Peek Behind The Scenes: The Making of a Musical at Sheridan College

By Anne Whitehead

In the past couple of weeks, I have had the great pleasure of exploring behind the scenes of Sheridan’s MacDonald-Heaslip Hall, to see what really goes into making a musical. This short video takes you back stage with me.

I met with the Associate Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, Michael Rubinoff, to learn more about how Sheridan’s Music Theatre-Performance program works hand in hand with our Technical Production for Theatre and Live Events program. I was also able to interview student actors, costume designers, prop makers and set painters, who are all applying the skills they have learned in classes to collaborate on their graduating show at Sheridan College: Merrily We Roll Along. The show is being directed by famed Toronto theatre critic Richard Ouzounian, and runs from April 9 – 20 at Sheridan College’s Trafalgar campus.

Call the Sheridan Theatre Box Office at: +1(905)815-4049 for tickets.

What is Sheridan’s “Visual Merchandising Arts” Program?

The Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design at Sheridan College includes over 30 different artistic programs, ranging from Game Design to Visual Merchandising Arts. The latter program is less understood, though it has been at Sheridan for over 25 years and teaches very marketable skills.

In laymen’s terms, Visual Merchandising is the art of presenting products in a way that attracts consumers.

The two-year program is made up of four main components:

1.Window displays/prop production

2.Fashion and Product styling – on and off figure

3.Merchandising-Hard and soft goods/fashion and non fashion

4.Two-Dimensional Drawings/Marketing Design

Those who have passed through the B wing at Sheridan’s Trafalgar campus in the past few months have seen first year displays rotating weekly, as students apply their skills to real brands. In the past month, these display cases have been taken over by second year students. Both years have also presented in a floor-to-ceiling display case across from the cafeteria. All students work in both window environments at some point during their two years.

There are about 100 students studying VMA at Sheridan.  Most graduates get jobs as merchandisers, though the skills they learn can also be applied to other trendy skills like home staging. In fact, this industry remained a strong employer through the economic recession, possibly because selling merchandise became even more important in a competitive market.

Graduating students will exhibit their talents on April 9th at their Year-End show. The design and execution of this show is student driven (and guided by instructors) and is built into the curriculum.