• Highly individualized training with an emphasis on building long-lasting professional relationships
  • Hands-on experience in a variety of venues, from intimate and immersive to the large stage
  • Daily interactions with teachers, coaches, and directors who work in theatres across the country
  • Partnerships with organizations such as the Stratford and Shaw festivals through study trips and core training

3 years of training | 14 students per year (maximum) 

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Developing each actor’s awareness of their own unique artistic process


The Acting program is a rigorous and immersive training program that exposes the emerging artist to a wide array of theatre styles and approaches. Through core training in voice, movement, text, and music the actor builds a foundation of classical technique to support the development of their own artistic expression. In a personalized setting, students are guided and challenged by influential artists of contemporary theatre. The Acting program supports powerful and independent artists by developing each actor’s awareness of their own unique artistic process.



Fill out the online application form and pay the registration fee before January 31. We’ll be in touch to let you know about the next steps.

You must be at least 18 years old as of December 31 of the year of entry at NTS.


For the initial audition, applicants are asked to prepare two short monologues that must not exceed two minutes each, one from the classical repertoire and one contemporary monologue. Classical monologues must be chosen from the list provided by the School.

Consult our list of monologues 

The 2020 audition dates will be announced in October 2019. The audition tour typically runs from mid-March to mid-April and usually goes through the following cities: Toronto, St-John’s, Halifax, Fredericton, Charlottetown, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal

Dates may change. We will be in touch with applicants who completed their registration to confirm their audition date.


A number of candidates are then selected for a callback workshop held in Montreal or in Toronto, during the second week of May. The callback is a series of classes and workshops typical of the training at NTS. It is led by NTS faculty members and professional artists.

International candidates and those living in remote areas may send in a video audition.

Callback workshop experience

What is the callback workshop?

The application process to the Acting program culminates with the callback workshops, held  during the month of May. The callback is a series of classes and workshops typical of the training at NTS. It is led by NTS faculty members and professional artists.

Below, applicants share some thoughts about this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  

The call

“When I learned about my invitation for a callback, I was jovial. It was more than a step toward getting into NTS, it was affirmation and encouragement for me, and my potential as an actor.” –Isaac, BC

“When I heard about the callback, I threw my fist up in the air, cheered myself on, and ran around the apartment like a madman. Then I acted like it was no big deal. It was great news to hear.” –Andres, MB

I was so happy that my eyes filled with tears. I told my mom immediately and then unsuccessfully tried to calm myself down. Ha ha.” -Dakota, QC

The work

“I adored the class work that we did at the beginning of the day. Everyone was working their hardest and really contributing to a supportive and fun class.” –Madison, AB

“The opportunity to do voice and movement exercises really surprised me the most. I didn't know what the workshop would entail so having the opportunity to go in depth with those exercises while being guided by professionals for a couple of hours was a real treat.” -Andres, MB

The people

What surprised me the most about the workshop was how diverse our callback group was. I was very happy to see people not only from Canada, but from the UK and America as well. Also, seeing other actors of colour was very encouraging and representative of not only Canada's landscape, but the world as a whole.” -Dakota, QC

“The group of people I got to share the weekend with were some of the most talented and passionate people I've ever met.” –Ben, PEI

“Meeting Alisa Palmer has been an honour. I was so inspired by her after leaving my first audition that receiving a callback was a huge privilege to be able to work with her for a few more hours.” –Isaac, BC

“Because it's such an intimate and vulnerable setting over the two days, it really gave me the opportunity to get to know them well. I made some fast friends and met some kindred spirits. I felt more community and warmth in those two days than I did all year.” -Margot, ON

“I really valued the words that people gave me when I was a little flustered. It was nice to hear the journeys and advice of the other people.” –Madison, AB

“I was so blown away by the talent present and the incredible attitude that was so conducive to creation. The entire experience was incredible.” –Dustin, QC

“It was such a beautifully collaborative space, there was no sense of competition or judgment. It was all about seeing what each of us had to offer, and understanding what young people all over the country are doing with their theatre.” -Chloe, QC

The self

“I learned so much about myself as an actor and an artist. I learned that no matter how nervous or anxious I may feel going into a situation, I am capable of opening up and being vulnerable and connecting with the people I'm with. I left the callback feeling inspired.” -Margot, ON

The callback process was both life-changing and life-affirming for me. It really cemented the fact that acting is what I want to do with my life. This was one of the most important and most enjoyable weekends of my entire life.” –Ben, PEI

“Something I learned about myself in the workshop is that risks are something that scare me, but that's also where the heart of theatre lies... And that I need to continue to go where the fear is in order to grow as an artist.” -Dakota, QC

“The callback was one of the most inspiring artistic experiences of my life.” -Dustin, QC


NTS offers highly individualized training. As such, the curriculum is subject to change, following the latest development in technology, new artistic practices, and the needs of the unique group of artists making up each class. Our training is always practical, supported by the 20 student shows created each year.

Year 1

The arc of training begins with the basics including the actor’s presence, self-awareness, active listening, and builds to the exploration of text with a focus on an understanding of action, character and story.  


Year 2

Over the course of the year, students move from classroom exercises, to studio presentations to full productions with a focus on repertoire designed to stretch and hone the actor’s craft and range. Content includes naturalism, period immersions in Chekov and Shaw, contemporary Canadian theatre, musical theatre projects and Shakespeare in production.

Year 3

The third and final year of the Acting Program is a full season of productions in the School's theatre, the Monument-National. This includes the premiere of an original ensemble creation piece, two productions on our largest stage and two world premieres of plays written by graduating playwrights. All productions are guided by prominent Canadian and International directors and coaches.

An average of 20 student shows are created each year.

Alisa Palmer - Director of the Acting program

"Art is Practice. Art is Imagination. You are here because of your imagination. We offer practice. We offer you the opportunity to practice and develop your technique. If you engage, if you say yes, if you are curious, and become aware of yourself and the world around you, you will discover who you are through doing."

Alisa Palmer is an internationally trained award-winning theatre director, playwright, dramaturge and theatre producer. Her work crosses genres, including the classics, contemporary plays, creation projects, musicals and operas. Ms. Palmer's work is characterized by vivid performances, a bold use of music, powerful visuals and a passionate commitment to the body politic. She is the recipient of numerous awards and has premiered and toured original and provocative theatre creations for over twenty years.

Read the bio


Our students are taught and mentored by working professional artists who have their finger on the pulse of the artistic community.

They share a wealth of theatre experience from across Canada and around the world. NTS has an overall ratio of two instructors per student. Our group of teaching artists varies each year according to student needs.

Accompanied by excellence

Djanet Sears

Playwright, director, and actor
Harlem Duet (1995), her most critically acclaimed work, won the Governor General's Literary Award (1998), four Dora Mavor Moore Awards and the Floyd S. Chalmers Award (1998) for outstanding new play. A later production of the play for the Stratford Festival marked another historical watermark as the first play written and directed by a black woman with an all-black cast to be presented at the festival.

David Latham

Veteran director who has worked in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. He has worked as Theatre Training Consultant at Stratford Festival for 14 seasons.

Eda Holmes (Directing, 1996)

Artistic and Executive Director of Centaur Theatre, she has worked regularly as a director at the Shaw Festival, Tarragon Theatre, Canadian Stage, the Grand Theatre, London, and more.

Our alumni work with many artistic companies around the globe. Here are a few examples:

  • Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary
  • Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver
  • Banff Centre
  • Buddies in Bad Times, Toronto 
  • Canadian Stage
  • National Arts Centre
  • Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre
  • Stratford festival
  • Shaw festival
  • Soulpepper
  • Summerworks
  • Tarragon
  • Theatre New Brunswick


Read the Frequently Asked Questions



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