Our commitments and our progress

Art transforms.

Art schools cultivate critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, problem-solving, communication and positive leadership.

The National Theatre School of Canada is an art school rooted in bringing people together and creating exchanges between nations; an art school in constant evolution. Being a catalyst for new ideas and transformation requires that we nourish both our roots and our dreams.

Here are our 2022–2023 commitments, priorities and advances in the realm of equity, inclusion, diversity, decolonization and the elimination of discrimination. With humility, and from a position of continuous learning, the School’s staff bases its work on ongoing trainings, the wise counsel of the School’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, and the experiences of people who belong to equity-seeking groups to better support them and to raise citizens’ awareness of these groups’ realities and the importance of their wellbeing. The responsibility for equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility is shared by all departments at the School, and the actions that we have undertaken in the last school year reaffirm the four priorities set out in March 2022: 

  1. Reexamine the pedagogical and curricular approach.
  2. Assess human resources policies and procedures. 
  3. Understand and improve the student experience. 
  4. Update the documents setting out our values, policies and procedures.

Reexamine the current pedagogical and curricular approach: Create spaces for transformation

A pedagogy in evolution

For more than two years now, the School has had the pleasure and privilege of counting more than ten associate artists within its teaching teams. Coming from various communities across the country, these artists bring their experience, expertise and transformative vision into this new role.

Our curriculum is in constant evolution and is enhanced each year by the addition of new, diversified content. In the last school year, for example, the reading list for our interprétation students was revised to include Innu poems by author Joséphine Bacon. The curriculum was also changed to add a performance course given by artist Soleil Launière as well as an introduction to the artistic process with Émilie Monnet.


Openness, welcome and hospitality

We are continuing the New Pathways pilot project, which provides an alternative entry point for IBPOC and marginalized artists who want to study at NTS. This year, the project was led in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts, the oldest Indigenous professional performing arts company in Canada, and helped Indigenous candidates join the National Theatre School’s programs at their own pace. NTS recognizes that there are numerous obstacles to access, and so works to create ties with the Indigenous artistic community to increase accessibility and effectively support Indigenous candidates while trying to bring an end to the pre-existing system of exclusion.  

Another pilot project is also ongoing: the Stage Découverte(s). This internship program is an initiative that aims to open the School’s doors to young aspiring artists aged 15 to 20 who are facing sociocultural, financial or geographic barriers. It involves a free three-day internship in which participants explore all the theatre disciplines through the creation of short plays.


A new Centre for Arts and Social Innovation

In keeping with the School, the arts engagement team is transforming, and is now called the Centre for Arts and Social Innovation (CASI) of the National Theatre School of Canada. Through CASI, our intention is to foster access to theatre, to build bridges between artists and communities, and to encourage artistic practice for people’s wellbeing and social and mental health. Based at the Monument-National performing arts theatre, CASI is developing projects across Canada, including laboratories and research and creation residencies, the development of online arts research and teaching platforms, public and intergenerational theatre projects and courses, multidisciplinary narrative events, the pan-Canadian youth festival DramaFest, the Innu troupe Shapelitakuan in Pessamit, and support for community theatre initiatives.

Assess human resources policies and procedures: Taking a position

Salary policy update

A major human resources project has been conducted in recent years aiming to make the School more equitable, diversified and inclusive for all marginalized groups. The result of this process led to, among other things, a major update to the salary policy: all of the positions and pay scales were reevaluated. As well, specific trainings were provided to all permanent employees, one about workplace harassment and one about Indigenous cultures.

Building accessibility

The School has now become a more physically accessible space. Major renovations earned the Pavillon Saint-Denis a certification in accessibility for people with reduced mobility. This certification, obtained following an assessment performed by the organization Kéroul, gave the School a rating of “fully accessible,” which means the establishment meets all the accessibility criteria relative to a visitor’s trajectory and provides a satisfying visit experience for the majority of people who have mobility impairments. This change was essential to improving the inclusion of staff members, students and members of the general public, as the number of visitors to the School is steadily growing thanks to our community initiatives and our Centre for Arts and Social Innovation.

Understand and improve the student experience: Listen and support

We make an effort to meet the needs of all students in order to provide them with positive learning experiences. Inclusive strategies contribute to creating a learning environment in which all students feel equally valued and have the feeling that their contributions and points of view are appreciated and respected.


Financial aid

We entirely reworked our financial aid program in order to better meet students’ needs from a perspective of greater focus on accessibility. With a view to transparency, all the details of the financial aid program, as well as the aid simulation tool, are available on the Tuition & Financial Aid section of our website.

We also adopted a policy of covering registration fees for all Indigenous people who apply to the School.


Indigenous Advisory Circle

Once again this year, we are pleased to support the important work of the Indigenous Advisory Circle at the National Theatre School. The Circle is made up of a diversified group of Indigenous artists who actively contribute to developing inclusive policies, formulating governance recommendations, developing the Indigenous student community, and raising awareness among the School’s employees and teachers. Visit the Indigenous Advisory Circle web page to learn more about the many activities taking place in 2023.


Student Association

This year, we created a Student Life Action Council that encourages and uplifts the initiatives of students who want to improve their everyday environment at the School. These initiatives develop a sense of belonging among the various communities that are present within the School.


Equity, diversity and inclusion

We relaunched the program of activities to raise student awareness about diversity issues. In addition to a subcommittee of the Student Association, a new committee, made up of employees from various teams at the School, proposes conversations and actions to increase equity, diversity and inclusion.

Update the documents setting out the NTS’s values, policies and procedures: From words to actions

Because accessibility is a pillar of the School’s mission, it’s at the core of every decision we make. Applying a more transparent and inclusive approach with a higher level of accountability is allowing us to aim higher to achieve our vision of what we want to be, meaning a school that’s accessible to all.

Strategic plan

Our 2022–2024 strategic plan was conceived, developed and built in an innovative way. One of the major strategic orientations is entirely focused on integrating Indigenous practices and principles into the School as well as improving our practices in the realm of equity, diversity and inclusion. The key elements of this plan relate to both the teaching and operational environments at the School. At its core, the plan is about dismantling inequalities.

Ombudsperson, student services and policies

We continue to offer students and staff direct access, at all times, to the services of an ombudsperson for those who want to be heard, receive advice and find support. This person can act as a mediator and provides an essential point of contact for any complaint regarding the respect of our policies.

In this same aim, the School has positively transformed student support by creating a permanent position for a person representing diversity within the student services department. In so doing, the establishment hopes to help students see themselves reflected within the School’s staff as well as to be able to learn from other points of view, contributing to a diversified environment. 

Updating the School’s policies, for us, is an important form of action that concretely helps make the School more equitable, diverse and inclusive. To this end, we fully reviewed the Policy to Prevent and Fight Sexual Violence and the Policy to Prevent Harassment & Bullying and to Promote a Safe and Healthy Environment.

Focus on the future: The work that awaits us in 2023–2024

The School is preparing to undertake other necessary actions, starting by renewing the Indigenous Advisory Circle’s mandate for a third year; creating a permanent full-time position at NTS to support the development of Indigenous perspectives within the School; reassessing all of our recruitment practices and strategies for to make our professional programs more inclusive and diverse; and adding trainings for our teachers and regular external staff to raise their awareness about issues of equity, diversity and inclusion and about the experiences of equity-seeking people and communities.

As one of the most important art schools on this territory, we must make courageous decisions that reflect our values. We will update this page as regularly as possible to report on our efforts and advances in matters of equity, diversity and inclusion.

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