April 2, 2017

Spotlight on Alumni: Tori Anderson

Tori Anderson
Tori Anderson

Since graduating from York’s acting program, Tori Anderson (BFA 2011) has continued to work in film, TV and theatre in Canada and the US. Most recently, she starred as Evie in the rom-com drama series No Tomorrow (CW). She has also worked on Killjoys (Syfy), The Other Kingdom (Nickelodeon, Family), Open Heart (YTV, TeenNick), Heartland (CBC), Backstrom (Fox), Reign (CW, M3TV), Warehouse 13 (Syfy), Rookie Blue (Global/ABC), The LA Complex (CW, CTV), Murdoch Mysteries (City TV), Mayday (Discovery), The Troop (Nickelodeon), The 4400 (CBS). Her film credits include Killing Daddy, The Mermaid Chair, To Have and to Hold and Cable Beach. On stage, Tori portrayed Michelle Phillips in Dream a Little Dream at the Phoenix Theatre in Arizona and Viv in the world premiere of the performance piece Habit at the Luminato Festival.

What was the most valuable thing you learned while studying in Theatre at York?

One of the most valuable things I learned during my time at York was to approach acting through various techniques. Almost every teacher in the Acting Conservatory offers a unique perspective of how to approach a new character. Some of their processes spoke to me, while others did not, but it was through this exploration that I found what worked for me. Through trial and error, I settled upon an amalgamation of my teachers’ methods. I personally felt inspired to look beyond the page by using other forms of art as fuel.

Tori Anderson as Evie in No Tomorrows
Tori Anderson as Evie in No Tomorrow

What did you do for the first summer out of the program?

Before I graduated I was fortunate to have booked a Summerworks show called Habit which led me into my first summer out of the program. The play was 90 minutes long and was continuously looped for eight hours. Without the extensive training that I received at York, I don’t think I would have been physically and mentally prepared for such an undertaking. The audience was permitted to come into our performance area (which was a house set up inside OCADU) or simply watch from the windows. Throughout the play our blocking wasn’t set, but instead we were encouraged to do as we pleased: cook food, use the washroom, take a shower, change our clothes. We could do whatever we wanted as long as we stayed on script. It was an full-blown actors playground with a voyeuristic setting, and the time we spent exploring and playing at York assisted me with that.

Tori in Killjoys
Tori Anderson in Killjoys

If you had the chance to go back and visit your younger self as you were beginning your studies at York, what advice would you give yourself?

Chill out. Screw up more. Ask more questions. Enrich your life outside of the program.

Do you have any advice or tips for York students just about to graduate? about to join the job market?

Your idiosyncrasies are your strength — don’t forget them. This industry is full of rejection and it can be incredibly disheartening when nothing goes your way. You can have the best audition and still not book the role. Don’t let the industry or others diminish your artistic capacity. Try and discover new ways to believe in yourself and what you have to offer. No matter what happens, be the hardest working person in the room, it will only be a matter of time until the right job comes your way. Keep taking classes, keep learning!

Tori Anderson in Open Heart
Tori Anderson in Open Heart