Over the last decades, the puppet theatre has evolved so rapidly that we could almost talk about a revolution. Employing images, objects, animated shapes, and today digital arts, it is reviving traditional techniques and know-how with complete freedom, exploring new potentials which influence the present-day theatre.
The École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette (ESNAM) is right at the heart of this artistic profusion. It is a unique place of initial training, at the heart of the Institut International de la Marionnette, a place of exchanges and encounters, dedicated to training, research and the fostering of contemporary creation.
A place of initial training, which can offer students opportunities for reflection, leading to the enrichment of their creative experience. Since its opening, it has focused on projectbased teaching; the training of the actor/puppeteer at ESNAM favours the dynamics between conception and "hands-on" performance, between collective and individual development.
Placed under the sign of creation, ESNAM gives first place to contemporary artistic encounters. The school leeds students to follow their own path by associating authors, visual artists, scenographers and personalities of the theatre ranging from stage directors to puppeteers.
12th class : 2018-2021
Admission by examination : From March 26th to Arpil 6th, 2018
Deadline for applications : not provided for the moment (Brochure and registration form available for fall 2017)
The minimum age for candidates is 18 on June of the year of admission. The upper age limit is 26.
French baccalaureate or equivalent diploma and at least one year of proven theatrical activity.
Any other artistic practice will be considered.
Requests of dispensation (age, level of diploma, level of theatrical practice) will be examined by the director.
Foreign candidates should have reasonably good spoken French.
Candidates should send:
- A letter explaining their reasons, plus the application form<
- Any document likely to demonstrate your artistic skills and have them taken in account
- A cheque or bank transfert for the non-refundable examination fee of 60 € (cost in 2015)
- 3 recent identity photos and 1 full-body portrait (13 x 18 cm)
- A stamped, self-addressed envelope.
Written applications are assessed by the director of the school and the head of teaching, who may ask the candidates for additional information if this is deemed necessary to gain a complete picture.
Next admissions will take place from March 26th to April 6th, 2018 (12th class, 2018-2021).
It comprises three stages: an audition, a probationary workshop and the actual entrance examination.
A letter will inform candidates selected for the admissibility tests.
Audition by jury
The candidate will be required to:
- • Perform a scene from the classical or contemporary, French or international, repertoire (acting) and perform a (freely chosen) scene using a puppet
- • Perform a dramatic improvisation using the materials, objects or puppets made available
- • A critical analysis of a performance s/he has seen recently
- • Read a French text (poem or prose) suggested by the jury
An individual interview concerning the candidate's motives. Applicants are free to present any documents attesting to their artistic talents
Candidates selected by the jury are considered eligible and invited to take part in a 5-day probationary workshop.
At the end of the probationary workshop, each candidate will present to the jury a 10-minute individual piece based on a set theme.
The list of candidates admitted to the school will be published the same day and decisions will be communicated by personalised letter.
Transport and food expenses incurred during the selection procedure are to be borne by applicants. The school will cover accommodation costs.
A school in constant motion, characterized by contemporary creations, and whose objectives are:
- To train a high level actor-puppeteers by exploring the basic techniques of puppetry (glove, rod puppet, string puppet, shadow, ...) and the fundamentals of stagecraft : dramatic play, voice, body, dramaturgy, visual arts, scenography.
- To transmit knowledge and methodology, while encouraging the development of creativity, both on a personal and collective level.
- To maintain a constant taste for risk and experimentation.
- ESNAM develops work methods whose purpose is to make future professional artists autonomous and responsible.
An educational team, who is answerable for the coherence and the evolution of the programme, watches over the balance between theory and practice. The three-year training requires a huge involvement insofar as sensitivity and ability to work as a group are demanded.
The dynamics of the course is structured by the guidance of the Teaching Committee and is governed by the blueprint of the DNSP and its educational framework.
Regular lessons and workshops directed by artists, both from France and elsewhere, alternate throughout the whole course. They are based on constant interplay between theory and practice, conception and implementation.
The dynamics of the training are structured by the work of the teaching committee, comprising regular members and guest artists. A constant interplay between theory and practice, conception and implementation, tests the teaching and acquired knowledge against the reality of the stage.
A basic training programme will be followed throughout the whole three-year period. This comprises drama training, voice, body and gestural training, the plastic arts and singing.
Extending this regular training, special sessions directed by masters of puppetry, directors and visual artists enable participants to experience individual artistic worlds. As of the first year, these intensive sessions bear fruit in individual and group productions. The presentation and relation of work to the public is conceived as an integral part of the course throughout the three years.
The training also covers:
- stage technology (lighting, sound and image)
- the history of the theatre and performances
- administration and management
- modern languages
First (trial) year - fundamental, basic skills
Regular training in the use of body, voice and movement helps students acquire autonomy in these areas.
The basics of stagecraft and puppetry are approached through:
- Plastic arts: drawing, modeling and sculpting, articulations and materials
- Work on the body: the outline of the body, dissociation, delegation, space
- Interpretation: presence, neutrality, ranges, types of writing
- Dramatic writing and scenography: critical analysis, intelligence of the text, treatment of space, relation to manipulation techniques
- Vocal work: placement, breathing, intention, singing
At the end of the first year, based on the results obtained so far, the teaching committee decides which students will be admitted into the second year.
Second year - Conception and production of shows
This year is dedicated to composition. Regular work allows students to assimilate construction, handling and dramatic techniques with which to experiment with the stylistic potential of puppets, images and objects, by privileging a relation to the contemporary authors and writing for the theatre:
- The screen and the image, animated forms
- Research into new scenic languages
- Style, staging
- Stage design
- Dissemination and production means.
At the end of the second year: production of group shows under the direction of one or more guest artists.
Admission to the third year is dependent on students obtaining 8 teaching units.
Third year - Research and creation
The third year is entirely devoted to research and creation.Students follow workshops focusing on specific techniques or artistic fields which have not yet been explored.
A 10-minute solo performance, under the supervision of the teaching team, will be put on for the public.
At the end of the year, the students are asked to develop a written scenario for an end-of course assessment. This production will be presented to the diploma jury, as well as an audience consisting of professionals and the public, and will lead to the acquisition of 4 teaching units.
This is continuous, and carried out under the responsibility of the teaching committee.
Acquisition of knowledge and level of the student are assessed on the basis of the regular coursework and on pieces submitted at the end of the course.
Assiduity and regularity are integral factors in the evaluation of students.