To reveal each writer’s unique voice, while developing their imagination


  •  A very high teacher-to-student ratio allowing an exceptional response to individual interests, needs, strengths, and challenges
  • Instruction from professional playwrights, dramaturgs, and directors who understand the realities of contemporary playwriting
  • Invitations to the highly regarded Banff Playwrights Lab: second-year students participate in the Lab to develop their New Words Festival projects
  • Productions, workshops, and public readings of student work under the guidance of professional directors and dramaturgs

3 years of training | 2 students per year

To reveal each writer’s unique voice, while developing their imagination, craft, intellect, and creative process


The Playwriting Program trains students in the foundational principles of dramatic writing, equipping them with a wide array of tools to generate, shape and analyze their own work, with the end goal of creating plays that fulfil each student’s personal artistic vision. 

Writing projects, exercises, workshops, and classes allow students to discover how plays work dramatically, explore new methods of creative generation, practice the challenging art of revision, and identify and pursue their own avenues for artistic growth. 

Through class work, discussion, critical analysis, and exposure to a broad variety of styles and forms, both classical and contemporary, the Playwriting Program works to deepen the student’s understanding of the medium of theatre and the art of dramatic writing.



Fill out the online application form and pay the registration fee before February 14. We’ll be in touch to let you know about the next steps.

You must be at least 18 years old as of December 31 of the year of entry at NTS.


Every application must be accompanied by:

  • Two plays of at least 20 pages each (Please ensure your name appears on your play, and pages are numbered)
  • A letter of intent
  • A theatre resume 

Plays submitted must be authored solely by the applicant. Musicals, adaptations and translations are not accepted. Plays and support material must be submitted online.


Several candidates are invited to an interview before the final selection is made.


NTS offers highly individualized training. As such, the curriculum is subject to change, following the latest development in technology, new artistic practices, and the needs of the unique group of artists making up each class. Our training is always practical, supported by the 20 student shows created each year.


Year 1

Students take a deep dive into the fundamentals of dramatic writing to deepen their connection to their own voices and begin acquiring the tools to reveal them more fully. Core writing exercises, theatre history, text analysis and focused dramaturgical support launch students into an exploration of their own personal artistic practices. 

Year 2

Students run with what they've learned in first-year to vigourously explore their own artistic visions. How do form, style, personal practice, writing techniques and critical analysis inform their playwriting? They develop two central writing projects toward professional workshops and staged readings. 

Year 3

In this trial professional year, the Playwriting students' New Words Festival projects form the backbone of the graduating class' final exercise at NTS. Professional Best Practices and Grant Writing support their exploration of post-graduate opportunities, preparing them for success upon entry to the professional world. 

Program code

For bursaries applications, the program code is FPAL.

Institution Code: 749672

An average of 20 student shows are created each year.

Andrea Romaldi - Director of the Playwriting Program

"Making new plays is as much about self-discovery and human connection as it is about writing.  Are you willing to live in uncertainty? To challenge deeply-held beliefs about yourself, fellow human beings, and the world around you?  What risks are you willing to take to evoke the rich complexities of human experience on stage?”

Andrea Romaldi is a dramaturg, teacher, and theatre administrator who, during her fifteen-year career in theatre, has also worked as an independent producer, director and actor. Prior to joining the National Theatre School, she spent ten seasons as Literary Manager at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre, directing the theatre’s extensive roster of play development programs, and assisting in the development of over 80 new plays, with almost 30 produced.

Read the bio


Our students are taught and mentored by working professional artists who have their finger on the pulse of the artistic community.

They share a wealth of theatre experience from across Canada and around the world. NTS has an overall ratio of two instructors per student. Our group of teaching artists varies each year according to student needs.

Accompanied by excellence

Fatma Sarah Elkashef

Dramaturg working in new play development.
She was the Senior Reader at Soho Theatre in London, U.K. Sarah has also been an associate producer, company manager, literary associate, and more in New York City.

Erin Shields

Playwright and actor. Winner of the 2011 Governor General's Award for her play If We Were Birds. Erin is co-Artistic Director (with Andrea Donaldson) of an independent theatre company, Groundwater Productions. 

Marie Leofeli Romero Barlizo

Playwright and dramaturg 
She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Optional-Residency Creative Writing MFA Program and holds a BFA in Theatre from Concordia University. She is the first visible minority to graduate from the National Theatre School’s Playwriting Program.

Our alumni work with many artistic companies around the globe. Here are a few examples:

  • Alberta Theatre Projects
  • Centaur Theatre
  • Citadel Theatre
  • Factory Theatre
  • Magnetic North Theatre Festival
  • Geordie Productions
  • Native Earth Performing Arts
  • Nightwood Theatre
  • Tarragon Theatre
  • Prairie Theatre Exchange
  • Theatre New Brunswick
  • National Arts Centre


Read the Frequently Asked Questions


514-842-7954, ext. 134


Learn more about tuition fees, student bursaries, and loans. 

Start your application now!

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The National Theatre School: 1 art school, 9 professional training programs