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Actor Stephen Ouimette will be in charge of searching for participants and designing the program of development for Stratford’s influential paid training program for young actors.GEOFF ROBINS/The Globe and Mail

Stephen Ouimette – one of Canada's most in-demand stage actors – has been named the next director of the Stratford Festival's Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre.

Working with and then replacing outgoing head Martha Henry, Ouimette will be in charge of searching for participants and designing the program of development for Stratford's influential paid training program for young actors.

"I hope to build on the extraordinary work Martha has done and look forward both to giving back and learning along the way," the 61-year-old actor and director said in a statement. "Learning keeps us young!"

Ouimette's appointment will certainly put the lie to the old adage that those can, do, and those who can't, teach. He has appeared in more than 50 productions over the course of 21 seasons at Stratford – and the "actor's actor" has also performed in Chicago, on Broadway and in London's West End alongside the likes of Mark Rylance and David Hyde Pierce.

Mostly recently, Ouimette's turn in The Iceman Cometh alongside Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane – at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, then the Brooklyn Academy of Music – earned high praise from American theatre critics, with The New York Times praising his work as "devastatingly good."

Ouimette begins his three-year-term helping pass along that talent at Stratford on March 1.