In 1935, twins Gail and Joan Ferriss (now Sheard and Hatch, respectively) were among the first women to take the stage in the UC Follies (U of T’s largest and oldest theatre revue), an exploit that scandalized the dean of women when she first heard about it. “But at breakfast the next morning she said ‘her girls’ had raised the tone of the production,” says Sheard, reflecting on how times have changed since her university years.
The sisters, now 87, received Chancellor’s Circle medals in honour of the 65th anniversary of their convocation – along with grads from 1927, 1932, 1942 and 1947 – at this year’s Spring Reunion. Some of the highlights of the event, which took place in June, included a “Great Books by Great Grads” book fair; a lecture by Nobel Prize-winner and U of T Professor John Polanyi; and a 50th anniversary luncheon featuring Professor Martin Friedland (BComm 1955 UC, LLB 1958, LLD Hon. 2001), author of the recently published The University of Toronto: A History. With entertainment ranging from go-go dancers to a concert by renowned ragtime pianist John Arpin, this year’s event paid tribute to U of T’s 175th anniversary while celebrating the bright futures of today’s and tomorrow’s grads.
A U of T lab is working with actors, writers and directors on how they could harness AI and other emerging technologies to generate new ideas and – just maybe – reinvent theatre