• Rachel Ganz Interview

    Video by Marie-Ève Rochon and Alexandre Gauthier
    Banner by Écorce

  • Playwriting Elena Belyea

    Elena Belyea (Playwriting, 2015) during a rehearsal for her play Cleave
    Picture by Maxime Côté

  • Playwriting Cleave

    Cleave by Elena Belyea (Playwriting, 2015)
    Pictured: Acting students Emma Laishram and Cynthia Hicks
    Picture by Maxime Côté

  • Playwriting Cliff Cardinal

    Cliff Cardinal (Playwriting, 2015) during rehearsal for his play The Andersons
    Also pictured: Rebecca Gibian (Acting, 2015)
    Picture by Maxime Côté

  • The Andersons

    The Andersons, by Cliff Cardinal (Playwriting, 2015)
    Pictured: Humberly Gonzalez
    Photo by Maxime Côté

  • Banff Playwrights Colony 2014

    Cliff Cardinal and Elena Belyea (Playwriting, 2015) at the 2014 Banff Playwrights Colony

  • Meet the Playwright: Jordan Tannahill

    Playwriting students meeting playwright Jordan Tannahill in September 2015



The NTS Playwriting program aims to reveal and shape each writer’s unique voice, with a low teacher-to-student ratio that allows for an exceptional response to individual interests, needs, strengths and challenges. Students learn and receive inspiration by working alongside their colleagues in the Acting, Directing, Set and Costume Design and Production programs. Guest playwrights, dramaturgs and directors from across Canada are regularly invited to teach at the School, giving students access to experienced professionals who understand the realities of contemporary playwriting.

The Playwriting program reveals each writer’s unique voice, while developing their imagination, intellect, and creative process. An array of writing projects, workshops and classes allow students to discover the rhythms, tone and style that best serve their plays. 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 inner workings of a story, in theatre and other mediums.

Watch our interview with Playwriting student Rachel Ganz.

This program is for you if you possess:

  • a unique and singular voice;
  • a passion for learning and storytelling;
  • the rebellious streak of a truth-seeker and dreamer who believes that a story can change the world;
  • a strong work ethic;
  • personal, social and political curiosity.

What makes the program unique?

  • A very low teacher to student ratio allows for an exceptional response to individual interests, needs, strengths, and challenges;
  • Guest playwrights, dramaturgs and directors who understand the realities of contemporary playwriting teach regularly in the program;
  • Invitations to the highly-regarded Banff Playwrights Colony: second year students participate in the Colony to develop their third year projects;
  • Throughout their three years at the School, students participate in productions, workshops and public readings of their work under the guidance of professional directors and dramaturgs.

Where are the plays of NTS Playwriting graduates presented?

  • Alberta Theatre Projects, Calgary
  • Cahoots Theatre, Toronto
  • Centaur Theatre, Montreal
  • Citadel Theatre, Edmonton
  • Factory Theatre, Toronto
  • Fringe festivals across Canada
  • Geordie Productions, Montreal
  • Native Earth Performing Arts, Toronto
  • Nightwood Theatre, Toronto
  • Tarragon Theatre, Toronto
  • Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton
  • The National Arts Centre, Ottawa
  • … and many other festivals and professional theatres.

1st Year

Students discover and deepen their voice and process through core writing exercises, workshops, classes, and seminars aimed at developing the whole artist while practicing the discipline of writing.

1st Year Project (Writing, Dramaturgy, Workshops, Reading) Adaptation Project (Writing, Dramaturgy, Reading)
Weekly writing workshops Creation Workshop
Anti-realism workshop European Plays and Playwrights
Canadian Plays and Playwrights Documentary Theatre
Writing in the Digital Age Writing For Video Games
Text and Play Analysis Great Ideas
Altered Truths Theatre History
Movement Jeu
Neutral Mask Playwrights' Seminars
Play Labs

2nd Year

A vigorous exploration of style, form, personal practice, self-expression, and critical thinking, while developing two central writing projects toward professional workshops and staged readings.

2nd Year Project (Writing, Dramaturgy, Professional Workshop, Public Reading) TYA Project Phase I (Writing, Dramaturgy, Professional Workshop)
15 Minute Play Project (Writing, Dramaturgy, Public Staging) Banff Playwrights Colony (3rd year project development)
Weekly writing workshops Writing for Television
Creation Workshop Anti-realism Workshop
European Plays and Playwrights Canadian Plays and Playwrights
Documentary Theatre Writing in the Digital Age
Writing For Video Games Text and Play Analysis
Great Ideas Altered Truths
Theatre History Movement
Contemporary Ballet 20th Century Dance
Playwrights' Seminars Play Labs
Play Factory

3rd Year

A trial professional year: a central project to be considered for full production, and exploration of post-graduate opportunities through the Biz. Additional creation projects are devised in conjunction with the Program Director.

3rd Year Studio Project (Writing, Dramaturgy, Workshops, Production) The Biz (Grants, contracts, self-producing, residencies, networking, agents & publishing, and cultivating post-graduation opportunities)
TYA Project phase II (Writing, Dramaturgy, Professional Workshop, Public reading) Translation project (Professional translation of a selected play)
Personal Writing and Creation Projects Weekly writing workshops
Creation Workshop Anti-realism Workshop
European Plays and Playwrights Canadian Plays and Playwrights
Documentary Theatre Writing in the Digital Age
Writing For Video Games Great Ideas
Altered Truths Movement
Contemporary Ballet 20th century dance
Playwrights' Seminars Play Labs
Note : Curriculum is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.


An award-winning actor, writer, dramaturg, and artistic administrator, Brian Drader’s plays have been produced across Canada, the United States, and Europe. In addition to theatre, Brian’s diverse writing and dramaturgical portfolio includes film, radio, fiction, multi-media, museum exhibitions and Cirque du Soleil engagements.
Photo: Maxime Côté

Complete Biography


  • Nick Carpenter
  • Robert Chafe
  • Denise Clarke
  • Claudia Dey
  • Sean Dixon
  • Brian Drader
  • Fatma Sarah Elkashef
  • Jodi Essery
  • Catherine Farish
  • Kathleen Flaherty
  • Dean Fleming
  • Jonathan Garfinkel
  • Brendan Healy
  • Tomson Highway
  • Jill Keiley
  • Ann-Marie Kerr
  • Maureen LaBonté
  • Adam Lazarus
  • Ann-Marie MacDonald
  • Bryden MacDonald
  • Daniel MacIvor
  • Michael Mackenzie
  • Ruth Madoc-Jones
  • Darren O'Donnell
  • Morris Panych
  • Adam Noah Pettle
  • Djanet Sears
  • Ivana Shein
  • Annabel Soutar
  • Sarah Garton Stanley
  • Tedi Tafel
  • Bobby Theodore
  • Judith Thompson
  • Kelly Thornton
  • Emma Tibaldo
  • Iris Turcott
  • Ker Wells
  • Susan Williams
  • David Yee
  • Marcus Youssef

Note: Faculty is subject to change, and varies each year according to student needs.


Application form

Candidates must be at least 18 years old as of December 31, 2016, and must fill out the application form, which may be mailed in or submitted online.
Registration fee ($60) must be made by certified cheque or money order (mail) or processed online (Visa or Mastercard) by January 31, 2016, in order to be considered for the autumn session.


Documents to be submitted

The 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
  • resume (optional)

Musicals and adaptations are not accepted.
Plays and support material may be submitted online. If submitting by mail, please include two copies of each play.



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


Jesse Stong

My experience at National Theatre School of Canada was nothing short of life changing. The faculty went above and beyond; pushing me past my perceived limits while nurturing my emerging processes, and above all else respecting me as a unique artist in need of an individualized, personal learning plan. The beautiful building itself is a safe-haven bursting at the seams with other inspiring emerging artists and plenty of studio space is available for practice and development. I will always cherish my three years at NTS, and left the program feeling reinvigorated, disciplined, and even more passionate about theatre.
Jesse Stong (Playwriting, 2013)

Claudia Dey

The years I spent at the National Theatre School were like being shot from a cannon; there was no choice but to dare yourself. As we rocketed along, we were instructed and supported by the luminaries of the theatre community. Back on the ground, our diplomas were recognized as a most sought after passport. People knew we'd been launched by the School.
Claudia Dey (Playwriting, 1997) - Playwright and novelist

Megan Coles

Attending the National Theatre School of Canada was tantamount to embarking on a creative treasure hunt where determination and perseverance rewarded you with confidence and experience. The desire to tell powerful stories is applauded and the need to incite change is encouraged. NTS is genuinely a place where a young writer from a tiny outport in Newfoundland found her voice, my voice.
Megan Coles (Playwriting, 2009) - Playwright

  • Morwyn Brebner
  • Nick Carpenter
  • Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
  • Keir Cutler
  • Sean Devine
  • Claudia Dey
  • Gil Garratt
  • Michael Gauthier
  • Matthew MacKenzie
  • Jason Maghanoy
  • Clement Martini
  • Celia McBride
  • Adam Noah Pettle
  • Jeremy Taylor
Program Registration
Next Intake:

September 2016


Three years, full-time


2016-2017 School Year
Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents: $5,500
Foreign Students: $11,000

Registration Deadline Date:

January 31, 2016