The Centre national des arts du cirque - France

The Centre national des arts du cirque is a higher education and research establishment created in 1985 at the initiative of the ministry of Culture.
Nearly 400 artists from 35 different countries have graduated from the Cnac, and are now major players on the international contemporary circus scene.

The Cnac missions are as follows:

• Higher education in the circus arts

- a higher education establishment authorized to deliver the Dnsp (national higher professional diploma), set up in partnership with the Ecole nationale des arts du cirque (Enacr) in Rosny-sous-bois, as well as a BA equivalent, set up with the University of Picardie Jules Vernes
- a professional integration unit that includes a group graduation show, personal help on individual student projects, and help integrating circus companies.

Lifelong learning

- Lifelong learning in the performing arts for artists and technicians
- teacher training
- preparation for the national teaching diploma in the circus arts
- validation of acquired experience (VAE)

• A research and resource centre


- a resource centre, in association with the Bibliothèque nationale de France / BnF, open to the public (professionals, students and researchers, etc.), with an audio-visual production unit.

- a service dedicated to research et innovation in the field of circus arts. Through this activity, the CNAC initiates and develops an open conversation and dialogue with educational methods and the production of documentary resources.
The projects undertaken or supported cover various fields :
• building bridges with Higher Art Education institutions and several universities (support and cooperation in various research programmes),
• participation or co-organisation of study days, symposiums, -
• collaboration in workshops, research laboratories,
• welcoming and hosting researchers and organising exchanges with performing arts professionals.

The ICiMa Chair - Circus and Puppet Innovation

Within this framework, in partnership with the International Puppetry Institute of Charleville-Mézières, the CNAC has set up the ICiMa Chair - Circus and Puppet Innovation, which deals with three main areas: materials, gesture and movement, and terminology.

CARP - Circus Arts Research Platform

Finally, the service dedicated to research has set up the CARP platform specifically designed for scientific research in the circus arts. This bilingual website provides free access to a set of scientific resources in circus arts. It promotes research and facilitates the exchange and circulation of academic research in this field.

The Cnac is a well-established international reference that defends the values of the circus arts spirit, including rigour, self-control, group work and respect for others.
Through its excellent training programme, it aims to be at the cutting edge of educational, artistic and technical innovation, to better serve its students, researchers and circus professionals, as well as the performing arts in general.

The Cnac is financed by the Directorate General for Artistic Creation/DGCA of the French ministry of Culture. It is supported by the Grand Est regional council, the Marne departmental council and the City and the Urban community of Châlons-en-Champagne.

New workspaces

Over the past years, the Cnac has undergone major developments with the renovation of the historic circus (dating back to the 19th century), which has housed the school since its creation, as well as extension work done at the La Marnaise site, a former agricultural wasteland situated nearby. The architectural project has integrated new constructions with existing buildings perfectly, in keeping with the local identity.

Destined for teaching the circus arts, the site includes a specific aerial space known as the "grand volant" (13.50m high). In addition there are 13 new studios to host artists and guest teachers, as well as spaces dedicated to research and innovation, particularly the design and construction of new apparatus. The site is also used by teachers from the Pierre Bayen high school in Châlons-en-Champagne, for teaching the high school diploma – circus arts option.

This extension facilitates the redeployment of a number of activities in and around the traditional circus: public performances given by students, lifelong learning, a documentation and research centre and the participation of a number of researchers. Not to mention the hosting of shows by La Comète, the national stage in Châlons-en-Champagne, or the hosting of events as part of the City's contract to make the circus available.

The Cnac is thus equipped with an exceptional tool that consolidates its position as a national centre dedicated to circus arts.

This construction was financed by the State, with the support of the Champagne-Ardenne Regional Council, the Marne County Council, the City and the Châlons-en-Champagne Agglomeration Community.