The primary mission of the French National Centres for the Dramatic Arts (Centres Dramatiques Nationaux – CDNs) is artistic creation for the theatrical stage.
Established in the aftermath of World War II, there are now 38 CDNs in France. Envisioned by Jean Zay as contributing to the decentralisation of theatrical production and to the democratisation of culture in France, promoted by Jeanne Laurent, then by André Malraux, the CDNs remain to this day the mainstay of France’s cultural policy, which continues to endorse the idea that art, culture and theater are a public service, which aims to make available high-quality artistic offerings throughout the land. It is common practice to entrust the management of the CDNs to stage directors, so as to ensure the long-term viability of the artistic project by cementing it in a particular region and sharing it with the local public.
With a focus on theatrical creation, contemporary writing, innovative staging, and the hosting of major shows of French and foreign origin, as well as providing promising creative talents, troupes and the audience with valuable support, the CDNs remain to this day unique in the world and welcome over one million spectators annually.
The «Théâtre National de Bretagne» (National Theater of Brittany), called the TNB, traces its history back to the very creation of the «Centre Dramatique de l’Ouest» (Centre for the Dramatic Arts in the West) in 1949, which then worked in association with the «Maison de la Culture» (House of Culture) after it was founded in 1968. The TNB was born in 1990 when Rennes’ CDN (National Center for the Dramatic Arts) and its Maison de la Culture (House of Culture) merged. Its early directors were Emmanuel de Véricourt then François Le Pillouër.
Today the TNB is an eminent CDN in the French cultural landscape: it is also a European Centre for the Theatrical and Choreographic Arts; it organizes an annual festival, has a cinema and runs an important drama school: l’École Supérieure d’Art Dramatique (TNB Drama School). The TNB welcomes some 200,000 spectators each season across its many programmes : live performances, cinema, special events and workshops.
As of January 1, 2017, the actor and stage director Arthur Nauzyciel has been at the helm of the TNB.