Lifting barriers for underrepresented communities
Multiple causes can exclude artists from traditional admission procedures, notably: ethnicity, financial situation, socio-cultural factors and geographical limitations. It Is important for the National Theatre School of Canada to ensure that its student body represents today’s diversity of communities.
To do this, the school must implement proactive actions to remove barriers to entry to NTS for artists from underrepresented communities. New Pathways is the current alternative path for IBPOC and marginalized artists who want to study at NTS.
The steps of the process
New Pathways is an initiative in which NTS is collaborating with IBPOC-led theatre organizations to create bridges between specific communities and the school. Once a partnership is established, the collaborating organization selects an artist from their community to enter in a professional training program, without having to go through the traditional selection process.
It is important for NTS that only the collaborating organizations be involved in the selection process, so that the selection is made only by artists from the same community. Then, the program director selects an artist to be the mentor of the future student.
2. Needs-based assessment
Once the selection process is completed, members of the collaborating organization, the selected participant, the mentor and a committee formed by NTS staff and associate artists meet for a needs-based assessment, in order to plan the financial aid the participant will receive from NTS.
3. Studying at NTS
The candidate is then directly accepted into the professional training program of their choice. During the school year, bi-monthly conversations between the mentor and the participant are scheduled and biannual and annual follow-up with the collaborating organization and the NTS committee are organized.
A project in the making
Currently, New Pathways is a project only for the Production Design and Technical Arts (PDTA) program in collaboration with Native Earth Performing Arts, the oldest professional Indigenous theatre company in Canada. The NTS committee includes Andrea Lundy, Director of the PDTA program, Jimmy Blais, Indigenous artist on NTS' Indigenous Advisory Circle, and Daniel Bennett, PDTA Associate Artist.