OST’s history

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.