In 1989, Ottawa School of Theatre — formerly the Orleans Young Players — was founded by Karen Freeborn, a performer and educator who wanted to wrap life skills based on kindness and cooperation into the creative process.
Take a whistle-stop tour through our history:
- 1989: Orleans Young Players Theatre School (OYP) launched with just one class of 16 students.
- 1994: OYP incorporates as an independent organisation with a volunteer Board of Directors, with 8 classes and 6 annual shows.
- 1996: Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Hersch the school grew to serve 120 students per week.
2002: OYPTS hired Kathi Langston as Artistic Director, and the focus of the school shifted from recreational to becoming a leader in theatre education.
- 2009: OYP moved into the Shenkman Arts Centre, creating pivotal partnerships with organisations like Ottawa School of Art and Arts Network Ottawa.
- 2017: As news of our classes spread across Ottawa and Gatineau, students came to us from all over the region; to welcome everyone, OYP was rebranded to ‘Ottawa School of Theatre’.
- 2020: In the COVID-19 pandemic, OST endures by moving classes online and outdoors, and performing 3 virtual All Ages Plays.
- 2022: Megan Piercey Monafu is hired as Artistic Director.
- Present Day: OST sees up to 600 students a year, taught by 30 theatre professionals, with over 50 annual student performances.