Industry Listing, Submission.


Thanks to the support of the Birks Family Foundation, and the Metcalf Foundation, the National Theatre School of Canada is searching for two emerging artistic leaders who are working to become Artistic Directors at institutional performing arts organizations for a one-year, intensive preparatory program.

The NTS Artistic Leadership Residencies, offered in partnership with the Banff Centre Cultural Leadership Program, aims to become the gold-standard training program referenced by Boards, recruitment agencies and organizations looking to fill their artistic leadership vacancies. Participants in the program will be equipped to deal with the hard skills to lead complex organizations through turbulent times and will offer up new models of leadership for Canada’s performing arts sector.


The performing arts sector is experiencing rapid and intensive change. Shifting public interest, a call for more inclusive practices, the changing role of civic institutions in society and the impact of technology are just a few of the forces that are altering what it means to be an artistic organization today. Being an Artistic Director is more complex and challenging than ever and requires a profound understanding of the communities you intend to serve. This means building relationships with new audiences and being brave enough to lead change. Major Canadian cultural institutions are undergoing a rare moment of generational transition as long-serving leaders begin to retire. The NTS Artistic Leadership Residency program is a national first, designed to serve the artistic milieu during this moment of change and prepare emerging artistic leadership to successfully helm Canada’s performing arts institutions. The program, inspired by NTS’s pragmatic training approach (e.g. learning by doing), focuses on leadership and organizational skills rather than the development of artistic practice.


A one year (November-October) part-time residency for emerging artistic leadership that will:
1. Develop the “hard skills” required for leading an organization including but not limited to working with boards of directors, long term planning, audience building, fundraising, financial literacy, and human resource management;
2. Assist leaders to understand the increasingly complex cultural environment and define the values that will inform a new approach to artistic leadership;
3. Build professional networks that promote the reputation of the emerging leaders;
4. Explore inclusive practices and the art of developing partnerships.

Residents will:

1. Participate fully in the Banff Centre Cultural Leadership Program which takes places over four in-person intensives and several inter-sessional meetings;
2. Work with the School to create a custom-designed professional placement program at institutions and organizations that interest them;
3. Participate in various performing arts conferences and events to help build a professional network;
4. Participate in various Board, philanthropic and political events to develop fundraising and networking skills;
5. Design a practicum at the School that includes sharing their learning with NTS students and participation in the School’s expanded activities recently launched through the NTS Action Plan.


Residents must be available for all Banff Centre sessions. Schedules for Montreal and other components will be designed with each resident. The program runs from November 2017 to October 2018 – participants should expect to contribute 15-18 weeks of time during that period.


Scheduled TBD, based on personalized course design.

Banff Centre:

Session one: Nov 12 - 18, 2017 at Banff Centre
Session two: Jan 14 - 20, 2018 at Banff Centre
Session three: Mar 2018, at NTS in Montreal (tbc)
Session four: May 13 - 18, 2018 at Banff Centre (tbc)

Who Should Apply:

Two residencies are available (candidates do not have to specify):
1. The Inaugural Birks Family Foundation Artistic Leadership Residency: available to Anglophone and Francophone artists nationally
2. Metcalf Foundation Artistic Leadership Residency: available to Anglophone and Francophone artists from Ontario only

The Artistic Leadership Development Program is aimed at emerging artistic practitioners who are hoping to assume leadership roles in institutional contexts. Artists should have 8+/- years of professional practice and be on a trajectory to assume the role of Artistic Director in the near future. Artistic Directors of the future will not exclusively come from Directing or Acting backgrounds, so practitioners of all kinds should consider this program.

NTS is fervently committed to broadening the talent pool for leadership in Canada – diversity of all kinds will drive the sector forward and applicants from all backgrounds, communities, orientations and abilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicants should:

• Have some demonstrated leadership experience;
• Be actively pursuing artistic leadership opportunities of increasing scale and complexity;
• Be an outspoken and recognised advocate within their respective artistic community;
• Understand the role of artistic leadership as central to the overall health of an organization;
• Believe in the role of cultural organizations as civic institutions that drive community growth, development and wellbeing;
• Are seeking to learn and share their own experiences with the community of the School.

Some level of bilingualism is recommended though not required as Residents will be working with French and English artists across the country. Banff curriculum is currently offered in English, though both organizations are committed to serving artists in French and English.

Financial Structure

Valued at approximately $50,000 per Resident, the program is free with the following provided:
• Honorarium (minimum of $5000)
• Personalized curriculum at NTS, basic tuition ($5500)
• Participation in Banff Centre Cultural Leadership Program, including food & accommodation (value $29,000)
• Travel and accommodation for core pedagogical elements, including return journeys to Banff and Montreal ($5000+/-)
• Fees for conferences and events ($2000+/-)

Resident Artists should be prepared to work with NTS to find affordable or free housing options for extended stays in Montreal or other locations if necessary and are responsible for living expenses while outside of their home cities.


Applications should be sent to by August 18, 2017 with the subject line Leadership Residency, and include as attached PDFs:
• A detailed CV (max. 3 pages – titled lastnameCV)
• A leadership statement (max. 4 pages – titled lastname
statement) that answers the following:
o Why do you make theatre?
o What about your professional trajectory has led you to apply?
o What challenges have you consistently faced in the sector?
o What are the challenges artistic directors and theatre companies are facing today?
o What artists, organizations or models inspire you?
o What does leadership mean to you?
• 2-3 letters of recommendation that speak to different aspects of your artistic practice and leadership qualities.

Shortlist candidates will be interviewed (in-person or remotely) with finalists invited to visit NTS in a final round of interviews. Please call 1-866-547-73278 x132 for further information.

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