In 1974, James Buller founded the Native Theatre School. His vision was to create a viable, respectful and supportive space for Indigenous theatre and performing artists. From humble beginnings, what began as a stand-alone, four-week program, in time, grew to become the Centre for Indigenous Theatre (CIT), an institution offering a unique Indigenous cultural, theatre and performance training program. CIT contributes to the advancement of an Indigenous cultural economy and the Arts generally, helping to mould young talent and professionals, organizing community presentations and workshops, and by working closely with alumni to share our learnings and our craft in a culturally appropriate and inviting setting.
As one of the only schools of its kind in Canada, today, CIT offers three and four-year full-time conservatory-style post-secondary education. Our programming is designed to prepare students for a future in theatre and performing Arts, drawing from a distinctively Indigenous cultural foundation. Our training is rooted in Indigenous teachings, knowledge, perspectives and ways of knowing while adapting to contemporary and Western theatre and performance techniques. Our curriculum offers training in the areas of acting, voice and movement as well as Indigenous cultural classes in dance, song and oral history. Our training reconnects students with important and frequently overlooked aspects of Indigenous culture, offering distinctive and authentic forms of artistic expression.
Additionally, the program offers professional development, pairing students with working actors and creators offering a collaborative space in which to train and share knowledge, and adding essential mentoring to the training opportunities. This intercultural approach allows students to learn and work within a positive and familiar cultural setting. Students are provided with an opportunity and the support to become passionate and inspired cultural curators, conservationists and artists and to tell their stories in their voice in a constructive environment.