So You Want To Earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts…

Introduce yourself!

I’m Annasofie Jakobsen and I just completed my first year majoring in Performance Production! I’m from Vancouver, BC but I now live in the heart of Toronto studying what I love! Even though I only figured out that I wanted to go to school for technical theatre recently, I’m no stranger to the fine arts. I grew up watching musicals and dancing my little heart out until the twelfth grade. While the stage is where I grew up, I’ve realized that home is calling cues in a tech booth surrounded with lighting and sound boards.

How would you describe your program to someone who knows nothing about it?

It always takes me a few minutes of rambling to properly explain what exactly Performance Production is. I’d describe my program as one that specializes in all things technical that have to do with live performance. It’s a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program that focuses on teaching you everything about the industry. So, while there are a lot of hands-on projects and shows that you’ll find yourself working on, you’re also in class learning about the technical aspects of the industry. We’re the ones wearing all black calling cues, climbing tall ladders to hang cables and single handedly keeping the Starbucks on Church and Gerrard in business.

 What is your favourite thing about your program?

I love how small the program is because it really builds a sense of community amongst everyone, regardless of year. The classes are relatively small, so building a good student/professor relationship is easy. During Orientation they told us that they wanted us to be their number one priority and speaking from personal experience, they’ve upheld this promise and have been accommodating and understanding regardless of circumstance. Another big reason why I love the program so much is because everyone is there because they want to be. It’s not the sort of degree to get “just because”. There’s something special about being surrounded by people who are interested in different things but collectively love what they do so much.

What is your favourite thing about Ryerson?

Coming from Vancouver I’m no stranger to big cities, but it’s one thing to be living right in the centre of the city all the time, but I love it! It’s never boring (or quiet), especially living on campus. I’ve met some of my best friends by living in residence and I highly encourage you to live on campus for your first year if it’s an option. I lived in Pitman Hall and wouldn’t have traded my experience there for the world. There’s something wild about being only an elevator ride away from your friends and being able to walk into the dining hall at any given moment and see a few friends. Another favourite thing about Ryerson is Lake Devo! In the winter, if we were ever bored, my friends and I would grab our skates and do a few laps. It’s great if you want to get some exercise!

What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your program?

When I came to Ryerson, I promised myself that I would squeeze everything I could out of the program. When reflecting on my first year, I feel like I’ve definitely done so. One of the best things I’ve done with the Ryerson School of Performance was applying to be on the student union as a committee member. The RSPSU organizes events, merch and all the closing parties! I volunteered to be the interim VP of Communications and loved every moment of it. It’s been nothing but rewarding and I’m so excited to be heading into my second year of being VP of Communications. I run the Instagram for the union – be sure check it out!

What has been your favourite class that you’ve taken?

My favourite class that I’ve taken so far is probably the THP (Production Technique) classes because of how much is taught in them. Within two semesters, we were taught the basics of sewing, carpentry, lighting design, sound design and projections. Coming into this program I really only had experience in stage management and one thing I really like about this course is how it’s designed to help you learn. You will quickly learn that it’s okay that you don’t know everything, the professors and instructors are there to teach you. You just need an open mind. I didn’t know that I’d like carpentry as much as I did and I definitely learnt that lighting… isn’t really my thing. However, I’m glad that I’m being taught all these things because how else would I have known?

Has your perception of your program changed from the beginning of first year to now?

I was definitely really worried about the workload and whether I’d be able to adjust to a new city on top of everything but it was really manageable! I realized very early on that everyone here at the School of Performance only wants to see you succeed. They have your back and that is very encouraging to remember when it feels overwhelming.

What is your advice for future students in your program?

To students who are applying and stressing about your portfolio – don’t! It’s okay if you don’t have years of experience, they’re looking for passion and if you’re willing to learn. I myself didn’t have that much of a production background and I know a few people in the program who didn’t either. Don’t sweat the interview too much either – everyone is very sweet and they just want to get to know you! For students who have been accepted, my advice for you is to have fun! Have an open mind, a good attitude and you’ll definitely have a good first year. Also, don’t be scared of the upper years! They’re all really nice and will answer any questions that you may have!

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