National Theatre School


We would like to thank you for all that you have done to foster student participation in the National Theatre School DRAMAFEST. The Festival is a vehicle for young people to learn to lead, to exercise their empathy, to practice listening, to find community, to talk about complicated things, and so much more.

Watch the magic happen

Who are we?

The National Theatre School DRAMAFEST is an opportunity for high school students to express their creativity and find their unique voice The Festival brings together a large community, under the guidance of professionals, adjudicators, and workshop leaders, to celebrate, discuss, and support one another's creative efforts. The event is a hub for theatre crafts, promoting them through teamwork, problem solving, and entrepreneurship. It presents to audiences, current and future, the world of possibilities that theatre has to offer.

Mission and Values

NTS DRAMAFEST's primary responsibility is to make theatre more accessible to all young Canadians.

We achieve that by encouraging community spirit, collaboration, and curiosity in an environment of equity, safety, and curiosity.

To ensure that we follow these values, we will work actively to find ways to connect teachers, artists and youth from different communities and to foster a space for them to share their voices.




Reaching Canadian youth across the country



Founded in 1946 by Ken Watts, the Drama Festival operated only in Ontario and was mostly funded by Sears (and previously Simpsons).                              




For thirty years, Watts’s wife Ann worked tirelessly to organize and maintain the Festival. After her death in 1981, Wayne Fairhead and Ian Waldron were co-opted by Watts to be his Executive Assistants.



In 1986, Watts appointed Wayne Fairhead to be Executive Coordinator of the Festival, and when he retired in 1991, Fairhead became Executive Director.


Under Wayne’s leadership, the Festival grew country-wide. Sister-festivals were founded in British Columbia (2005) and in Atlantic Canada (2011), and now involve 400 high schools and 15,000 students every year.


When Sears withdrew its sponsorship in 2017, The National Theatre School and the IATSE labour union announced that they would be joining forces to secure the immediate future of the long-running Ontario Drama Festival, as well as its younger offshoots in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.



The National Theatre School stepped in to become the festival’s official presenter. The following editions of the Festival were financially supported by a sponsor, secured through the leadership of the NTS.


The festival finally has an institutional house and is now called National Theatre School DRAMAFEST! As an official program of the National Theatre School and in line with the School’s mandate, NTS DRAMAFEST now has access to the school's facilities and rich artistic community, ensuring its sustainability and continuous growth.

National Presenting Partner

January 17, 2019, MONTRÉAL, QC – The National Theatre School (NTS) is proud to announce a new partnership with TD Bank Group as the national presenting partner of the National Theatre School DRAMAFEST.

Read more