The Canada Council was created by an Act of Parliament in 1957 (Canada Council for the Arts Act) to foster and promote the study, enjoyment and production of works in the arts, and operate at “arm’s length” or independently of government. Since then, the Canada Council has evolved into a dynamic organization that is Canada’s leading supporter of the arts.
CALQ – Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
The CALQ’s mission is to promote sustainable and equitable cultural development in all regions of Québec, supporting artistic and literary creation, experimentation, production and dissemination in the disciplines of the visual arts, arts and crafts, literature and storytelling, performing arts, multidisciplinary arts, media arts and architectural research.
A dynamic partner of Montréal artistic creation, the Conseil des arts de Montréal supports and recognizes excellence in professional artistic creation, production, and presentation through financial support, advice, and cooperative and development actions.
A national organization representing Québec’s professional theatre milieu, the CQT serves m
ma political force and a lever of development of theatrical arts in Québec. Mobilized by the vitality of its community, the CQT is at the forefront of defending the needs and interests of its members.
Professional Arts Associations & Unions
As an advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven organization that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of professional performers. Montreal’s ACTRA branch represents nearly 3,000 of Canada’s 22,000 professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada.
ADC is a national, professional non-profit arts service organization dedicated to promoting, pursuing and protecting the interests of set, costume, lighting, projection and sound designers working within the performing arts in Canada.
The Quebec Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APASQ) represents professionals of lighting, costumes, sets and sound in theatre, music, dance, variety, opera and other multidisciplinary events.
The Quebec Association of Theatre Critics (AQCT) has been promoting communication among theater critics since 1984, encouraging freedom of expression in the theatre and in the exercise of criticism while improving the quality of critical writing.
The mandate of the Quebec Association of Puppeteers (AQM) is to foster the evolution of the profession, to support its presence in contemporary theatre, and to raise public awareness of the work and research surrounding the puppetry arts.
Equity is the voice of professional artists engaging in live performance in English Canada. CAEA is a national association representing almost 6,000 artists working in theatre, opera and dance from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Equity’s membership includes performers, directors, choreographers, fight directors and stage managers.
CFM provides a variety of services for the Canadian Musician. From online hosting to getting Canadian bands USA working visas, CFM has been there to knock down the threats and make way for opportunity.
The Canadian Theatre Critics Association is a non-profit organization representing professional critics and journalists writing for online, broadcast and print media. The CTCA represents Canada as part of the International Association of Theatre Critics and administers two national awards: the Nathan Cohen Awards for Excellence in Critical Writing and the Herbert Whittaker Award for Outstanding Contributions to Canadian Theatre.
FDC – Fight Directors Canada
Fight Directors Canada is a professional not-for-profit society dedicated to the education, development, advancement, and proficiency of action-oriented entertainment in theatre, television, and film, as well as educational institutions across Canada.
Formed over a century ago and with a current membership of over 114,000, IATSE represent members employed in the stagecraft, motion picture & television production and trade show industries, and is the largest labour union in the entertainment and related industries.
Opera.ca is the national association for opera in Canada. The organization seeks create and sustain an environment that makes opera central to Canadian life. Opera.ca works with members across the country to advance the interests of Canada’s opera community and create greater opportunity for opera audiences and professionals alike.
Playwrights Guild of Canada is a national arts service organization mandated to advance the creative rights and interests of professional Canadian playwrights, promote Canadian plays nationally and internationally, and foster an active, evolving community of writers for the stage.
The Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF) plays a prominent role in the life of the Quebec English-language literary community as an arts presenter and professional and community educator, as well as the representative of Quebec’s English-language writers.
SOCAN is the Canadian copyright collective that administers the performing rights of more than 125,000 composer, author and music publisher members by licensing the use of their music in Canada. SOCAN collects licence fees on their behalf and distribute royalties to them.
The Union des artistes (UDA) or Artist union is a Quebec-based labour organization representing stage, television, radio and film performers in French-language media in Canada (the English language labour organization is ACTRA). It represents over 6,900 members and is affiliated with the International Federation of Actors (FIA).
CITT/ICTS is a national arts service organisation that actively promotes the professional development of its members and works for the betterment of the Canadian live performance community.
ELAN provides services, promotion, connection, and visibility to English-speaking artists and artistic communities in the province of Quebec.
PWM is a nationally-mandated, dramaturgically-led theatre creation and development centre based in Montréal. The organization’s expanded notion of dramaturgy is applied to its work in devised and interdisciplinary creation, which now flourishes alongside the playwright-driven work it has supported for over 50 years.
The QDF exists to support English-language theatre companies, artists and their artistic expressions in Quebec. This support manifests itself through leadership, collaborations with partners and stakeholders in the community, promotion of the artists and companies, professional development and identification of the role of theatre in the community at large.
ARTISTA is Imago Theatre’s free theatre mentorship program that aims to help female youth aged 16 – 21 find empowerment through mentorship in the performing arts.
Theatre Schools and Training Institutions
Read our detailed article “Where to study theatre: Training schools and classes for adults in Montreal” for an in-depth guide on Montreal’s English and bilingual theatre training facilities
ASM Performing Arts
ASM Performing Arts was created by professional actors in 1997 to offer practical workshops on character creation, scene study, audition technique, acting for the camera, voice & movement, dramatic writing and basic film making. The instructors at ASM Performing Arts are working actors with decades of experience working in film, television, and theatre.
Broadway Academy Westmount offers multiple courses and workshops specializing in music and musical theatre performance at the basic, advanced, and professional levels. In addition to providing conservatory style programs, the academy hosts workshops and masterclasses with guest artists performing on Broadway and in touring productions of New York musicals.
Concordia University’s Department of Theatre (Faculty of Fine Arts) seeks to inspire and prepare students to enter Canada’s rapidly evolving performing arts culture, valuing creativity, imagination, and critical, analytical, and entrepreneurial thinking. The institution’s theatre programs combine hands on, practical learning with rigorous historical, critical, and theoretical studies.
Dawson’s three-year career program trains students to work as a professional actor, exploring a wide range of acting techniques for theatre and film, with performances both in-studio, and in full-scale theatrical productions staged in Dawson’s new theatre. Training comprises conservatory style, in-studio classes in acting, voice, movement, improvisation, stage combat (including sword-fighting), dance, and acting for camera. The department also provides a well-rounded theatrical education with classes in technical theatre, classical and contemporary text, and theatre history.
Gilles Plouffe Actor’s Studio
Gilles Plouffe Actor’s Studio is complete and continuous professional training program inspired from the great realistic acting studios in New York. Member of ACTRA, CAEA and UDA, founder and instructor Gilles Plouffe is a seasoned bilingual professional actor who has been working in film, television and theater industries for more than 25 years. The studio offers a comprehensive range of classes and workshops to meet the needs of seasoned, aspiring, and amateur actors alike.
I.O. Acting Studio
I.O. (Inside/Outside) Acting Studio provides adult group classes and one-on-one sessions in the heart of Montreal (bilingual English/French). Classes are available for complete beginners, professionals and everyone in-between. I.O. provides a full range of experience: from improving self-expression, to preparing the professional actor, to shooting festival-bound films.
John Abbott College
John Abbott’s renowned professional theatre programs teach students the essential skills required to work in today’s theatre industry as well as associated careers in television, cinema, video and mixed media. Students train for three years in either Acting, Design or Technical Production. Actors learn their craft in the intimacy of the school’s studio spaces and public performances in the beautiful, state-of-the-art, Casgrain Theatre. Designers and technicians develop their skills with theoretical and practical courses leading to extensive hands-on production experience with at least six major productions.
The Department of English at McGill is unique in that its undergraduate program brings together three different but related areas of study: Literature, Drama and Theatre, and Cultural Studies. Undergraduate students follow one of the three options in their program of study and also take courses in the other streams. Graduate students have the opportunity to explore aspects of Literature, Cultural Studies, Performance, and Theatre History in their seminar work and research.
Montreal Improv is an organization dedicated to promoting the art of improvised theatre. The company started teaching in 2008 and now the school has hundreds of students studying improv in one of the many classes currently being offered, with its specialty being narrative-based improv or improvised plays. In addition to the regular weekly classes, Montreal Improv also leads specialized workshops to improve group dynamics, public speaking and team building.
Established in 1992, Josa Maule’s Montreal School of Performing Arts (M.S.O.P.A.) is a learning institution committed to providing professional training for aspiring actors of all ages in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. M.S.O.P.A. courses and workshops focus on technique and development of the actor for stage, film, TV, and commercials.
National Circus School
International in scope, the National Circus School (École nationale de cirque) is a higher-education institution for the arts providing programs at the high school and post-secondary levels. The only school to provide advanced circus arts training in North America, it is dedicated to the education and training of professional circus artists, as well as to research and innovation in the circus arts and their pedagogy.
NTS – National Theatre School of Canada
Since 1960, the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) has been recognized as a leading institution for aspiring playwrights, directors, actors, set and costume designers, and production professionals. The NTS is unique in offering high-level training programs in all aspects of the theatre arts, in both French and English.
Straeon Acting Studios
Straeon Acting Studios is an internationally recognized acting studio with locations in Montreal, Toronto, and Boston. Known as the “Gym for Actors,” Straeon carries a reputation of being both intimate and intense. Coaching is tailored to the individual and does not adhere to one particular method, allowing each actor to discover his or her own process.