For the first time in a quarter of a century, the National Arts Centre is changing the face of theatre.

The NAC has formed an English Theatre company made up of 18 artists — directors, playwrights, designers and performers — from across the country.

“The artists that we have, we’ve brought from all over Canada,” said English Theatre artistic director Peter Hinton, who introduced the company Thursday. “It’s our hope that bringing the diversity of the Canadian experience together here uniquely informs the way we do our plays.”

Since his appointment to the National Arts Centre in 2006, Hinton has championed the idea of bringing artists from across the country to build a company at the NAC.

That dream was realized last month when the ensemble began working together to present A Christmas Carol on Dec. 8 and Mother Courage and her Children here in January and at the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg in February.

“There’s a very different theatre scene and tradition in Vancouver than there is in Halifax, than there is in Toronto, than there is in Winnipeg,” said Hinton. Part of the goal of the company, he said, is “to bring those different things together and see how they inform.

“Canada is … a very culturally diverse place,” he said. “That means we can take a story like A Christmas Carol and see how it translates for different communities,” he said.