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© Christophe Loiseau© DR© Christophe Loiseau© Christophe Loiseau - Parade, end of the year show of the 11th class© DR© Christophe Loiseau - Manifacturing, Emily Evans and Claire Vialon© © ©

Puppetry distinguishes itself from other arts as an artistic discipline in its own right through its polymorphism and a diversity of techniques bestowing it with unparalleled artistic richness. 


At the heart of the Institut International de la Marionnette, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette (ESNAM) provides high-level initial training by way of a three-year postgraduate curriculum that completes the DNSPC (French qualification – national professional post-graduate degree) with an actor-puppeteer major. 


This school is accessible through a competitive entrance examination, makes it possible to benefit from the teaching of French and foreign artists and aims for the mastery of the fundamentals of contemporary puppetry while ensuring the development of a personal artistic language.


The school provides privileged access to a documentation and research center dedicated to puppetry arts which is the only one of its kind in the world.


Measures for professional integration, the support of an artistic network and personalized guidance allow graduates to be optimally prepared for the professional world. 

Next admission

13th class : 2020-2023


Admission by examination  : 14 to 25 April 2020


Deadline for applications : 14 February 2020


Candidates should send:

  • The application form (French language) duly completed
  • 3 recent identity photos and 1 full-body portrait (13 x 18 cm)
  • Full copy of valid ID or valid passport
  • Any document likely to demonstrate your artistic skills and have them taken in account (photographs, drawings, texts,...)
  • Bank transfert for the non-refundable examination fee of 60 € 

The minimum age is 18 and the upper age limit is 26, as of 30 June 2020.

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.


To the following address before February 14, 2020:

École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette
7, Place Winston Churchill - F-08000 Charleville-Mézières

Tél : +33 [0]3 24 33 72 50 - institut@marionnette.com


Conditions for admission


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 14 to 25 April, 2020 (13th class, 2020-2023).
It comprises three stages: an audition, a probationary workshop and the actual entrance examination.
A letter will inform candidates selected for the admissibility tests.

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

Probationary workshop
Candidates selected by the jury are considered eligible and invited to take part in a 5-day probationary workshop.

Entrance exam
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.


Educational project

A school in constant motion, characterized by contemporary creations, and whose objectives are:

  • Training actor-puppeteers to a high level by exploring the specific techniques of the art of puppetry (glove, rod puppets, string puppets, shadow and object theatre...) and the fundamentals of stagecraft: dramatic play, voice, body, dramaturgy, plastic arts, and scenography.

  • Transmitting to students knowledge and methods that encourage the development of their personal creativity and serve on a collective level.

  • Committing students to develop research and a taste for risk and experimentation.

ESNAM, housed in new premises entirely designed for training in puppetry arts since September 2017, allows for the development of work methodologies whose purpose is to make future professionals autonomous and responsible.

Educational board

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.

School programme

The training dynamics are structured by the Teaching Committee and are in keeping with the outline of the DNSPC puppeteer-actor speciality and its trade-specific reference. Regular lessons and workshops directed by artists, both from France and abroad, alternate throughout the whole curriculum. They are based on constant interplay between theory and practice, conception and implementation. 



First year: Fundamental basic skills and puppetry techniques

This year addresses basic and fundamental teachings for the actor-puppeteer: dramatic play, body techniques, voice, plastic arts applied to construction, play and manipulation.



Second year: Deeper dimension and experimentation

This year is dedicated to composition. Regular work allows students to assimilate construction techniques, manipulation, movement and acting for the purpose of experiencing as an actor the stylistic potential of puppets, images and objects. The students perform under the direction of recognised professionals.

In parallel, the students carry out an internship with a company or cultural organisation in order to prepare for their professional integration.


Third year: Research and creation

The third year is devoted to research and creation and makes it possible to summon up acquisitions from the training in a creative way.

Creation of a short solo performance with the support and guidance of artist advisors, and realisation of end-of-studies creations performed and staged by the students.



Administration, management, knowledge of cultural politics and professional networks, as well as the history of live performance and puppetry arts are also approached throughout the entire curriculum.

End of workshop presentations, end of year productions, solo performances and diploma projects are performed in front of audiences consisting of the general public, but also guest programmers or professionals, with a view towards promoting students' future integration and standing in the profession.

Students have access to the Institute\'s research centre and to the research work carried out by the ICiMa Chair.


Professional integration programmes are proposed to graduates: contracts for training and professionalization in collaboration with companies or cultural institutions, Tremplin residencies, employment incentives, help and guidance with first productions and promotion...



Admission by examination: from 14 to 25 April 2020
Deadline dor applications: 14 February 2020

Download  the application form here (french language only)

Cover of the folder ESNAM 13  Folder of the next admission by examination

Institut International de la Marionnette • 7 place Winston Churchill, 08000 Charleville-Mézières, France • +33 (0) 3 24 33 72 50