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Alumni Profiles

Neil Silcox

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Year of Graduation: 2005
Program: Theatre and Drama Studies (Bachelor of Arts)

Helping Young Artists Reach Their Full Potential

Neil Silcox has been the Artistic Director of the Toronto Youth Theatre (TYT) since the summer of 2011.

He brings a 12-year history of working in youth theatre, both at the Original Kids Theatre Company in London, Ontario and with the Toronto Youth Theatre. For the TYT Neil has directed A Midsummer Night's Dream, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, MWAHAHAHAHA!!! (Show-In-A-Week 2010); and a 2010 Broadway World award winning production of RENT.

Neil has also directed Urinetown, Romeo and Juliet, Chess and Chekhov By The Sea As an actor Neil has appeared as Lawrence in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Buckingham in Richard III, Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Edgar in King Lear and Protean in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Malvolio in Twelfth Night and Oliver in As You Like It (Canopy Theatre) and Antiphlus of Ephesus in A Comedy Of Errors (Humber River Shakespeare).

In addition to his Sheridan/UTM degree, Neil holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario. He calls the joint Theatre and Drama Studies program unique in the way that it teaches its students about art. “Throughout the four years, students are encouraged to collaborate as much as possible. The result is an exceptionally co-operative and positive environment in a field where there is bound to be intense competition.”

Another important reason for the strength of the program is the involvement of the professors, Neil adds. “The faculty on both the UTM and Sheridan side are deeply involved in the academic lives of their students, but more importantly, they take an active interest in their personal lives as well helping students to reach their full potential.”

Neil illustrates his point with a memory from his Sheridan days when he was playing the role of Mr. Darcy in the production of Pride and Prejudice directed by Program Coordinator, Patrick Young.

Struggling with a long-standing speech impediment (a sibilant 'S'), Neil turned to Patrick for advice. “Patrick told me that the work I had been doing to fix my sibilance was really helping, but that I was trying too hard and that my tension was making the issue worse. He asked me why it couldn't be true that Mr. Darcy had a slight sibilance and that that was part of the reason he was so grumpy and closed-lipped all the time. It is a lesson that I often think back on: the idea of not fighting who you are as an actor, but instead working the truth of your own experience into your performance.”

http://www.torontoyouththeatre.org/