Action! Finding acting classes in Paris
Drama lovers and actors alike who are interested in taking classes in Paris should know a few things before looking for their big break. Anne Jacqueline gives a few pointers on the theatre scene in Paris, and where to go for furthering your acting ca
So you are considering taking acting classes in Paris?
The thing is, French drama students often try to take classes either in London or in New York. The main acting training tradition in France might be more focused on theatre rather than theatre and cinema as it is in Britain and America. Also, a French actor will be representing an idea of a character when a Method actor will "be" the character.
If you are already in Paris, then you might actually want to see a few plays in the main theatres. I suggest Comédie Française or/and Théâtre de l’Odéon, which are also worth seeing as monuments.Here are a few tips for you on finding your acting niche in Parid. I will run the risk to be shamelessly simple, here:
You are in your late teens or early twenties and you know you are coming in France for four years or more.
If you want to become a professional actor, you might consider the national or regional schools. The main ones are the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique in Paris, the ENSATT in Lyon, and l'Ecole du Théâtre National de Strasbourg. Kristin Scott Tomas, for example, is an ENSATT alumni.
You are in France for at least a year:
Paris has a lot of acting schools, accommodating various kinds of needs, from amateur to professional. You will find traditional French drama classes as well as Stanislavski ones. Camera acting classes, performance projects, or improvisation classes can also be expected in many schools.
France does not have the same musical theatre tradition than in US or in UK. So if you are looking for dance and singing classes on top of drama classes, so you might be better off enrolling several schools than taking a "package".
Or, if you are strongly interested by work on gesture, you might want to take a look at Jacques Lecoq’s school.
Why not trying out classes in French? You may be little slow or awkward at first, but you will have the opportunity to grab more of French culture by working on the texts in original version. Also, you might actually feel freer in French when working on a character.
As a general advice, I would say, try to speak with a teacher before enrolling. In some cases, you will be able to take a class for free or to attend to open doors, or public performances -- do it.
If you are looking for amateur classes, some schools have special programs, and others have classes that mix both professionals and amateurs. Or, you can check with your local "Centre d'Animation".
You are in France for a short period of time (three months or less)
Look out for schools in which you can enrol for a trimester or less, or search for a workshop.
Since time might be an issue, unless your level of French is already good, you might want to look for places in which you will be allowed to work in English or in both languages. Be not afraid. A lot of American and British drama teacher have classes in Paris.
You will still be able to work on French texts, if that is what you're looking for, but in a more international environment.
Do not expect many acting classes, drama studies in France are more about theory. A few addresses for you :
- Paris III - La Sorbonne Nouvelle
- Paris VIII - Saint Denis
- Paris X - Nanterre
Where to get more info
- Centre National du Théâtre for info on national and regional schools.
- CIDJ for lists of acting schools.
- If you are a professional, check www.afdas.com. They have a list of workshops you might be able to participate in (if you have already worked in France for more than 2 years as an actor/actress and have 48 "cachets" during the last 2 years, they might even fund you).
- A good book for info can be found at www.leguideducomedien.com.
Anne Jacqueline / Expatica
Anne Jacqueline has previously worked in acting training, managed a French-American drama school and co-founded a training centre for acting on camera. She is the current manager and artistic collaborator for French artist Yasmine Modestine. You can read more and contact Jacqueline via yasminemodestine.free.fr.
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