CISDF: Drama Festival

The CIS Ontario Drama Festival (CISDF) is a one-of-a-kind theatre field trip experience for students passionate about drama and theatre.

Hosted by none other than the world-renowned Stratford Festival each spring, this one-of-a-kind inter-school theatrical experience makes a lasting impact on aspiring actors, producers and technicians. As North America's largest classical repertory theatre company, the Stratford Festival offers a unique opportunity for our students to engage with professional actors and technicians and to see high-quality productions. 

The offerings include seats for a current theatrical production, workshops by Stratford Festival teaching artists and students' participation in performances. Working with Stratford's performing artists sets a high bar and raises the calibre of conversation about theatre, whether offering supportive feedback or educating students about how to adjudicate a show. It's also an exciting way to expose young artists to social opportunities with passionate and dedicated peers from member CIS Ontario schools.

CISDF 2025

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM for students in grades 6-8 
Friday, October 25, 2024

The Middle School student participants will participate in two workshops led by Stratford professionals and will see a Stratford production at the Festival Theatre.

SENIOR SCHOOL PROGRAM for students in grades 9-12
Wednesday, April 23 – Friday, April 25, 2025

Over three days, Senior School students will engage in a variety of interactive, educational and fun workshop sessions delivered by Stratford Festival professionals. Workshops will be scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday, and may include explorations of Stage Combat, Musical Theatre, Wigs & Make-Up, Improv, and Accents for the Stage.

Students will also have the opportunity to perform a 20-minute piece for their peers at the Studio Theatre, a professional venue and one of the main stages of the Stratford Festival. To perform on a Stratford stage is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for senior school dramatists, be they actors or technicians. There is also an adjudication element built in to allow students to explore and discuss their creative projects with professionals from the industry. With an audience of festival participants, the performance atmosphere is wonderfully celebratory and fosters an empowering environment where students are encouraged to explore and challenge their dramatic range. Senior School students who do not wish to perform are welcome to participate without sharing a production.

In addition, Senior School students and their supervisors will see two main stage Stratford shows as a part of their CISDF experience.

A big thanks to Christian Peterson and his team at ED_PARA for filming CISDF 2023 for CIS Ontario.
CIS Ontario CISDF Drama Festival


Senior School CISDF 2024 Leads

David Newman
Chair of Arts
St. John's-Kilmarnock School

Gisa Bevacqua-Tirone
Guidance Counsellor & Learning Strategist and Drama Department Head
The Country Day School

Middle School CISDF 2024 Lead

Matt Burns
Head of Drama
The Sterling Hall School

Michael Luchka
Grade 5-8 Drama Teacher
Montcrest School

Festival Leads
Lois Adamson

Director of Education
Stratford Festival

Katherine Laing
Education Associate
Stratford Festival

Executive Chair & Outreach Lead
Brendon Allen

Drama Instructor & Curriculum Coordinator
Theatre Co-Curricular Coordinator
Upper Canada College

For additional information, please contact:

Jeremy Barr
Event Manager

By breaking down geographic boundaries and school walls, this province-wide theatre experience invites a powerful journey of self-expression and discovery.