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Theatre, Performing Arts Schools and Programs in France

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Theatre, Performing Arts Studies in France

Captivating, classy, and always romantic, France is the ideal destination for any student who is thinking about studying abroad.  France not only offers study abroad participants a wealth of different theater and performing arts programs from which to choose, it is also the world’s top tourist destination, boasting a variety of majestic landscapes, charming cosmopolitan people and a rich friendly culture.

Officially known as the French Republic, France is a sovereign country in Western Europe that includes several overseas regions and territories.  Mainland or European France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea; and from the Rhine River to the Atlantic Ocean.  Along with Spain and the North African country of Morocco, France is one of only three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines.

From a geographic standpoint, France is the largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the third-largest in Europe as a whole.  Its population, totaling nearly 68 million people, makes it the third most-populous European country, trailing only Russia and Germany in that category.  France is organized as a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the nation's largest city and the main cultural and commercial center in the country.  The current Constitution of France, adopted by referendum on October 4, 1958, establishes the country as secular and democratic, with its sovereignty derived from the people. The nation's ideals are perhaps best expressed in the document known as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, one of the world's earliest documents on human rights, which was formulated during the seminal French Revolution of the late 18th century.

France has been one of Europe’s primary powers since the Late Middle Ages, and possessed the second-largest colonial empire during the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Today France is home to the world's fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites, together drawing around 83 million foreign tourists annually – the most of any country in the world. Throughout its long history, France has produced many influential artists, thinkers, and scientists, and remains a prominent global center for arts and culture, particularly in the theatrical and performing arts.

Theater, Performing Arts Education in France

In France, education in the performing arts is a key part of the university curriculum, with many different specializations offered at the tertiary level.  Theater, drama and performance arts courses can lead to a variety of degrees at French universities.  At the undergraduate level, these courses are usually offered as part of the Fine Arts major, usually leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree after approximately 3 years of full-time study.  Graduate or Master degree programs allow students to focus their studies on a specific area within the theater and performing arts discipline, with degrees typically offered after an additional two years of study.
The performing arts curriculum in France, which encompasses dance, music and theater, draws from key elements of the French culture and provides students with the opportunity to engage with these elements as they pursue their respective degrees.  Fortunately, for the rest of us, this engagement with their craft, acquired through long hours of participation and formal and informal education is often lifelong.

The end point for performing arts education in France varies from one student to the next.  For some individuals, the study of theater and performing arts merely offers a chance to learn about their own and others’ culture—the indigenous people, folklore, musical history, etc.—while for others it leads to professional careers up to an elite level. For this latter group, depending on the discipline, the physical demands can be so high that early entry into these types of education and training programs can be essential. This is seen particularly with classical ballet and orchestral music.

Perhaps the best part of studying theater and performing arts in France is that it offers students the unique opportunity to express ideas and emotions that they cannot express through language alone. Naturally, the curriculum used needs to be sequential so that it promotes knowledge and understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the arts, and provides opportunities for students to make connections among the arts, both with other disciplines within the core curriculum and with arts resources in the community.

Why Study Abroad in France
France is the top tourist destination in the world and one of the most popular locales for international students studying abroad.  One of the reasons for this is the country’s top-notch education system, boasting scores of high-performing universities, some of which are ranked among the worlds best for the quality of their educational programs.  France also has a remarkable history and culture, friendly people and delicious cuisine.  Outside of the classroom, students will have countless opportunities to visit and take in all that France has to offer, including the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre Museum, Mont-Saint-Michel, and the D-Day beaches.  Other outstanding sites and attractions in the country include:
Chartres Cathedral
The almost perfectly preserved Chartres Cathedral in the city of Chartres is one of the finest examples of the French High Gothic style. The majority of the original stained glass windows have survived intact over the years, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century.
Dune of Pyla
Located in the Arcachon Bay area of France, the Dune of Pyla is the tallest sand dune in Europe.  At the summit of the dune the view is simply spectacular, with the Atlantic coast and the inlet of the bay on one side and a pristine pine forest on another.
Palais des Papes
One of the largest and most important Gothic buildings in the world, the Palais des Papes (Pope’s Palace) was built when Pope Clement V abandoned Rome in 1309 and settled in Avignon. The 3 meter (10 feet) thick walls, portcullises and watchtowers emphasize the castle-like look of the palace.
Chateau de Chambord
The second most visited château in France (after the Palace of Versailles); the Chateau de Chambord is a masterpiece of the French Renaissance. Construction of the Chateau de Chambord started in 1519 by King François I so he could hunt in the nearby forests. Although the palace is utterly amazing from an architectural perspective, the cold and massive 440 rooms of the Château made it unpopular as an actual residence; François I himself stayed here for less than 40 days in total.