National Theatre School

Drama Festival

The National Theatre School Drama Festival provides a showcase for drama students  to demonstrate their unique work. It brings together a large community to view, discuss and enjoy each other’s creative efforts, under the guidance of experienced adjudicators. It facilitates and inspires a love of dramatic literature, team work, problem solving, originality and entrepreneurship.  It invites current and future audiences  to fall in love with theatre.

An important message from Gideon Arthurs and the National Theatre School of Canada

Dear teachers, colleagues, friends of the Drama Festival,

First and foremost, thank you for everything you have done to build the Drama Festival over the years. It is because of your dedication, passion, hard work and vision that the Festival is heading into its 73rd season. Like you, we at the National Theatre School were deeply distressed to hear that the Festival was in danger without the support of Sears Canada. We were equally inspired by the outpouring of support that helped the 2018 edition happen, with a successful crowd funding campaign and offers of support from hundreds of community partners.

I am writing to you today to let you know that we are here to stay, deeply committed to guaranteeing the next 70+ years of helping young artists find their voice. Over the past year, we have been working closely with Wayne Fairhead to find a way forward and it became clear that no other partner like Sears, who were exclusive funders of the festival for decades, would present itself. We also felt that the festival was too important to simply be passed on to a new corporate partner and that the best way to guarantee its future was to become responsible for the festival ourselves. We are proud to confirm to you all that National Theatre School Drama Festival is now officially launched, evolving from what was once known as the Sears Drama Festival, with NTS managing the festival and providing the funding required for the festival to survive and thrive.

We are hoping that our involvement will not only stabilize the current situation but also add enormous value as active partners. Beyond funding the festival, some of the ways we imagine working with you include:

  • Working with teachers to communicate the value of the Festival to their school administrators and board trustees;
  • Helping to recruit teachers at other schools to build district and regional participation
  • Developing new resources to support the creation of productions, including extensive lists of plays appropriate for young artists, access to information about rehearsal and even eventual offers of training for teachers on how to further integrate theatre into
    the classroom;
  • Helping to prepare workshops at the district, regional and provincial levels, including
    contacting artists and conceiving new workshops;
  • Finding private sector partners to increase support for your students, including more
    money for travel subsidies, more prizes and scholarships, and more workshops;
  • Working with regional partners to provide greater support for the BC and Atlantic
    Drama Festivals, including better financial support;
  • Planning for an eventual National Showcase by adding new regions to the fold.

I would like to underline one important point: this is your Drama Festival and it will always be yours. Our hope is to make sure that we support, to the best of our abilities, the incredible, selfless work you are already doing and to make sure that the young people we support continue to have a way to discover the joy and pleasure of expressing themselves through theatre. We humbly ask you to be as open and honest with us in the coming months to figure out how this can all move forward and to make your work on the festival easier and even more impactful.

There is much work to be done and much to come in the months to follow, but we wanted to communicate a few important points:

  • Wayne will carry on his role as Executive Director for the 2019 edition, accompanied by incoming Festival Director Erin Brubacher. Those of you who attended the Ontario showcase will recognize Erin as the adjudicator for this year’s edition. She is a Toronto- based artist and culture organizer with an international reputation. Her vast experience as an arts-educator, including holding a teaching degree and having organized education programs at professional theatres across the country, and as a creator who works with youth, most notably on the award-winning production Concord Floral, means she has a unique perspective of the realities of working with young people and the daily challenges of being a teacher. Over the next year, Wayne will pass on his accumulated expertise to Erin and then begin to step back for the 2020 edition. Erin and Wayne will be supported by a team of coordinators, to be announced as they come on board.
  • The entire NTS team is excited and committed to work with you. In particular, our communications and fundraising teams are already hard at work, so in the coming months you will notice some changes on the website and social media platforms, as well as the look and feel of publicity materials. Again, we trust you will be open and honest with us on your thoughts on anything we put forward. To simplify communication, we have set up a general email address that you can connect to at any time – please write to with your thoughts, any information you want to share, any enquiries you may have, or just to let us know who you are, and we’ll make sure your message gets to the right person.

    I want to reiterate how incredibly grateful we are for all that you do. Without you, there is no Drama Festival. I would go so far as to say that without you, without the Drama Festival, theatre would be in danger of sliding into obscurity. For 72 years, this festival has built the future of theatre – here’s to 72 more years of incredible art!

Once again, please do hesitate to contact us at any time. Much more information will be coming out in the coming weeks and months, but for now I wish you all a wonderful summer and a well-deserved rest before it starts all over again.

With gratitude,

Gideon Arthurs CEO
On behalf of Wayne Fairhead, Erin Brubacher and the NTS team

Showcase Schedule


B.C. Provincial Showcase 2018

April 26-29, 2018

Douglas College, New Westminster

For more informations, click here.



Ontario Provincial Showcase 2018

May 9-12, 2018
St. Benedict CSS, Cambridge

Ontario Provincial Showcase 2018

When: May 9-12, 2018
Where : St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School, 50 Saginaw, Cambridge, Ontario


  • Aurora High School - Womanly
  • Widdifield Secondary School - Exorcizing Restraint
  • Brantford Collegiate Institute - And She Split The Sky In Two


  • Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School - Heubner the Reluctant
  • Dante Alighieri Academy - The Wallpaper
  • John Fraser Secondary School - Without Her


  • Loretto College School - Play Rights
  • Carleton Place High School - Appropriate Audience Behavior
  • Nelson High School - Things Fall (Meanwhile)


  • Listowel District Secondary School - Lizzie Borden of Fall River
  • Grimsby Secondary School - The Twoman
  • West Ferris Secondary School - Of Mice and Men

Tickets will be:

$15 per adult
$7 per student

Tickets will be sold at the door starting one hour before curtain. Our auditorium is general admission,
there are no numbered seats. Each performing school can reserve up to 50 tickets in advance for
their performance; these tickets will get preferential choice of seats before that show. To reserve
tickets, contact the staff supervisor of your school’s show directly.

PLEASE NOTE: According to festival regulations: once a performance has started we will NOT be
allowing late entry. There will be a monitor set up in the lobby for late comers.

For more informations, click here


May 18-20, 2018

Watermark Theatre, North Rustico, PEI

Spotlight School of Arts Inc. presents

Anxiety is Orange by Lindsay Price

Colours can be symbolic. Red is fiery. Purple is royal. Blue is calming.
Sometimes, colours can take on too much meaning. I can’t date you -
you wear wenge! He sent yellow flowers! Orange gives my brother
anxiety! Join the characters in this vignette play as they navigate the
world, each other, and the greens, greys, blues, reds, pinks, yellows,
and oranges around them. Does orange make you anxious?

Copper Ridge Academy presents

Her by Ridge Troupers

Inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Yellow Wallpaper
Synopsis: A nineteenth century new mother fails to relish
the joys of life and motherhood. Unable to function and
provide infant care, her physician husband prescribes the
infamous “Rest Cure” treatment and strictly enforces
physical and emotional isolation from friends and family.
Treatment takes place in an abandoned country estate
away from all social and intellectual distractions. While
confined to her room, she withdraws into her own
thoughts and obsesses on the walls that confine her.
Under strict confinement, madness becomes her escape
and ultimate freedom. Her depicts these struggles.

VIVA Productions of Holy Spirit High School presents

by Richard Lortz

A young couple arrive at an old house just before a snowstorm
isolates them. Since her child's death, the wife has been in a
sanitarium and the guilt and tensions of the young couple's tragic
loss have all but destroyed their relationship. They try to rebuild their
mutual trust, but the wife hears voices and she and the audience see
the pale figure of a girl. The husband sees nothing. As the snow and
night falls, the voices of a happy family playing joyfully grow louder
and more insistent until the dramatic climax in this stunning play.

Bay d’Espoir Academy presents

Aftermath by Miranda Caley

When a nuclear blast in Washington threatens the
beginning of a fourth World War, fear is struck
among seven friends having a dinner party. Being
forced to adapt to the living conditions in a bomb
shelter with limited supplies and a stranger, what’s
above ground is a mystery for the group. With
tensions rising and the uncertainty of survival on
each person’s mind, there is one thing that must
be known by all before insanity consumes their
minds: there's always a dark secret behind what
seems to be the truth.

For more informations, click here

A New Era

2018 is the first year of a new era that will see the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) add new artistic resources for participants, and eventually expand the festivals to include even more young artists.

We would like to begin with a sincere thank you to Sears Canada for their outstanding contribution over the years and a special thank you to the 269 backers who gave so generously to our recent fundraising campaign and to all the other groups who have actively helped secure our beloved Drama Festivals. In particular, we are grateful for the efforts of IATSE that mobilized its membership in support of the Festival.

We urge participants and audiences to remember where the Festival has come from, to reflect on its rich legacy, and to work for an even more creative and exciting future. Enjoy!

CEO, National Theatre School of Canada

Executive Director, Drama Festivals

In The Media

May 16, 2018 | | Mainstreet PEI with Karen Mair | Online News Website | P.E.I

Le Festival de théâtre de l'Atlantique à l'Î.-P.-É.

May 16, 2018 | (in French) | Online News Website | Île-du-Prince-Édouard

Watermark Theatre in North Rustico, P.E.I., will host National Theatre School of Canada's Atlantic Drama Festival

May 16, 2018 | | Online News Website | Charlottetown, P.E.I

Atlantic Drama Festival coming to Watermark

May 14, 2018 || Online News Website | Summerside, P.E.I

Top productions on stage

April 15, 2018 | | Online News Website | North Bay, Ontario

Stratford Central students earn awards for acting and writing at National Theatre School Drama Festival competition

April 12, 2018 || Online News Website | Stratford, Ontario

Guelph high school hosts regional theatre festival

April 11, 2018 | | Online News Website | Guelph, Ontario

Eight productions in local high school drama festival

March 31, 2018 | | Online News Website | North Bay, Ontario

Curtains’ up of AHSS Tartan Theatre festival plays

March 28, 2018 | | Online News Website | North Bay, Ontario

Curtains up for Almaguin high school Tartan Theatre festival plays

March 28, 2018 | | Online News Website | North Bay, Ontario

March 24, 2018 | | Online News Website | North Bay, Ontario