Artistic Leadership Residencies

Artistic Leadership Residency

An eighteen-month, part-time residency for emerging artistic leaders who are highly motivated to become Artistic Directors of performing arts organizations. The goal of the residency is to offer meaningful and pertinent training to emerging artist leaders; to make transformational leaders more effective; and to lead transformational change in the arts in Canada.

This residency is made possible through the support of BMO the Birks Family Foundation.

About the Residency


The performing arts sector is experiencing rapid and intensive change. Shifting public interest, a call for more inclusive practices, the changing role of civic institutions in society, and the impact of technology are just a few of the forces that are altering what it means to be an artistic organization today.

Being an artistic leader is more complex and challenging than ever and requires a profound understanding of the communities being served. This means building relationships with new audiences and being brave enough to lead change. Major Canadian cultural institutions are undergoing an important chapter of transition as long-serving leaders begin to retire and as calls for equity and inclusivity become more urgent. The NTS Artistic Leadership Residency program is a national first, designed to serve the artistic milieu during this moment of change and prepare emerging artistic leadership to successfully helm Canada’s performing arts institutions.

Structure of the Residency

The residency takes place over an 18-month period. During the first year, residents will participate in three training modules, both online and in-person, offering coaching and workshops with the NTS AL Residency team, as well as conversation and open dialogue with current and veteran arts leaders. Residents also participate in various arts conferences, festivals, and other events as available. The training modules are designed to help residents:

  • Deepen their understanding of the increasingly complex cultural environment and define the values that will inform their approach to artistic leadership.
  • Increase awareness and articulation of their unique leadership processes leading to personal transformative growth.
  • Build professional networks that create opportunities for exchange.
  • Explore diverse inclusive practices and the art of developing cultural partnerships.
  • Develop “hard skills” required to lead an organization, including but not limited to working with boards of directors, long-term planning, audience building, financial literacy, and human resource management.

The training modules sessions can include personal and group mentorship; mock interviews and pitch sessions; discussions regarding EDI - Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Community engagement; Civic and cultural spaces; Art vs. politics - and other topics of interest the residents wish to explore.

Following the training modules, residents then participate in national and international placements with partnering professional arts organizations including The Public Theatre, NYC. These placements offer direct, hands-on learning opportunities, working behind the scenes with institutions of various missions, mandates, scope, and scale.

Residents will:

  • Work with the Artistic Leadership Residency Team to create a custom-designed professional placement program.
  • Engage in regular dialogues with the Residency Team to strengthen awareness of each AL resident’s unique leadership practice.
  • Participate in various performing arts conferences and events to help build a professional network.
  • Engage in a rigorous process of self-reflection.
  • Participate in various board, philanthropic, and political events to develop fundraising and networking skills.
Who Should Apply?

The Artistic Leadership Residency Program is aimed at artistic practitioners who are hoping to assume leadership roles in institutional contexts. Artists should have a minimum of 5-10 years of professional practice and the ambition to assume a role of Artistic Director or equivalent in the near future. Artistic Directors of the future will not exclusively come from Directing or Acting backgrounds; therefore practitioners of all disciplines will be considered for this program.


Candidates for the Artistic Leadership Residency Program should:

  • Have demonstrated leadership experience, professionally or in a community setting, in an organization or project context.
  • Be actively pursuing artistic leadership opportunities of increasing scale and complexity;
  • Understand the role of artistic leadership as central to the overall health of an organization;
  • Believe in the role of cultural organizations as civic institutions that drive community growth, development, and well-being;
  • Are seeking to learn and share their own experiences with the community of the School.

* As residents may be working with French and English artists across the country, some level of bilingualism is recommended, though not required.

NTS is fervently committed to broadening the talent pool for leadership in Canada – diversity of all kinds will drive the sector forward and applicants from all backgrounds, communities, orientations, and abilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Financial Structure

NTS offers financial assistance to its Artistic Leadership residents to cover expenses associated with the residency, which include but are not limited to:

  • Participation in the annual PACT (Professional Association of Canadian Theatres) conference, including food & accommodation;
  • Travel and accommodation for core pedagogical elements;
  • Fees for conferences and networking events;
  • National and international placements during residency: travel, housing and living expenses

Past Resident Artists

Miquelon Rodriguez
Fay Nass
Jenna Rodgers
ted witzel
Kim Senklip Harvey
Mel Hague 

Residents speak up

Quincy Armorer (Lead Facilitator) and Fay Nass (Resident) talk about the Residency. 


'' It’s great to be in a program where the end goal is to develop myself as a leader. It allows me to do things for myself like figure out how to speak publicly about art and other artists, and how to create systems, or take systems that are broken and take what is good out of it.'' 

Mel Hague (Artistic Leadership Residency, 2019), supported by Metcalf Foundation Ontario 

"I really think that the international aspect of the residency is huge, because sometimes we can get into the silo of thinking a certain way or doing things a certain way in our own communities. Being part of perspectives outside of ours is extremely beneficial."

Fay Nass (Artistic Leadership Residency, 2022), supported by the Birks Family Foundation.

''I am compulsively curious, I live off of questions, so this environment, the tools - it's a place for me to have those questions answered. In a safe, educational, and investing type of way. Where I'm not being graded, where there is not a metric to my success here.'' 

Kim Senklip Harvey (Artistic Leadership Residency, 2019), supported by Birks Foundation

"the residency allowed me to meet with leaders in a variety of global contexts, whether they were leading large institutions or companies with focused social justice mandates. these leaders took me into their confidence and brought up their own organizational strategic challenges, looking for help 'dramaturging' them. everyone i spoke to seemed to be making a tough decision at the intersection between their values and institutional sustainability, and hungry for an outside eye. it struck me that leadership can be isolating at times, and this residency has allowed me to build networks of values-aligned colleagues to combat that, while offering a global perspective. the greatest gift of the residency is the relationships you come out of it with.”

ted witzel (Artistic Leadership Residency, 2020), supported by Metcalf Foundation Ontario 

"Delighted to have spent the past two weeks on Gadigal land, listening, learning, questioning, and being hosted by Carriageworks and Urban Theatre Projects. I am carrying with me the intention of purposeful movement, as so many communities continue to offer up generous amounts of insight and knowledge. Very grateful to NTS and the Artistic Leadership Residency for getting me here."

Jenna Rodgers (Artistic Leadership Residency, 2020), supported by Birks Family Foundation 

"Being able to fly out to work with international companies such as Punchdrunk and Chinese Arts Now in London, UK was not only an incredibly rejuvenating learning experience, but a truly validating one. To be able to converse with and work alongside some truly innovative artistic leaders (such as An-Ting Chang, Felix Barrett, and Stephen Dobbie to name a few), only to find out that many of their creative thought processes and team philosophies align with my own was a huge boost in confidence for my own leadership."

Miquelon Rodriguez (Artistic Leadership Residency, 2022)

Partnership with The Public Theater

National Theatre School/The Public Theater Partnership – Artistic Leadership Residency Program

Through this partnership, one or both NTS Artistic Leadership Residency participants will travel to New York to engage in a placement at The Public Theater.

Founded over 60 years ago, The Public is one of the first non-profit theatres in the United States. The Public continues to be a leading civic institution, engaging both onstage and off with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. It is the home of landmark pieces including Hair in 1967, and more recently Fun Home, and Hamilton. The Public is also responsible for Free Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park, the Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, an annual festival of experimental theatre, Public Lab, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe’s Pub at their Astor Place home.

The Public Theater’s commitment to artistic excellence, civic engagement, community building, and cultural transformation is shared by The National Theatre School; though our functions vary, our core values align.

This opportunity will allow our residents the opportunity to examine the inner workings of a large-scale theatre organization whose vital artistic, social and cultural values are applied throughout the organization, on numerous performance scales and in a variety of artistic and community contexts.

NTS AL Residents will meet with key members of the artistic and producing team, audit and explore The Public’s key initiatives, visit The Public’s various spaces and venues, attend performances, workshops and technical rehearsals. The NTS AL Resident will experience how the company engages with the dynamic, large and diverse communities it serves.

The Public will provide our residents with an itinerary for their time within the organization. NTS will ensure that its residents are supported by a mentor or facilitator as needed.

This placement takes place in NYC and is therefore an opportunity to encounter other theatres and artistic leaders. The NTS AL Resident will be expected to propose additional programming in NYC to accompany and enrich their placement at the Public.


Quincy Armorer
Lead Facilitator / Mentor

Read bio

Alisa Palmer
Director, Residency Program / Mentor

Read bio

How to apply

Applications are closed for 2022. Stay tuned for the next round of applications. 

Applications should include:

  • A detailed CV (max. 3 pages – titled last name CV)
  • A leadership statement (max. 5 pages – titled last name statement) that answers the following:
  1. What about your professional trajectory has led you to apply?
  2. What problems do you see in the theatre sector?
  3. What is your declaration of personal values?
  4. What are your personal goals for the residency?
  5. Imagine 4 different placements that would interest you – tell us about the institutions and why you would want to spend time there. Please choose at least two within Canada, at least one international, and one that is not linked to the theatre sector.
  • One letter of support and two references

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview (in-person or remotely).

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The National Theatre School: 1 art school, 9 professional training programs