The Best Theatre Colleges in Canada for 2018

For the past couple of years, we at OnStage have ranked various theatre programs across the country. However we haven't done as much work as we should have regarding our neighbors to the north, Canada. 

There is little doubt that there are some fantastic programs in Canada. So we wanted to make sure we gave them their proper attention for any students that may be looking to study there. We base our rankings on tuition/financial aid/scholarships, curriculum, faculty, career support, basically, everything you yourself would consider before making a college choice. We even have gone as far to call admission offices to ask them questions. 

So without further ado, here are our picks for the Top Five Theatre Colleges in the Great White North. 

5. University of Alberta - Edmonton

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Fast Fact: The Department of Drama features first-rate, professional facilities for students and faculty to pursue creative projects in a variety of theatre and design spaces.

The Timms Centre for the Arts, a state-of-the-art facility, contains a 289-seat proscenium theatre, flexible second playing space, and exceptional support facilities (costume, props, and set workshops and collections, production offices, dressing rooms, rehearsal hall, graduate office, seminar room, and green room). All spaces are designed to facilitate teaching, research and creativity.

With its own specialized lighting and tracking systems, video and sound equipment, adaptable seating and drapery, the Second Playing Space is used as a performance space for scripted and improvisational plays, for workshop productions of new plays by undergraduate and graduate students, for productions by graduate students and guest artists, and for creative research by faculty.

4. Sheridan University - Ontario

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Fast Fact: The best musical theatre program in Canada. The program puts on six musicals a year in Theatre Sheridan at the Trafalgar Road Campus in Oakville, as well as a number of theatrical productions in the Studio Theatre. In addition, every student has individual performances in acting, dance and commercial singing.

Upon graduation, most often over 80% immediately find representation by major agents and/or contractual employment, often in major Toronto, West End and Broadway commercial resident productions or national tours of such musicals as Jesus Christ Superstar, Spring Awakening, Rock of Ages, American Idiot, West Side Story, Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys, Les Misérables, Rent, Tommy, Beauty and the Beast, Mamma Mia! and Phantom of the Opera.

3. York University - Ontario

Fast Fact: The best choice for MFA and terminal degree seeking students. AMPD Theatre offers undergraduate degrees in Performance Creation Research (BA), Acting (BFA), and Production/Design/Production (BFA). Students spend a challenging first year learning as much as possible, through academic inquiry and hands-on practice, about all aspects of live performance, including history, theory, acting, design, production, and management. With this exposure to the rich and varied possibilities for a career in the theatre, students are able to make choices and pursue specialized courses of study in upper years. Acting, Devised Theatre, Playwriting and Design/Production require a separate application for students wishing to pursue those specialties after first year.

They offer an MFA in Theatre, with specializations in Acting , Performance Creation, Directing  and Design. With the only Graduate Acting program in the country, and with remarkable opportunities for grad directors to work with seasoned graduate actors and BFA acting and design students, York offers a unique training sequence to serious artists. As well, they have the MFA in collaboration with Canadian Stage (Toronto) offering a highly specialized, advanced training in theatrical directing. Two chosen directors working with York’s graduate faculty and Canadian Stage Artists will integrate their academic studies and studio work at York with an internship in artistic directing projects at one of Canada’s premier theatres.

Graduate degrees in Theatre & Performance Studies (MA and PhD) are also offered, focusing on theatre, performance and cultural politics. 

2. Concordia University - Quebec

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Fast Fact: The Department of Theatre productions take place at several venues on campus, most notably, the D.B. Clarke Theatre, a fully equipped 380-seat proscenium theatre, one of Concordia's premier performing spaces.

Since moving downtown in 2009, Theatre has maintained some of its operations on the Loyola campus including the Cazalet Studio, a black-box theatre with flexible seating, and the intimate F.C. Smith Auditorium.

School offers a Performance Creation program. This is a 60-credit specialization that provides an introduction to many aspects of theatre, from writing, directing, production, dramaturgy and social-engaged practices, to exploring the possibilities of creating work in an ensemble.

1. University of Saskatchewan - Saskatchewan

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Fast Fact: The University of Saskatchewan Drama Department was established in 1945, making it the oldest degree-granting department of drama not only in Saskatchewan, not only in Canada, but also in the entire British Commonwealth.

An excellent faculty staff included Moira Day, Ph.D. A former book editor and co-editor of Theatre Research in Canada, she has edited two anthologies The Hungry Spirit, by Elsie Park Gowan, an important pioneer in the early western Canadian theatre and The West of All Possible Worlds, an anthology of contemporary Prairie playwrights. 

The Department of Drama at the University of Saskatchewan is the first of its kind in Canada to introduce an Aboriginal Theatre Program. ATP is a comprehensive and experiential-based learning approach to train emerging First Nations and Métis theatre professionals in the areas of Performance, Theatre Design and Collective Creation. Launched in the fall of 2015, the 30-credit program provides rigorous training in preparation for a career in theatre, television, film and related entertainment industries.