Arts on campus

With three campuses and a massive undergraduate population, U of T boasts a staggering number of different communities for the artistically inclined. Here are a few of the most notable examples, broken down by interest. It’s important to keep in mind that, while many groups centre around a specific college, the majority accept members from any college or faculty. Don’t be afraid to explore; take advantage of the first few weeks of school to try your hand at different activities before deciding on the one that’s best for you.

Theatre

Getting involved in theatre on campus can be intimidating, but there’s a place for just about anybody. There are opportunities to get involved with theatre tech, and shows are always looking for stage managers and sound, lighting, and set designers. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask to shadow people — you will be welcomed with open arms and spike tape.

U of T Drama Coalition

There are several drama societies at U of T, often based around individual colleges. The U of T Drama Coalition brings all colleges together into one large theatre community. The coalition sends representatives to review all campus shows, and organizes the annual U of T Drama Festival and end-of-the-year Drama Coalition Awards. Email for more information.

Hart House Theatre

A fixture of the St. George campus since 1919, Hart House Theatre is an amazing resource for students. Not only can you audition to be part of its four-play season (this year featuring the highly anticipated Jesus Christ Superstar), but the theatre also offers a wide array of volunteer opportunities for those who want to know the ins and outs of the dramatic arts. Contact education and production coordinator Gillian Lewis for more details (Email).

Photography

There are many opportunities to be involved in photography on campus. Student-run publications are always on the hunt for photographers (hint, hint), and colleges often seek out camera-savvy students to capture their events.

Hart House Camera Club

The Hart House Camera Club, which is open to students, faculty, and alumni, holds outings and workshops. Membership costs $25, but the fee covers the cost of training and equipment for the darkroom.

Film

U of T has a thriving film community, largely affiliated with the Innis College Cinema Studies Institute. Even if you’re not part of the program, there are plenty of opportunities on campus to attend screenings and even create your own work. Here’s a tip: the University of Toronto Students’ Union offers discounted movie tickets for $9.07 that can be picked up at the union’s office.

Cinema Studies Student Union (CINSSU)

While the CINSSU is made up of, and is technically for, students in the cinema studies program, it offers a number of events for all movie-lovers on campus. It hosts free movies every Friday at the Innis Town Hall, and publishes the annual Camera Stylo, the Cinema Studies undergraduate journal. Email for more information.

Hart House Film Board

The Hart House Film Board holds filmmaking workshops and lends out professional quality film equipment for aspiring filmmakers. Membership to the club costs $25, but it’s a small price to pay for access to expensive equipment.

Dance

There’s a range of dance groups at U of T, both for those who’ve been dancing for their entire life and for those who are just getting started. These are two of the main dance companies that U of T has to offer.

Silhouettes Dance Company

Silhouettes is a respected performance dance troupe based out of U of T that performs at a number of events around the city throughout the year, including its end-of-year showcase. Auditions are held every year in September. Email for more information.

Only Human Dance Collective (OHDC)

The OHDC has an all-inclusive mandate, which means it accepts all dancers regardless of experience. The group aims to train those who are interested in learning about different styles of dance and create a home for students who are away from their own studios. Their year-end dance production features a variety of styles including jazz, modern, ballet, hip-hop, latin, and ballroom. Email for more information.

Literature

If you’ve been itching to get your writing published, U of T provides plenty of options, from department-based academic journals to student newspapers and magazines. There has never been a better time to hone your writing skills, and unlike many professional publication contests, no application fee is required.

Literary Reviews

Many of U of T’s colleges have literary journals, such as ACTA Victoriana of Victoria College, the Trinity College Review, and the University College Review. Most of these anthologies accept short stories, poetry, art, and photographs. Pick one up for free and give it a read to get inspired.

Hart House

Hart House features a wide range of opportunities for the literary-inclined. You can apply to be part of the Hart House Literary and Library Committee — which, among other things, manages the Hart House Library. There are also creative writing groups operating within Hart House that meet weekly for members to find time to write. Finally, the Hart House Review is a Canadian literary and arts magazine that is managed by students and is distributed on a national level. Students can submit work to the review and enter various contests.

Music

U of T is rife with musicians, both in the Faculty of Music and among all of its students. Practice space can be booked through the music faculty, and many other campus buildings offer access to pianos. Some colleges have separate choirs, such as the Vic Chorus, and you’ll certainly be seeing the Skule™ Stage band marching around during frosh.

Hart House

Hart House acts as a student hub when it comes to music. Sammy’s Student Exchange Café is frequently rented out for open-mic nights and cabarets. There are also many musical clubs, including the Hart House Singers and the Hart House Chorus (the former being more informal, and the latter requiring an audition), as well as the Hart House Orchestra.

Off-campus arts spots

 

Soulpepper Theatre Company

Soulpepper Theatre Company consistently produces some of Toronto’s best theatre. Youth (under 21) rush tickets are absurdly cheap for $5 at the door.

Toronto Reference Library

The Toronto Reference Library is a great place to study and to get your literary fix. Programming is constantly going on, such as author talks, art exhibits, and classes on how to use different forms of literature-related technology.

Lee’s Palace

Lee’s Palace has been a staple of the Toronto music scene for years. Its grungy, graffitied walls welcome big names and smaller indie acts. Make sure to check out a show, and head upstairs to Dance Cave afterwards. Admission to Dance Cave is free with the presentation of a student ID every Friday and Saturday night.