For #PlaySmelter 2017, we’re interviewing some of the great actors, writers, designers, producers, and key creatives involved in building our annual festival of new work.

Ruthie Nkut is a member of #PlaySmelter’s inaugural Producer’s Unit. She is an actor, musician and creator raised in Sudbury.  In Sudbury she has worked extensively with YES Theatre appearing in 6 productions with them including Jesus Christ Superstar (Ensemble), Les Miserables with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra (Fantine) and Fiddler on the Roof (Frumah Sarah).  She has studied classical singing and piano since she was young has won many awards at the Kiwanis music festival including Top Senior Vocalist and Top Intermediate Pianist.  When she was 1 year out of high school she auditioned for the George Brown Theatre Performance Program and is now finishing her second year.  At George Brown she has worked closely with her 15 fellow classmates and many wonderful directors/ teachers.  Some highlights there include Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, Neyssa in In This World and Lady Teazle in School for Scandal.  Next year she hopes to return to George Brown for the third year showcase season!

1. Why is The Producer’s Unit opportunity exciting to you?

I’ve been really looking forward to the Producer’s Unit because it’s an amazing opportunity to learn about things I could never learn in a classroom.  Having real, hands on experience is the best way of figuring out the ins and outs of a process and seeing what works for you.  This is the perfect opportunity to explore that and to work with/ learn from artists who have really made a difference in our community here in Sudbury.  It’s always exciting for me to come back to the place I grew and be a part of the art that it popping up all around the city.  Also, to be a part of new work is something that I have never experienced in Sudbury before and as I have always hoped to produce my own work to some capacity, this feels like such an amazing insight into that specific world.

2. As someone who has had experience in theatre in both Northern and Southern Ontario, do you notice differences between processes  or needs, depending on location?

I think one of the things about Toronto is there is so much theatre.  Everyone has a theatre company, every is working on shows and producing their own work and so right now the theatre scene feels almost limitless.  There are also more opportunities to showcase work in Toronto like the Fringe Festival, Summer Works, the New Musical Theatre festival etc.  So I think one of the biggest differences is the audience that we create for here as opposed to there.  It would be next to impossible to do some of the shows people do in Toronto here because there just wouldn’t be a big enough market, which is a shame.  In terms of the way the process works I feel like things are pretty similar.  There is obviously larger scale theatre in Toronto in terms of facility and funding but it’s all a similar kind of process.  I would say there is more creation of new work in Toronto, probably partially because of market again.

3. What type of work do you aspire to do/create as an emerging Theatre artist?

As an emerging artist I would like to work on my own shows and lift new work into the world.  Because Canada’s theatre is so young, in comparison to European theatre for example, we are still establishing who we are and what our theatre is and I would love to continue to be a part of that.  I want to help the theatre community in Sudbury grow and to provide opportunity for young artists in the North to experience theatre.  Not only young artists but everyone.  I would also like to work in Toronto and find my way there as an actor/ creator.  Theatre in Canada is slowly starting to shift towards more diversity on stage and off and that is something I will be a part of.

To see a full #PlaySmelter festival schedule and to purchase tickets, click the button below!

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