Spotlight on Alumni: Rong Fu
I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since I finished school. In that time I’ve been able to catch up with friends, binge on television, and drink coffee for pleasure. Most of all, I’ve been able to enjoy being an actor.
My first job upon graduation was being cast in The Crucible and The Royal Comedians at Soulpepper Theatre Company. It was my first time acting professionally on stage, and it turned out to be a remarkable experience filled with great people. I was pleasantly surprised that the production departments at York and Soulpepper functioned alike. This, I think, speaks volumes to the professionalism of York’s production program.
I received my first television credits by working on shows such as Rookie Blue, Cracked, and Warehouse 13. I’ve also appeared in several commercials. Acting on camera was something that really intimidated me. The first time we worked with a camera at York, I prayed for the fire alarm to go off so that I can skip my turn. But now I have grown to love it – a lot.
Currently, I am the playwright in residence at fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company, and am working on a new play that will hopefully be ready for a workshop in a few months. When it comes to new play development, I’ve also been engaged as an actor in various script readings, workshops, and presentations. In addition, I am a mentor for The AMY Project, a theatre mentorship and development program for young women in Toronto.
Do you have any advice or tips for York students just about to graduate and join the job market?
Have fun at auditions. I left school expecting that the audition room would be this awkward and hostile place – it isn’t. Or it certainly doesn’t have to be, but that’s entirely up to how you approach it. As long as you walk in with a positive attitude, you will walk out feeling great. The people on the other side of the casting table are really nice, and so are the other actors in the waiting room. At least that’s been my experience so far. There are a lot of great opportunities out there so stay positive and keep cynicism at bay. Remember that talent is secondary to hard work, professionalism, and being a good person.
What was the most valuable thing you learned while studying in Theatre at York?
Don’t take everything so seriously or personally for that matter. While it’s great to have conviction, it’s equally important not to let it get in the way of personal growth and happiness. Once I absorbed that lesson (after much trial and tribulation) I was finally able to have fun with the work again.
What did you NOT get taught at York that you wish you had been taught?
Taxes! I’m doing mine now and I wish I was more knowledgeable in this area. We covered some basics in Peter McKinnon’s class, but a more detailed session on how to prepare taxes as actors would have been really helpful.
What is your fondest memory of studying Theatre at York?
I loved working on all of our fourth year productions, but the one I had the most fun with was playing Mother in Edward Bond’s Restoration directed by David Storch. It was our final production and it was a musical. I was very skeptical when I first read the script, especially since I’m not much of a singer. The rehearsal process turned out to be wonderfully challenging and deliciously fun. The more we worked on it, the more I fell in love with the story, characters and themes. In the end, I think we put on a great show.
What was your favourite place at York, and why?
The ACE 207 studio because it’s so spacious and there’s a microwave in the dressing room!