Call for Applicants

Artistic Leadership Residencies


Thanks to the support of the Birks Family Foundation, BMO and the Metcalf Foundation, the National Theatre School of Canada is searching for three emerging artistic leaders for an eighteen-month intensive program. The chosen candidates will be working to become artistic leaders at institutional performing arts organizations.

The NTS Artistic Leadership Residency program, offered in partnership with the Banff Centre Cultural Leadership Program, aims to become the gold-standard training program referenced by Boards, recruitment agencies, and organizations looking to fill their artistic leadership vacancies.


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 you intend to serve. This means building relationships with new audiences and being brave enough to lead change. Major Canadian cultural institutions are undergoing a rare moment of generational transition as long-serving leaders begin to retire. 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. The program focuses on leadership and organizational skills rather than the development of artistic practice.


An eighteen-month (September 2019 through December 2020) part-time residency in artistic leadership that will:

1. Develop the “hard skills” required to lead an organization, including but not limited to working with boards of directors, long-term planning, audience building, fundraising, financial literacy, and human resource management;

2. Assist leaders in understanding the increasingly complex cultural environment and define the values that will inform a new approach to artistic leadership;

3. Build professional networks that promote the reputation of the leaders;

4. Explore inclusive practices and the art of developing partnerships.


Current and former Artistic Leadership Residents describe the program.

Watch the video to learn more about why they applied, what they learned, and what their challenges were during the residency. 

Residents will:

  1. Participate fully in the Banff Centre Cultural Leadership Program which takes place over four in-person intensives and several inter-sessional meetings;

  2. Work with the School to create a custom-designed professional placement program at institutions and organizations that interest them;

  3. Participate in various performing arts conferences and events to help build a professional network;

  4. Participate in various Board, philanthropic, and political events to develop fundraising and networking skills;

How to apply?

Applications should be sent to by May 17, 2019, 11:59 PM with the subject line Leadership Residency, and include as attached PDFs:

  • A detailed CV (max. 3 pages – titled lastnameCV)
  • A leadership statement (max. 5 pages – titled lastname 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 institution and why you would want to spend time there. Please choose at least two in Canada, at least one international, and one that is not linked to the theatre sector.
  • One letter of support and 2 references

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed (in-person or remotely). Please call 1.866.547.7328 for further information.

Practical information

What is the schedule?

Residents must be available for all Banff Centre sessions.

  • November 10-14, 2019 - Banff Centre
  • February 2-6, 2020 - Banff Centre
  • April 2020, dates TBA - National Theatre School of Canada, Montreal
  • June 7-11, 2020 - Banff Centre

Schedules for Montreal and other components will be designed with each resident. Although the schedule will be specifically designed for each resident, the residents will be expected to make time during their year to allow for meaningful placements to be planned.

Who should apply?

The Artistic Leadership Development Program is aimed at artistic practitioners who are hoping to assume leadership roles in institutional contexts. Artists should have at least 8 years of professional practice and be on a trajectory to assume the role of Artistic Director in the near future. Artistic Directors of the future will not exclusively come from Directing or Acting backgrounds, so practitioners of all kinds should consider this program.

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.

What are the prerequisites to apply?
  • Have some demonstrated leadership experience;
  • Be actively pursuing artistic leadership opportunities of increasing scale and complexity;
  • Be an outspoken and recognized advocate within their respective artistic community;
  • 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 wellbeing;
  • Are seeking to learn and share their own experiences with the community of the School.

Some level of bilingualism is recommended though not required as residents will be working with French and English artists across the country. The Banff curriculum is currently offered in English, though both organizations are committed to serving artists in French and English.

What is the financial structure?

Valued at approximately $50,000 per resident, the program is free with the following provided:

• Participation in Banff Centre Cultural Leadership Program, including food & accommodation
• Travel and accommodation for core pedagogical elements, including return journeys to Banff and Montreal
• Fees for conferences and events
• Placements during residency: travel, housing and living expenses

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