Changing the Face of French Scene: Rethinking Assumptions for a Theatre That Mirrors Society | Gabriel | Polish Theatre Journal

ISSN 2451-2966


Elliot Marès during the 'Change - now!' conference, Teatr Ochoty, Warsaw, 7 October 2019, photo: Marta Ankiersztejn
Grégory Gabriel, Elliot Marès

Changing the Face of French Scene: Rethinking Assumptions for a Theatre That Mirrors Society


At the Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique of Paris, we seek to transform the future face of French theatre so that it reflects the diversity of contemporary France. In this presentation, we explainwhy and how we have been working to recruit a new generation of actors from minoritized backgrounds and to give them the confidence to go proudly into the professional world. Through taking a ‘colour-blind’ approach to casting and by centering the voices of minorities within the institution, we seek to give these students the key to open the doors of a still conservative French theatre establishment.


Theatre School; Acting; Blackface; Emancipation; Racism

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Grégory Gabriel

After studying Drama at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle – Paris III University, Grégory Gabriel worked for ten years in an artistic career as a comedian and musician (songwriter and performer). In 2000, he was hired by Michel Duffour, Secretary of State for Cultural Heritage and Decentralization, where he wrote some speeches. In 2002, he joined the Department of Music, Dance, Theater and Entertainment of the French Ministry of Culture, where he was responsible for the higher education sector of dramatic art. Since 2004, he has been Director of Studies at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts of Paris, and at the same time continues to perform as a songwriter and performer.

Elliot Marès

is the Human Resources Manager and Anti-Discrimination Lead at the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique. After completing a master’s degree in Human Rights Law and Public Law, he worked at the Department of Modern Art at Paris City Hall, and in human resources at the Ministry of Education before joining the Conservatoire in 2018.