Busy summer for Truro actress

Raissa Tetanish
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TRURO – A summer full of performances with the Charlottetown Festival’s Young Company group proved to be a special experience for musical theatre student Robyn Harrison.

“It was awesome,” said the 21-year Truro resident, of the six-day-a-week performances. “I’ve never done a long run before, and this was almost every day so it prepared me for such a long run.”

The two-month program, which featured several different productions, also allowed Harrison and 11 other participants to continue their learning with classes following every performance.

Performances began at noon and classwork, such as acting classes with Michael Chekhov and singing with Marcus Nance, ran from 2 to 6 p.m.

“It was really interesting to keep every day fresh with the performance. We had to find something new every day. It was hard keeping up our stamina,” she said.

With a dream of ending up on Canada’s biggest stages of Shaw and Stratford, as well as Broadway, Harrison enjoyed the intimate setting at the festival.

“It was really nice to be able to have (the audience) up close,” she said. “By having that, you can have direct interaction with them. In an amphitheatre, you have bright lights in your eyes and you can’t really make eye contact with them.”

During the 41-performance festival, Harrison was one of two students to be given a $3,000 Summit Award.

“I was really surprised when I found out I won it. We knew there would be one or two given out, and we knew it would be going to someone in the group. I was really shocked and excited.”

She said it’s hard to get financial support to continue studies in the field, but she’s been “lucky this year.”

Harrison was awarded, for the second time, a Nova Scotia Talent Trust Scholarship, and was the winner of a Canadian Federation of University Women Scholarship. She also received a Voice Concepts Award through Sheridan College in Toronto, all while keeping straight A’s last semester.

“I’ve always been a hard-working student and try to do my best in everything I do,” she said, who returns Sheridan College this weekend to begin her third year of studies.

For this upcoming school year, Harrison has three major changes along with the continuing singing, acting, dancing and film classes.

“We will have some acting and pop critiques, and we are able to audition for all the shows that will be put on between January and April,” she said, adding she’s most looking forward to auditioning for the college’s shows.

“We finally get to apply what we’ve learned in school.”

With only two years left in her program, Harrison said the hardest thing she needs to tackle is finding the time and space to do all that needs to be done.

“There’s so much to do in so little time. We have assessments all at one time, so it’s hard finding time to rehearse for everything.”



Twitter: @TDNRaissa



Robyn Harrison

Age: 21

Lives: in Truro

Attending: Toronto’s Sheridan College – she’s entering the third year of a four-year musical theatre program

When she was younger: She was a frequent performer at the Kiwanis Music Festival

Just finished: performing with the Charlottetown Festival’s Young Company group in a production of Les Feux Follets, a celebration of Canadian culture through high energy dance

Has recently been awarded: A $3,000 Summit Award through the Young Company group, a second Nova Scotia Talent Trust Scholarship, the Canadian Federation of University Women Scholarship, and a Voice Concepts Award through Sheridan College

Organizations: Sheridan College, Nova Scotia Talent Trust Scholarship, Canadian Federation of University Women Scholarship Young Company

Geographic location: Truro, Canada, Toronto Broadway Charlottetown

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