Soon UTS students will be making music, performing live theatre, and bringing people together to experience art in our renewed building at 371 Bloor, says Sarah Shugarman, UTS Expressive Arts Department Coordinator and Music Teacher. “We know that people are lifted up and inspired by the space around them,” says Sarah. “Imagine how much better their work will be and how much more incredible students will feel in such a beautiful space, which is equal to their potential!”
Sarah says she’s looking forward to the new Withrow Auditorium which will have the capacity for an audience of 700 people, a stage that accommodates a range of ensembles, and acoustics of unprecedented quality at UTS. When it opens, Sarah’s 101-year-old grandmother Libby Grant, a lover of music and the arts, will be honoured on an inscribed plate on one of the seats, sponsored by Sarah through the Building the Future campaign’s Take Your Seat initiative.
As new performance spaces in the heart of Toronto, the Withrow Auditorium and Jackman Theatre at UTS open up possibilities for collaborations with other arts organizations at University of Toronto and in the city, such as hosting music ensembles, interdisciplinary theatre and dance performances, and even possibly UTS festivals of the arts.
The renewed school’s dedicated music practice rooms will allow students to focus deeply on the nuances of a piece without interruption, putting an end to the UTS practice of repurposing hallways, closets and stairwells for rehearsal space.
Before Sarah became a Music teacher at UTS, she travelled extensively and spent time volunteering and working in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Japan and the Pacific Northwest. Also a professional musician and composer, Sarah has studied theatre, has a background in dance and had art exhibited in the Diane Farris Gallery. At UTS, she helped develop the foundation Drama program. “I think the most important job we have as educators is to give students the tools to know and express themselves, to understand others, and to connect deeply with the world,” she says. “The arts are so intrinsic to who we are and how we interact with the world around us.”
Just like the renewed building brings old and new together, she says the arts at UTS meld time-honoured tradition with innovation. In visual arts, that means growing digital and design capacities that reinvigorate creative work in the new Lang Innovation Lab and media lab alongside print-making and ceramics. In the UTS music program, it means being able to fully explore the intersections between digital and acoustic performance and creation, theory and research, and strengthening connections with U of T Music.
UTS has nurtured world-class playwrights, photographers, actors, choreographers, conductors, composers and musicians. “Emma Meinrenken ’17 is one of the most exciting young violinists in the world right now,” Sarah says. “Other alumni are at the cutting-edge of music research looking at neuroscience and cognition. So imagine what a world-class space will do for our students.”
You can make sure that music and art students have all the furniture and equipment they need in time for their return to 371 Bloor this November.