The Saint-Étienne Comédie School

Our project

The Comédie School is one of the six french national schools of Dramatic Arts located at the heart of a working creative theatre : The Saint-Étienne Comédie – National Dramatic Centre (CDN). Created in 1982, it is the oldest school located in a CDN. Since 2008 it’s been authorized by the Ministry of Culture and Communication to deliver the national superior professional comedian diploma as well as the State Diploma since 2016. It is a member of the National Association of National Schools of Dramatic Arts.

A class of approximately ten student-comedians are hired by the Comédie School every two out of three years, following a competitive examination, for a three-year training period. The curriculum focuses on 5 key axes : performance ; artistic education ; critical studies in partnership with the Jean Monnet University and the ENS of Lyon ; professional career, English. The curriculum emphasizes living playwrights, particularly through the graduation show which is systematically the result of a creative request :  Christophe Honoré, Un jeune se tue (2012) ; François Bégaudeau, La Grande Histoire (2014) ; Marion Aubert, Tumultes (2015) ; Tanguy Viel, 45 possibilités de rencontres (2017) ; Pauline Sales, 66 pulsations par minutes (2018).

Each class has a mentor. He or she is involved in the development of the curriculum and gives performance workshops every year. Benoît Lambert (Class 25), Marion Aubert (Class 26), Pierre Maillet (Class 27), Pauline Sales (Class 28), Julie Deliquet (Class 29), Olivier Martin Salvan (Class 30).

Foreign Relations

Since 2011, the Comédie School has taken part in numerous international exchange programmes with other dramatic schools : performance workshop led by Fabrice Murgia in partnership with the Superior Acting School (ESACT) of the Liège Royal Conservatory (Belgium) in 2012; master class with Carey Perloff of the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) in San Francisco (USA) in 2012 ; master class with Tatiana Frovola of the KnAM Theatre in Komsomolsk-on-Amur (Russia) in 2012 ; writer residency and readings with Aleshea Harris and Rachel Park from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Los Angeles (USA) in 2014 ; workshop led by Arnaud Meunier at the Shangai Theatre Academy (China) in 2014 ; performance workshop led by Travis Preston from CalArts in 2015.
The Comédie School has also developped partnerships with Les Récréatrales (Ougadougou | Burkina Faso), the Théâtre Bluff and the CGEP Sainte Hyacinthe (Montréal | Canada), CalArts (Los Angeles | États-Unis).

Professional Integration

As Antoine Vitez so aptly pointed out, professional networking first occurs within the School. In fact, our student-comedians fully benefit from the school being located within a place of creation and performance such as the St Etienne Comédie. Special consideration is given to alumni when selecting artists or projects to be supported by the CDN. Since 2011, the Comédie School has implemented, with the help of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, an integration scheme called DIESE # Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. It is similar to the Jeune Théâtre National (JTN) initiative. Comédie School alumni can benefit from this programme for three years after they graduate. Thanks to this scheme, our young artists are cast in national or international-level productions or coproductions.

In 2019-2020, Classes 27 and 28 will benefit from this scheme.

Equal opportunity policy

Since September 2014 the Comédie School has committed to an  innovative and proactive equal opportunity programme in order to facilitate the recruitment of people coming from diverse cultural, social and geographical backgrounds into Superior Drama Schools. It is a first step towards opening theatre stages to talents who, due to a lack of information, support or funding, might not have even given this career a go. This programme has two main components : Theatre Equality Sessions and the Integrated Preparatory Course.

Theatre Equality Sessions (SET)

Since 2015, four to five-day group sessions are regularly held by the Saint Etienne Comédie School during school holidays, for 20 17-to-22 year-olds who come from culturally, socially and geographically diverse backgrounds in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Led by six artists, the sessions are a concrete sample of what a National Superior Schools of Dramatic Arts curriculum is like, with group warm-up sessions (voice and body), reading and dramaturgy, performing and also improvisation. These sessions can take place in Saint-Etienne, Grenoble, Lyon (in partnership with La CinéFabrique), Valence or Clermont-Ferrand. Transport, room and board is paid for by the School.

Integrated Preparatory course (CPI)

The Integrated Preparatory course, which started at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, is aimed at 18-to-23 year-olds who come from culturally, socially and geographically diverse backgrounds in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Its goal is to train them towards the competitive examinations of all twelve National Superior Schools of Dramatic Arts in France. With the help of our network of local partners, enrolment in this course takes place in May every year.  The curriculum, both theoretical and practical, is composed of approximately 30 hours of classes per week, from September to June. It focuses on :
| Performing classes
| Singing classes
| Body techniques (yoga, Alexander technique…)
| Audience perspective
It takes place within the School.
In addition to such educational approach, administrative and financial support is also available:
|CROUS scholarships with an added scholarship from the Fondation Culture & Diversité
|Financial help ftowards the costs linked to the examinations themselves (registration fees, transport, accommodation.)