NTS is pleased to announce that Stéphane Longpré will be the next director of the National Theater School's Set and Costume Design Program. Stéphane will assume his functions on August 1, 2018. He will succeed François St-Aubin.

It is with great enthusiasm, as well as a sense of the responsibility resting on my shoulders, that I have joined the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS). NTS made me who I am today, not only as an artist, but also as a human being. It’s where I discovered theatre. It’s where I met artists involved in their community. It’s where I found purpose.

I have watched the Set and Costume Design program evolve over the past 20 years, first as a student, then as an instructor. In my view, it’s a training program that is unique in Canada, notably because of its bilingual nature and its social and cultural diversity, all of which brings it an incomparable richness. The imperative of openness to others is, I feel, central to the teaching philosophy at NTS: to be confronted with different perspectives and approaches to feed your identity as an artist and find your own creative path or voice. This is precisely what fosters fertile dialogue between artists, but also between people.

My priority is to build a training program for students who are able to create and to dream, to whom we will offer the tools to give those ideas concrete forms. To accomplish this, we must create a synergy between the reflective, creative, and technical aspects of scenographic practice, so that each facet feeds the others. In this spirit, the Set and Costume Design program at NTS must be anchored in the concrete realities of the cultural sector today. Professionals today work in a different way and in different conditions than in the past, and it follows that training has to adapt to current realities.

And so I believe that, by the end of their NTS training, students need to have acquired an artistic vision and technical competencies that will serve them not only in the theatrical context, but also in a wide variety of creative and artistic fields. It is essential that students familiarize themselves with new technologies, and learn to use them with sensitivity. It seems to me equally important to strengthen the collaborative ties between Set and Costume Design and the other NTS sections, in order to improve the experience that students have during internal productions as well as to prepare them for their integration into the cultural and artistic sector

Finally, it is absolutely essential that despite the rigours of performance, there is a genuine space for experimentation within this program. Indeed, I firmly believe that mistakes are an important part of the journey to becoming a professional set and costume designer: they need to be seen as a unique opportunity for learning.

Stéphane Longpré
Teacher and next director of the Set and Costume Design program