Engineering alumna brings role-playing yoga to Toronto Fringe

Christine Desrochers in a yoga studio

U of T Engineering alumna Christine Desrochers combines her love of yoga with Dungeons & Dragons for a Fringe theatre performance. (Photo: Romi Levine)

When the description for a play reads “comfortable workout clothes recommended,” it’s safe to assume the audience is part of the performance.

That’s definitely the case for D&D Yoga — one of the 210 theatre events taking place at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. Many of this year’s plays involve University of Toronto students, faculty and alumni and take place in venues on the university’s downtown Toronto campus.

D&D Yoga is the brainchild of Christine Desrochers (CivE MENg 1T7). Her event is a choose your own adventure performance that melds the popular role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons with a yoga class.

“It’s a very different experience, and it really engages your sense of imagination,” says Desrochers, who will be performing double duty as a yoga instructor and dungeon master for the Fringe performance.

Given a yoga mat and a 20-sided die, the audience is taken by Descrochers on a fantastical journey, using yoga moves to overcome obstacles and rolling die to determine the direction of the narrative.

Never taken a yoga class or played D&D? “Don’t feel intimidated,” says Desrochers.

“I designed it to be very basic,” she says. “I’ve had people try it who have never done either, and they had a blast trying something new.”

Fringe provides a platform, not only for those trained in theatre but for aspiring playwrights and actors who come from varied disciplines — including science and engineering, says Leah Cherniak, a U of T sessional lecturer and a resident artist, director and actor at Soulpepper Academy.

“They bring a whole wealth of different experiences and knowledge to the theatre,” she says. “The Fringe Festival lets them explore that part of themselves.”

Read more about other alumni and students who are performing at this year’s Fringe on U of T News.