Académie Fratellini
Académie Fratellini - © Julie Carretier-Cohen

From its big top under the Paris ring-road to its move in 2003 to a new campus a stone’s throw away from the Stade de France, the Académie Fratellini is continuing its artistic journey which Annie Fratellini started in 1974.

Based in architecturally innovative premises, it has gained a great international reputation as a school and an artistic platform. Unusual and offbeat, including in how it is run, the Académie has designed a circus arts programme for those just starting out through to entering the profession. It provides artists with a venue for creating and producing their shows, and a place to stay.

Open to the Parisian suburbs, it cultivates new and surprising encounters with residents and social, educational and economic stakeholders, thereby contributing to the development of this area in the heart of Greater Paris.

The Circus Arts CFA (Apprenticeship training centre)

The only one of its kind in France, the higher circus arts course at the Académie Fratellini is based on an educational programme – combining group teaching and personalised technical learning – which alternates between periods of training (60%) and work placement (40%).

Throughout their three year course, our young aspiring artists become initiated into the profession by performing within the Académie – in shows and events – or outside in a wide variety of projects (circus, theatre, dance, opera…) led by arts partner teams.

Each students’ project is examined in terms of its educational advantage to the apprentice(s) concerned. These apprentices can then be sent to work with an arts partner team for anything between a few days to several weeks, depending on the nature of the project.

In this way, apprentices can become involved in projects covering all artistic disciplines and perform as a group or individually in performing arts shows in France and abroad.

Curriculum offered
  • Double diploma 

Higher National Vocational Diploma for Circus Artists (DNSP), Level II diploma (High School Diploma + 3 years’ higher education) recognised by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and in partnership with the University of Paris 8, Theatre and Performance Bachelor of Arts.

As defined in the authorisation to award the DNSP for Circus Artists, apprentices qualify for the Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance at the end of their course at the University of Paris 8, opening up the opportunity to continue with a Master’s degree after their training at the Académie Fratellini.

Three year full-time course (3350 hours) alternating between training (60%) and work (40%). Recruited candidates are paid under apprenticeship status.

Diploma level: 1st cycle, Level II (RNCP – French National Register of Professional Certifications). It corresponds to 180 ECTS.

  • Apprenticeship access class

This programme prepares trainees for admission into a graduate school, either the Académie Fratellini or another Circus Arts graduate school. At the end of the programme, trainees who successfully audition at the Académie Fratellini join the CFA Circus Arts centre in Year 1 and sign an apprenticeship contract.

The trainees follow an 8 month programme which includes classes in physical fitness, acrobatics, balancing, acting and movement as well as classes in their specialism. A maximum of 30% of their training time is spent training in the workplace.


The entrance examination involves a two-stage process:

  • Candidates are pre-selected on the basis of their application and video

  • Pre-selected candidates are auditioned during 6 days of immersion at the Académie.

Auditions will include:

  • An individual technical evaluation in the candidates’ chosen speciality
  • An evaluation assessing candidates’ physical conditioning, acrobatic ability, balance, dance, acting and dramatic skills.
  • An individual artistic performance in the big top lasting a maximum of five minutes, with or without music
  • An interview in front of the school’s jury, presided over by the general director of the Academie

Entry requirements:

  • be 16 - 25 years old
  • be a European national or have a residence permit authorising candidates to work in France
  • have the baccalaureate or an equivalent qualification (level IV)
  • have an advanced level of circus experience (or dance, sport, etc.)
  • interest and motivation in artistic research in all its forms
  • for non-French speakers: Level 4 of the French Language Test (TCF) is required to meet the university entry requirements for the DNSP. The Level 4 TCF corresponds to Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.