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Alumni Spotlight | Acting Grad Orville Cummings Beams Into Star Trek Role

Two-photo collage, featuring Orville Cummings' headshot and an image of him in costume with the cast of Star Trek: Discovery

Orville Cummings’ acting career is suddenly in warp speed – thanks, in large part, to his role on Star Trek: Discovery.

The Class of 2015 Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre grad landed the part of Lt. William Christopher in the seventh incarnation of the long-running sci-fi TV franchise in 2021, and has so far appeared in seven episodes.

“Working on Star Trek: Discovery is one of the most transformative experiences in my career,” Cummings said. “To this day, it feels like I’m still living in a dream – not only because it’s such a prolific and well-known franchise, but also because I’m a huge sci-fi nerd!”

In the Paramount+ show, which is fronted by Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham, Cummings plays Lt. William Christopher, the USS Discovery’s communications officer.

Image of Orville Cummings in costume on the set of Star Trek: Discovery

“Handling communications is vital, especially in dire situations – and there are a lot of them,” he said. “Making sure the Captain and the other ships keep this communication up is often a life-or-death situation – and I’m honored to be given this task.”

Cummings said the process of settling into his new working life aboard the USS Discovery was a job made all the more enjoyable by the welcoming embrace of his new co-workers.

“When stepping on the bridge for the first time, I had to contain my excitement. But the cast, crew, and production made the experience feel more like a big family working on their passion as opposed to a conventional set. I felt welcomed and loved,” he said, likening the experience to the one he encountered during his time at Toronto Film School.

“That is also the biggest thing I got from attending TFS. I was fortunate to be blessed with such lovely and supportive mentors – John Tench, Omar Zamir, Jonathan Whittaker, and Karen Hazzard, to name a few. TFS gave me the confidence and technical experience I needed to excel in my craft. That, paired with life experience, truly made an astronomical difference in navigating this beast of an industry.”

In addition to his work on Star Trek: Discovery, Cummings has also acted in a number of recent feature films, including:

Bite of a Mango, a comedy/drama about four friends trying to navigate life’s trials and tribulations during the turbulence of 2020. Directed by Ron Dias, the film celebrated its world premiere at the American Black Film Festival in June 2022.

Clement Virgo’s Brother ¬– an adaptation of David Chariandy’s award-winning 2017 novel about two brothers coming of age in 1990s Scarborough, where they reconcile their dreams and expectations with the violence that confronts them around every corner. Brother premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2022.

Patty vs Patty – a short documentary by Chris Strikes that details the story of Toronto’s bizarre 1985 “patty wars”, when Jamaican-Canadian bakers went head-to-head with the federal government over the name of their beloved beef patty.

To learn more about Cummings, visit his IMDb and Instagram pages.


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