Curriculum - Playwriting

Our training

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 specific group of artists making up each class.

Our training is always practical, underpinned by the 20 student shows created each year.

To reveal and shape each writer’s unique voice

1st Year

  • First-Year Foundations and Writing Project: Introduction to theatrical writing vocabulary and focused writing exercises prepare students to write a two-person unity play (Unities of Time, Place, Action) under the guidance of Governor General Award-Winning playwright, Erin Shields.

  • Adaptation Project: First-year students explore the essential features of dramatic writing by adapting a short prose story into a play with the support of veteran instructor Nick Carpenter.
  • Solo Piece Project
  • Musical Theatre Project
  • Creation Project 1 (with Acting
    cohort)
  • Free Writing
  • Canadian Plays and Playwrights / European Plays and Playwrights (in alternate years)
  • Movement
  • Artistic Practice Seminars with Guest Artists
  • Professional Best Practices 1
  • Theatre History 1
  • Text Analysis 1
  • Creating Great TV
  • Neutral Mask
  • In-house Play Readings and Workshops

2nd Year

  • Second-Year Project: Students flex their creative muscles by proposing and developing a play with only one restriction: a maximum cast size of five characters. Typically the freest and most challenging project, Program Director Andrea Romaldi acts as dramaturg.
  • Banff Playwrights Lab (New Words Project development)

  • Theatre for Young Audiences Project Phase 1: Over two years, Dean Patrick Fleming, the former Artistic Director of Geordie Productions, guides second and third-year students through the fundamentals of writing plays for young audiences. New this year, the project culminates in a professional public reading at Geordie’s annual Theatre Fest.
  • 15 Minute Play Project
  • Musical Theatre Project
  • Creation Project 2 (with Acting cohort)
  • Free Writing
  • Canadian Plays and Playwrights/ European Plays and Playwrights (in alternate years)
  • Movement
  • Artistic Practice Seminars with Guest Artists
  • Professional Best Practices 2
  • Theatre History 2
  • Text Analysis 2
  • Creating Great TV
  • In-house and Professional Play Readings and Workshops

3rd Year

  • New Words Festival Project: Third-year students write the culminating project for their graduating cohort who work to realize a full production performed at the Monument National in the week prior to graduation. Dramaturgs are selected on a case-by-case basis by the Program Director. 
  • Geordie Theatre Fest (TYA Project Reading)
  • Theatre for Young Audiences Project Phase 2: Over two years, Dean Patrick Fleming, the former Artistic Director of Geordie Productions, guides second and third-year students through the fundamentals of writing plays for young audiences. New this year, the project culminates in a professional public reading at Geordie’s annual Theatre Fest.
  • Personal Writing Projects
  • Opera Libretto Creation (with Université de Montréal)
  • Creation Project 3 (with Acting cohort)
  • Free Writing
  • Canadian Plays and Playwrights/ European Plays and Playwrights (in alternate years)
  • Movement
  • Artistic Practice Seminars with Guest Artists
  • Professional Best Practices 3
  • Grant Writing
  • SmART Money
  • In-house and Professional Play Readings and Workshops

Curriculum varies each year, and also includes select workshops/projects such as: Alternative Narrative, Aristotle’s Poetics, Creative Collaboration, Documentary Theatre, Dramatic Structure & New Play Dramaturgy, Shakespearean Text, Writing in the Digital Age, Writing for Podcasts, Translation Project, and others based on students’ interests.

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