In 1974, the late James Buller founded Native Theatre School. This original four-week program was created based on his belief that with a viable Aboriginal theatre school in place, Aboriginal actors, playwrights and directors would have a forum for exploration and exchange, and that the results of this exchange would have a measurable impact on the Aboriginal Theatre community.
Today, the Centre for Indigenous Theatre has expanded, offering a three year full-time program. The Centre embraces the spirit, energy and inspiration derived from the culture, values and traditions of Indigenous people. From these roots, we seek to elaborate a contemporary Indigenous performance culture through training and professional development opportunities for emerging and established Native theatre artists.
The purpose of the program is to develop contemporary performance skills from a distinctively Indigenous cultural foundation. The curriculum integrates training in acting, voice and movement with Indigenous cultural classes in dance, song and oral history. It also offers a professional development component, which allows students and working actors to train together, adding the all important mentoring component to the curriculum. To gain practical performance experience, students are given the opportunity to publicly perform through community showcase events, story creation projects and the year-end production which features senior students.
"I graduated the 3 year Full-Time Program at CIT with confidence and a lot of my own material to continue working with. The school was very supportive and my mentorship opportunity led to full-time employment. People I met through the school helped me find other opportunities to explore. The people, the place and the opportunities don't end with the training, the benefits continue even after you've graduated."
"I attended the Summer Intensive while I was enrolled at University of Lethbridge. The experience left a huge impression on me. The following year I made the decision to transition from the University to attend the 3 year program in Toronto. It's been one of the best decisions of my life; through CIT's training and assistance I have carved out a career as an actor and playwright."
"CIT provides an extremely valuable, one might even say 'essential', service to the Native community. It brings out the very best in the young people it works with, thus launching them into lives that are constructive, meaningful and substantial; lives that will then affect their own home communities in ways that are nothing but positive.
Bravo to CIT."