Indigenous Artists in Residence

About the residency

This two-year program is a responsive and flexible training opportunity offered to established Indigenous artists. Training across all the School’s core programs is possible, with curriculum determined by the resident artist in concert with the teachers and leaders at NTS. The residency culminates in the development of the artist’s own artistic project. 

This residency is made possible through the support of The Cole FoundationThe Conseil des arts de Montréal and Caisse Desjardins de la Culture.

Current Resident Artist

Rebecca Cuddy

Métis/Canadian, Mezzo-Soprano Rebecca Cuddy (Indigenous Artist in Residence, 2022) is a fast up and comer on Canadian operatic stages. She has been twice nominated at the Dora Awards alongside her colleagues for exceptional ensemble work, ultimately taking home the win for Soundstreams’ Two Odysseys; Pimootewin and Gállábártnit. Her recent career highlights include singing La Métisse, in the world premiere of Riel; Heart of the North with Regina Symphony Orchestra, Kwe in the world premiere of Shanawdithit with Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon, Mercedes (Cover Carmen) in Carmen, and Dreitte Dame in Die Zauberflöte.

Rebecca has a keen interest in Indigenous relations and music, along with contemporary composition. She is immensely proud to be a collaborator on multiple productions and part of 6 new Indigenous Opera productions in the past 3 years.

Rebecca completed her MA in Voice and Opera at The Royal Academy of Music, London U.K. 2017, and her BMus in Voice Performance at Western University, 2015. She currently studies voice with her incredible teacher Claudiu Stoia. She is excited to continue exploring her love of the performing arts as the Indigenous Artist in Residence at the National Theatre School of Canada this fall, following in the footsteps of so many talented Indigenous artists.

Rebecca's residency is supported by the Cole Foundation

Past Resident Artists

Sylvia Cloutier

Sylvia Cloutier (Indigenous Artist in Residence, 2020) is from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (Northern Quebec) a mother, performing artist, producer, director, well known for performing Inuit throat singing and drum dancing. She has collaborated with many artists all over the world including Think of One from Belgium; Tafelmusik, a Toronto based baroque orchestra; Montréal based DJ Geronimo Inutiq and the National Symphony Orchestra when visited Iqaluit in 2012.

"It's really important when Indigenous artists are here at the School. When we show our presence through art, it connects us as human beings. And I think that's the whole point."

Sylvia's residency was supported by the Cole Foundation

Jimmy Blais

Jimmy (Indigenous Artist in Residence, 2019) is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.

Born and raised in Montreal, Jimmy graduated from Concordia’s Theatre Performance Program. He has worked professionally for over 10 years, for companies like The Stratford Festival, The Centaur, Geordie Productions, Porte Parole and La Licorne. Jimmy is the co-founder of the META nominated theatre company PlayShed. Jimmy also played the role of Watio on APTN’s hit series Mohawk Girls. He is an acting teacher, director, mentor and coach. He is the host of a new travelling documentary television series called Chasing The Midnight Sun. Jimmy focused on playwriting and creation during his Indigenous Artist Residency at The National Theatre School of Canada in 2018 and 2019.

Out of all this, his favorite gig is being a dad to his daughter Indigo.


Residents speak up

Jimmy Blais (Cree, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, SK) and Sylvia Cloutier (Inuit, Kuujjuaq, Nunavik) share their experience as Indigenous Artists in Residence at the National Theatre School of Canada.

''Theatre and dance and music have always been in Indigenous communities. So to be able to get the skills and to be able to do it, using contemporary language, is really important, and to share with all the cultures what we are coming from, and to see the potential of the stories, all stories, our stories.''

- Carlos Rivera Martìnez, Indigenous Artist in Residence, 2018, Mexico, of Nahua and Mixteco descent, supported by Cole Foundation

''As an Indigenous artist-in-residence at NTS, I am learning a lot about myself. I have time to reflect on my art, my work, how I approach things, but I am really actually just learning my own voice. And to be able to give myself the time to do what is really valuable. There is a tremendous amount of resources that are here, whether in the form of a space, teachers or mentors, or other students offering their opinions and views on things.''

- Jimmy Blais, Indigenous Artist in Residency, 2019, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, supported by Conseil des arts de Montréal

''I really enjoyed developing as a performer. I never saw myself as an actor in any way, although I knew I am a performer. I love exploring myself as a singer, and taking part in the choir with the first- and second-years actors. I really enjoyed taking classes with the playwrights and the directors. Every day was different, every week was different, I really enjoyed trying new things, and reminding myself that I allow myself to see who I am as an artist.''

- Sylvia Cloutier, Indigenous Artist in Residence, 2020, Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, Inuq, supported by Cole Foundation


As a national institution, NTS has a duty to understand its role in the ongoing reconciliation process that is unfolding across the country, as well as a duty to foster strong ties to Indigenous nations. To this end, NTS is developing training opportunities to provide artists with expanded access to our resources and to give them dedicated space at the School for Indigenous practices. The Indigenous artistic resident will bring to the School an already-developed artistic approach and will benefit from time, space, expertise, and resources available at the School. For its part, and aware that its current methods do not specifically include Indigenous artistic practices or art forms, NTS recognizes and honours diverse approaches and paths supported by these artists. The School is eager to undergo this learning process and is confident that it will have a lasting influence on its pedagogy.  

Who Should Apply?

The residency is available to Indigenous artists with 5+ years of professional practice in the performing arts.  

Applicants should...

  • Be seeking to advance specific elements of their craft;
  • Have a strong sense of their artistic approach and practice; 
  • Believe in the power and usefulness of lifelong training; 
  • Be seeking to learn and share their own experiences with the community of the School.

Money shouldn’t be an obstacle to training. Financial assistance is available. Enquire at 1-866-547-7328. 

Structure of the residency

The program lasts 18 to 24 months and includes: 

  • Immersion in the training programs of the five theatre disciplines offered at NTS;
  • The opportunity to develop a personal artistic project in the second year;
  • A direct impact on the ongoing transformation of the National Theatre School.

Year 1: 

  • A rich and specialized training program, created in response to the specific interests of each artist;
  • Artist proposal of a project to develop over the course of Year 2
  • Continual discussion and exchange about best practices and learning that could help NTS open itself to Indigenous artistic methods.

Year 2: 

  • Reduced time in training to allow the development of a creative project;
  • Teaching and training at NTS;
  • Comprehensive post-mortem aiming to spread what was learned throughout the School.  


Applications should be sent to by October 18, 2019 with the subject line Indigenous Artist in Residence, and include as attached PDFs:

  • A detailed CV (max. 3 pages – titled lastname_CV)
  • An artist’s statement (max. 3 pages – titled, last name_statement) that answers the following:
  1. Why do you make live art?
  2. What about your professional trajectory has led you to apply?
  3. What challenges have you consistently faced in the sector?
  4. What do you hope to gain from your time at NTS?
  • 1-3 letters of recommendation that speak to different aspects of your artistic practice.

Shortlist candidates will be interviewed (in-person or remotely) with finalists invited to visit NTS in a final round of interviews. Please call 1-866-547-7328 for further information.

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