Edgy, entertaining and educational: the provocative play Single and Sexy is celebrating its third decade as one of the highlights of Orientation Week.

Written and performed entirely by upper-year University of Waterloo students, the play candidly tackles topics like sex, drugs, racism, homophobia, sexual violence, inclusivity, and gender identity – all of which students are likely to encounter throughout their university career – while referencing on-campus resources to let new students know where to turn if they face a challenging situation. The show is presented to all undergraduate students participating in Orientation during their first week on campus.

Lisa Umholtz, communications & media relations specialist with the Federation of Students (Feds), caught up with the cast of this year’s performance during one of their rehearsals to get a sense of the importance of this legendary show from their perspective as both performers and undergraduate students.

“[Single and Sexy is] important because you can recognize that you’re not isolated in your struggles and you can identify with other students,” says John, a Theatre and Performance student and assistant stage manager. “That really unifies first-years.”

“It benefits everyone by starting a conversation on topics relevant to all of us,” adds Jeremy, cast member and graduating Math and Computer Science student.

Written in 1988, Single and Sexy’s script has been re-written annually to reflect changes in issues, language and pop culture.

Today’s script looks a lot different than it did 30 years ago. As issues and technology have changed, more information needed to be added to the script to incorporate the prevalence of mobile phones, the impact of social media, and evolving social and cultural issues, says cast member and graduating Theatre and Performance student Abbi.

“The show has to mirror all of these changes,” she says. “It’s important to make sure students go into school knowing about consent.”

This year, the format of the script has also been completely revamped. As more information and topics were added, the decision was made to move away from an overarching character narrative and to carve up the topics into short skits that are easier to digest.

“It’s no longer restricted by a single character plot,” says Nicholas, a cast member in 3A Math and Physics. “It’s easier to focus on the information, rather than the character.”

“This format makes it easier to get the message and information about the resources you need,” says cast member Madeline, a Biology student.

As the cast recalled their memories of seeing Single and Sexy in their first year, it was clear that the show was a highlight not only to each of their Orientation experiences, but to those of their peers as well.

“It’s one of the most talked about events of Orientation,” says John. “Not just before the show – people keep talking about it afterwards.”

“I thought it was amazing and that I wanted to be a part of it,” says cast member Emma, a 2A Arts and Business student. “I want to be able to make that impact on first-years that the show had on me.”

30 years in, this cast continues the annual tradition of breathing new life into a play that has impacted generations of Waterloo undergrads by tackling the tough topics, creating conversations, and bringing together new undergraduate students.

“I take comfort in knowing it’s this unifying, well-regarded show that helps to make campus a safer place,” says Luke, cast member and Chemistry student.

Come celebrate 30 years of Single and Sexy. Staff, faculty and other guests are invited to attend the show’s premiere performance on Friday, August 31 at 10:45 a.m. in the Physical Activities Complex. Free tickets are available online.