The Future of Theatre Since 1960

École nationale de théâtre
Three Sisters, 1992, with Sandra Oh

NTS has established itself as a centre of excellence in theatre training. It has earned this reputation through pedagogical practices that are constantly questioned, re-evaluated, adjusted, equally divided between tradition and modernity, transmission and creation.


École nationale de théâtre
Powys Thomas et Jean Gascon, fondateurs des sections anglaise et française


On November 2, Michel Saint-Denis officially opens the School.

“To meet the needs of Canada’s theatre, this country must train its own artists and workers.” With these words, a plan was launched for the establishment of NTS.


  • The Production Program is launched and includes Design and Technical courses.
  • The School holds its first summer session in Stratford and would continue to do so until 1965.


First graduating class, including, among others, Paul Hecht and Martha Henry.


The Community Players Theatre Library is turned over to the School, on condition that it remain open to the public.


The School kicks off its 10th academic year by opening its new premises at 5030 Saint-Denis Street, where the main campus is still located today. 


The Écriture dramatique program, headed by André Pagé, director of the Interprétation française section, is created.


The School becomes the official owner of the Monument-National.


The Playwriting program is created.


Two major shows featuring graduates of the School depart on a cross-Canada tour to mark the institution’s first quarter-century.


Graduating students from the Acting program travel to Russia for a training workshop at the Moscow Theatre School.


After a vast restoration, the renovated Monument-National is officially opened on June 24.


The Directing and Mise en scène programs are created


First-ever Homecoming Weekend, October 28 to 30, with close to 400 alumni in attendance from across Canada and abroad.


The School launches a cultural and pedagogical exchange with the Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique (CNSAD) of Paris. 11 NTS students from the French Acting program take off for Paris in December 2015, while the School hosts 15 students from the CNSAD. The exchange is repeated in 2016. In 2018, Production students join the group going to Paris.


Creation of the Artistic Residency Program which offers three pathways for professional artists to support them on their artistic journey: Artistic Leadership, Indigenous Artist in Residence and Design.The School also starts working towards a new strategic plan to give more Canadians access to its expertise and facilities, including Indigenous artists, young people, businesses, professional theatre practioners, and the general public.


Establishment of the Community Engagement Department whose objective is to open the doors of the School to as many people as possible. Through various courses, workshops and programs, the School offers different communities access to the resources and expertise developed over the course of its history. Following the announcement of the withdrawal of its main funder, NTS rescued the Sears Drama Festival, integrating it into a separate program under the name of the National Theatre School's DRAMAFEST.


A pilot project of public workshops receives its first students in Montreal. Over 400 adults and youth register over the fall and winter in acting, writing, choir or production classes. 


The Monumental Transformation campaign reaches its $1.5 million goal.


Many of Canada’s most important theatre, performance, film, and television artists have been trained at the School.

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