces. Training is offered in acting, ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary dance, scenic and costume design, lighting design, sound design, technical theatre, playwriting and directing, production and stage management as well as audience relations.


Betty Fan

Betty Fan is a Performance Production graduate (and was in her fourth year of study when these archives were compiled)  whose area of focus is stage management and technical direction. She is also passionate about history, politics, and loves exploring museums. Betty currently works in esports broadcasting and hopes to continue after graduation or go into live events. When she’s not working, she can be found playing video games or exploring around Toronto. 


Jeanette Reyes

Originally born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Jeanette Reyes took the big leap and moved to Toronto to attend the Performance Production program at Toronto Metropolitan University. Throughout middle-school and high-school, Jeanette has always been a part of the audio/visual team of school productions. Initially she was interested in pursuing a career in stage management and technical direction. However, throughout the years she reignited her passion for learning and finds herself immersed in research, performance studies and simulation. Now in her fourth year, Jeanette is taking as many courses as she can as she has fallen in love with learning new skills. After graduation she plans to continue pursuing education in the performing arts sector. Jeanette mentions, “attending Performance at the Creative School has not only helped me realize my goals, but also provided me with life-long connections with staff, students, and faculty. I would even say that they are family, and they’ve made me feel at home.


Tanvi Vyas

Tanvi is a current student of the Performance: Production program. She is passionate about all areas of arts management alongside equity, diversity and accessibility in the theatre industry. Tanvi also enjoys researching the history of performance and production techniques across the globe and creative writing. In her free time, Tanvi is usually reading, making some art or trying a new hobby - right now it’s crochet.

Cindy Phung, a young Asian woman  with hair died red. She has hearts painted around her eyes, and dramatic lipstick. She looks to the side and holds a papier mache heart in gloved hands

Cindy Phung

Cindy Phung is current Performance Production + Design student with a focus on props and costume as well as producing and writing. She is currently taking a course with a focus on costumes. Outside of the school of performance she works with many student groups as a director of graphic design as well as VP of External Relations at Panther Pikature Studios (external link) . Along with that she continues to design and try to expand her skills outside of school while daydreaming about the red carpet. After graduation she hopes to continue her career in theatre and film as a producer while creating a production company of her own with her lovely friends.