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Produced by National Arts Centre Théâtre français
© ANQ-M, photo by Conrad Poirier, Staging Othello
Semi-professionals rehearsing Act II of Othello by Shakespeare, in Montreal, in 1938.

Becoming a Theatre Professional

Anyone who wants to train as a theatre professional in Canada has many options. Students can specialize in the field as early as high school, and it’s a good way for them to assess how interested they are in joining the profession.

A few CEGEPs (Collèges d’enseignement général et professionnel) offer a diplôme d’études secondaires (DEC) in theatre. While some of these courses prepare students for university, others produce graduates ready to enter the profession. Although these three- or four-year courses are intended mainly to train future actors and designers, graduates frequently turn to writing or directing. Conservatories and post-CEGEP institutions are devoted entirely to teaching the theatrical professions. These institutions offer programs lasting an average of four years, and provide intensive practical training in the main sectors of the profession. A few universities offer a certificat, a baccalauréat, a master’s degree or a PhD in drama. While most of the education offered is theory-based, some programs are striving to reach a balance with the practical studies as well.

Private schools, most of which train actors only, revolve around many of these institutions. Each one takes its own individual path, concentrating on one particular theatrical genre or aiming at more general training. Some are for young people, others for adults.

Most institutions that teach theatre still use the audition process to select which applicants they will accept. Aspiring actors prepare for this entrance examination, either on their own or with help from a coach, by rehearsing the scenes they will perform. Some institutions can provide a list of coaches on request.

Theatre Schools

N.B. unless otherwise specified website links are available in French only.


Professional French-language Theatre Schools

École de théâtre, Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe
Option-théâtre, Cégep Lionel Groulx (Ste-Thérèse) :

Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal :

Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec :

National Theatre School [website in English] :

École supérieure de théâtre, l’UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) :

Theoretical education in theatre including some practical training

Université Laval
- Baccalauréat en études théâtrales :
- Diplôme en théâtre :
- Certificat en théâtre :

Interdisciplinary training in the arts, including theatre

Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

- Baccalauréat Interdisciplinaire en Arts (7886)
- Certificat en théâtre (4173)

Theoretical training in theatre

Université de Montréal, département d’études françaises:

Preparatory training for professional theatre schools

Cégep Saint-Laurent:

Specialized professional training

Mime Omnibus:

Workshops and private classes

Note that the type of training offered in these classes and workshops varies greatly, as does the quality. Look into them carefully before you enroll. We offer this list for information only. It does not constitute a recommendation by the National Arts Centre/Centre national des arts.

Centre de création scénique :

ICPA (International Centre of Performing Arts) [website in English]:

École La Parenthèse – (450) 442-0740

École de théâtre de Laval - (450) 629-8530

École les mil visages : -

École Studio La Pépinière : (514) 351-0507

Masqu’arcad : or

Nos voix, nos visages - (450) 442-0740

Studio-Théâtre da Sylva :

Another list is available at the CQT (Conseil québécois du théâtre) site and the portal. You can also go to the portal of  the Académie québécoise du théâtre at:

New Brunswick

Practical and theoretical training

Université de Moncton, Département d’art dramatique


Theoretical and practical training

University of Ottawa : Department of theatre [website in English]