Who we are

Actor’s Traditions Research Association

ARTA is a laboratory of research and experimentation about the art of the actor,with an outward-looking international perspective. It is our objective to give to French and European artists the opportunity to discover new creative tools and learn from masters from across the world through the initiation to foreign scenic traditions. The transmission of the experience leads to an enrichment of the artistic tools, to a raise of awareness of the following creative process, to an interrogation to oneself about the direction of actors or the collective work inside an ensemble. Artists, students, alumni of artistic schools, researchers may as well browse through the archives of ARTA and its documentation resources, participate to its events, or observe the workshops held by ARTA. Witnessing these experiences, each and every one can take advantage of the transmission of the masters’ experience.


The school

April 1989: ARTA invites I Made Djimat from Bali and he, assisted by Cristina Wistari, holds the first workshop of Topeng at the Cartoucherie. This first workshop was shortly followed in Mai by “Bharata natyam, abhinaya”, held by Kalanidhi Narayanan, assisted by Maïtreyi, and in October by Jingju, held by Zhang Chunhua, assisted by Zhang Yanyan.

Taking advantage of her experience as an actress at the Théâtre du Soleil, Lucia Bensasson, encouraged by Ariane Mnouchkine, undertook the challenge of this school “other”, “different”, open to the actors’ traditions of the whole world. Established together with Claire Duhamel, Arta was supported from the beginning by the French Ministry of Culture. At first wandering, with no fixed location, ARTA was alternately hosted by the five theatres of the Cartoucherie: Aquarium, Chaudron, Epée du bois, Théâtre du Soleil, and Tempête. Thanks to the help of the municipality of Paris, ARTA obtained the restructured white building which still is its home. Starting in 1994, ARTA managed to multiply its activities of transmission, training, research and cultural enrichment of the actor “without borders”, an actor who can also be singer, musician, dancer…

ARTA was presided by Paul-Louis Mignon, then Louis Joinet and eventually Georges Banu. Starting in 1999, Jean-François Dusigne (actor of the Théâtre du Soleil and professor at the university “Paris 8”) succeeded Claire Duhamel in leading ARTA with Lucia Bensasson as artistic directors. They are assisted by Giulia Pesole in the administration and communication.

Stimulating the discovery, the encounter and intersection of stage practices across the world, ARTA intends to create the environment in which each and every one may trace its own course through the practice, so to be able to sail in every weather… We try to make the actors bloom, give them wider palettes, have them become visionary poets with a travelling spirit, to give them the tools to be alternately dancers, singers, puppeteers… At the intersection of the great sources of acting and playing, we try to prepare for a theater “that could be” rather than teaching for a theater “how it is”.

It is indeed an idea of actor that is born and grows in ARTA: an actor-creator, not just an “interpreter”, but also a “player”, capable of being a “proposing force”, in order to: - exceed the expectations of a director, surprise him, the actors must be conscious of the creative instruments that they’re using - acquire the ability to collaborate in a team or in a collective.

In a world saturated by images, the theatre invites to listen, to take the time of a sensible relation.
Together, let us pay attention to the detail in order to consider the immensity, cross the time, travel between here and elsewhere, bring into play what eludes us, probe the human contradictions, show our presence to the world.

The team

President : Georges Banu
Vice-presidente : Ariane Mnouchkine
Artistic direction : Lucia Bensasson et Jean-François Dusigne
Administration and communication : Giulia Pesole
Graphics and communication : Simon Holzman
Translator of the website : Marco Serena
Accountant : Gmba Seleco
Maintenance : Paulina Mimouni