Bringing drama to UTM

Stephanie Dadd, 19, curls up on a couch in the Student Centre. She wears a black hoodie and navy blue UTM rowing track pants. Her short brown hair is tied up and her laptop sticks out of her backpack. Like many students, shes not completely sure what she wants to do after she graduates, but she has one major passion—theatre. I always had an interest in theatre, but in grade 12, I got to spend a lot of time backstage. I really liked the rush, Dadd says.

Dadd, a second-year English and drama double major, participated in several plays when she attended Father Michael Goetz Secondary School. She played the witch in the musical Into the Woods and was Mrs. Claus in A Ticket to the North Pole. Shakespeares play, The Tempest, is among her favourites, as well as the 2002 movie, Adaptation.

Aside from obligations such as a four-course load and a part-time job at Chapters, Dadd is currently establishing a club at UTM. I was looking to join a drama club, but there wasnt one. People in my drama class asked about it, so I thought maybe Ill just be the one to make one.

Dadd says that the idea popped into her head at the end of September. I thought it was really strange that UTM didnt have a drama club, especially because theres such a strong theatre program here. There was a drama club in the past, but it seems like no one cared to get it recognized.

In October, she sent out emails through the English and Drama departments to recruit members. She received about 50 responses from interested students. There have been some drama majors, minors, and students not in drama. Its a nice range, Dadd says.

Once the club is officially recognized, Dadd hopes to hold improv nights and perform shows in the MiST Theatre. She plans to put money collected from ticket sales towards future plays. She also wants to travel to high schools to perform for youths. This idea is based on her own high school experience, since her school did not have a specialized drama program. Dadd maintains that theatre is an important aspect of education. I would like to give people opportunities that I didnt have in high school, Dadd says.

Another important event is the upcoming U of T Drama Festival, held annually at Hart House. The festival will take place in February 2010, and is popular for its student-written plays. Some students have already contacted Dadd with ideas. The Drama Coalition runs the event and Dadd juggles attending their meetings with participating in Leading Ladies, a youth outreach drama program at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto.

Even though she has yet to assign positions in the club and complete the clubs constitution, Dadd is dedicated to creating the drama club. She was ambitious enough to start her own business making clay charms when she was in grade eight, but admits, Its taking up a lot of time. I didnt know how much work goes into starting a club.

When asked if she plans to start any other campus clubs, Dadd smiles and shakes her head. No. Thisll be my baby.

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