a 2 year English language program at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre (KALD)
Prague, Czech Republic.
The Master in Directing of Devised and Object Theatre offers advanced studies in the practice of theatre-making with a twofold focus: learning the process of devising a theatre performance from scratch, with a strong emphasis on a visuality of expression. Students will learn to create theatre performances with strong visual, spatial, object, media (low tech) as well as participatory, documentary, immersive and political aspects, as well as working in other related performance forms such as scenographic installations, sound performances, sound walks, interactive and public space performance as well as other types of performances with non-traditional theatre settings.
The process is based in devising techniques: creating thematic, conceptual, and/or documentary projects that are not based in pre-written plays, but are created mainly through the process of rehearsing, often as collaborative work of the whole creative team.
Students will learn to work with variety of authentic, found, and created material: poetry, images, fragments of plays, songs, historical events, personal stories, scientific findings, common knowledge, pop culture etc. Students will further learn a conceptual approach to research and development of materials, creating specific performance structures (in the sense of narrative, space, and relationship to audience), from specific material, and proposing new ways for audience to perceive/experience the performance. The course aims to provide the students with skills to become independent authors.
The degree is in directing, where directing is understood as an expanded practice, with the potential to work within the fields of design, writing, and performing, to prepare students for work in theatre forms without strict divisions of roles within the creative team. Students will be guided toward becoming independent creators making their own artistic work. Devising includes both creating and performing. The conceptual and performed aspects are often intertwined.
For their own projects, students are partnered with prominent practicing artists working in the fields of media, site specific, community theatre, movement theatre, documentary theatre, puppet theatre, visual theatre, scenographic installation etc., for tutoring.
The main focus of the study is to develop student’s own language, style and aesthetics, and to explore their own voice.
Students will further have a possibility to create direct connection to and do internships with international artists and in international environments and institutions as well as connection to Czech artists and companies.
Directing theatre performances without ´script´
Devising performance from a variety of material
Devising using one’s own material (not only interpreting already existing material)
Research and development of material
Creation of a variety of dramaturgical structures and research of material
Performing, and working with performers
Directing understood as complex performance making including designing, performing, writing etc.
MgA. Sodja Zupanc Lotker, Ph.D. works as a dramaturg for independent devised theatre, dance, media and site specific projects, working often in unusual performance spaces in Czech Republic, USA, Brazil etc., for instance with CIA Dani Lima, Lotte van den Berg, Farm in the Cave, Cristina Maldonado, Jan Mocek, Julian Hetzel, Ahilan Ratnamohan as well as Wojtek Ziemilski. She was Artistic Director of the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space 2008-2015, and has curated numerous exhibitions and events for the PQ since 1999. She has been teaching and giving lectures Columbia University, Yale School of drama, KhIO Oslo, Central School of Speech and Drama London, Kiasma Helsinki and a number of festivals and symposia.
This directing course consists of short practical directing exercises. Students learn the basics of composition (body, stage, planes, levels, emphasis), visualisation, movement and rhythm. Thinking concepts, drawing concepts, arranging concepts. The pedagogical focus is on the individuality of each student and their style of thinking about theatre elements.
In this course focused on art-based research, students learn to link artistic research to theory, to find resources and write about different practical and theoretical issues connected to their personal research interests. The course happens through research presentations, writing, and dialogue and sharing of research and writing practices and outcomes.
Devised dramaturgy is usually made collectively by the whole creative team, often including audiences. It is a dramaturgy that is not based in a traditional theatre play but ‘devised’ from different kinds of material through rehearsing. In this module participants will be introduced to basic strategies: listening to material, potential of material, collaborative thinking, thinking through doing etc. of devised dramaturgy. We are working with different ‘ingredients’ such as photos, stories, material, films, references, quotes, ready-mades, movements, spaces, ideas, dreams, half-baked thoughts, forgotten desires to devise theatrical situations, and explore/create different dramaturgical systems/structures.
Devising with Sound focuses on working with dramaturgy within composition. It is the environment in which we examine the limits of performativity in sound, the drama based on the meeting of various audio objects.
Performance Analysis is a course that orientates the student on the local theatre map; it also serves as a platform to formulate critical opinions on performances seen together, and to compare local and home theatrical, and also cultural context. The group of students from various countries give each other feedback, and provide a platform to improve the language of analysis and reflection. The course takes place in the framework of the school building as well as outside, during the evenings in the theatres.
In the past we had following guest workshops: František Fabián (lighting design); Kjartan Fønstelien (food performance and sociology); Petra Hauerová (body and movement); Christelle Havranek (art curation); Julian Hetzel (performing destruction); Lucia Kašiarová (dance curation); Nela Kornetová (performing voice); Alice Koubová (theory); Ivo Kristián Kubák (immersive theatre); Jan Mocek (digital theatre); Rima Najdi (personal is political); Jakob Oredsson (light in public space); Yuka Oyama (visual art performing object); Kamila Polívková (directing); Lucia Repašská (directing); Philipp Schenker (performing objects); Adéla Součková (visual art research); Dragan Stojčevski (performative space); Antonín Šilar (live cinema); Johana Ožvold Švarcová (sound in space); Andreas Wilhelm (performing perfumes); Joost Van Wijmen (performative costume); Wojtek Ziemilski (real time composition); Mali Weil - Lorenzo Facchinelli & Mara Ferrieri (forrest - performance, object, research); Spielraum Kollektiv - Linda and Mathias Straub (performing light); Costume Agency - Sodja Lotker & Christina Lindgren (devising from garment); 4+4 Days in Motion - Cristina Maldonado & Philipp Schenker (performance).
This course explores the importance of sound in performance and the relation of sound and object/sound in action. It is focused on sound as a basic material for developing performance, creating sound environments, exploring the sonic qualities of movement and animation. According to students’ needs it may be also focused on technical elements such as proper use of microphones and mixing console, field recording, multitrack recording, post production and processing sound
This subject is focused on discovering the possibilities and qualities of different raw materials (paper, potatoes, milk etc.) By playing we look for performative potential of materials, and we discuss it. This experience serves as a basis for their further theatrical creation, especially for objects and puppet theater.
Objects and materials are an important part of our life and become our partners on stage.
We explore together how different kinds of objects/materials are connected to space, our bodies, stories and associations. By devising we transform and reinvent their meaning and use. We'll search for new metaphors that an object can express in relation to the story, space and personal presence.
or with Viktor Černický:
The course Performing with Objects stems from an idea of equal relationship between an object and a living performer. Throughout the year, students come across short encounters with various objects. They are navigated through an object and a body in relation to each other and to space, through its qualities, meanings, history and context.
The individual student project in the 2nd semester is a crucial part of the studies. Students are expected to conceive, rehearse and produce their own project. Form and format as well as content of the project are up to the student, but the final decision is approved by the faculty within a series of brainstormings and presentations. An appropriate tutor is allocated to individual students to follow the development. The project is usually produced in collaboration with other DAMU students. It is assumed that the projects for the 2nd, 3rd semester and the final MA project done in the 4th semester are in some way parts of the same research focus that will also be the basis of the writing of the thesis.
(in order to have enough credits per semester students are required to take some non-compulsory courses):
Time, space & improvisation: explores creating with the basic components of Time + Space, and Voice + Body, in everyday life and performance. Creators study, play, explore, and work with these elements to be more aware of them, experience them more deeply, to be able to use them more fully in devising, performing, improvisation, and everyday life.
Other non-compulsory subjects are available within the department, DAMU (Theatre Faculty), HAMU (Music, Dance and Mime Faculty) & FAMU (Film and television Faculty) and are for instance:
Alternative World Theatre in the 20th and 21st Century 1 & 2, Puppet Animation 1 as well as language courses, pantomime, singing lessons, clowning, choreography, physical education (swimming, gymnastics), media theory etc.
The course guides students through the creative process of developing performative works. Students will learn how to trigger a snowball effect, departing from initial ideas, moments, and situations to compose the whole artistic piece. Special attention is paid to directing relations between particular performative elements.
In this course, in seminar form, students will be introduced to main theoretical issues in context of contemporary theatre: from linguistics, sociology, queer theory as well as contemporary peformance theory.
This class consists of discussions and practical exercises that cover a variety of issues, questions and topics to do with contemporary performance (chance, love, mistake, rehearsal, participation, context etc.). These topics are chosen by the participants throughout the year and thought through collectively. The goal of the seminar is to cover territories of knowledge that have not been covered before, but mainly to create a possibility for students to connect their own experiences/questions, with ideas from theory and examples from practice, without creating hierarchy between the three.
One of the most important areas of body education is the awareness of what is happening inside: the dialogue between inner and outer space and experience in relation to the whole person. This course is a practical and physical conversation which focuses not only on the human body and forms, but also on how we as artists see, understand, relate to the body and use body language through practices such as philosophy, psychology, self awareness, dramaturgy, geometry, medicine, somatic, kinetics and other arts. We consider the role of the body and movement in our work, examining and focusing on individual parts which takes precedence over the whole. During the course students learn how to identify with space and move into character by working with their own bodies and nature, feelings, intuition, coincidence, association, symbolism. etc. Students look for an authentic body language and authenticity from a number of angles.
The course is focused on giving an introduction to use low-fi media and gadgets as main actors in a dramaturgical discourse in performance. We will explore in class how to use video, sound, notation of instructions, telephones, soundwalks and video walks to guide the experience of others. We will reflect on McLuhan's proposition "The medium is the message" with short composition exercises to observe that each technological device carries its own potential themes, structures and content. The course will allow a deeper understanding on how to integrate media coherently in the devising process.
As we expect many students of the MA DOT program will be working as freelance directors or running a small organization to create performance, the class is designed to offer an overview of the basics of hands-on work as producers. Students are encouraged to learn about and share practice from several different countries, making this a comparative study with only a partial focus on the Czech context. The first semester is devoted to matching artistic vision with available resources, with modules about research and prep, resource analysis, budget creation and monitoring, project mapping, time allocation and the basics of applying for grants. In the second semester the proposal is to focus more on communications, sustainability, and operations, in the past we have looked at project pitching, project descriptions, public relations, setting up a small arts organization, self-care, fundraising, networks, coproductions and the situation of cultural and technical workers in various countries. Students completing the course leave with their own handbook on how to produce their future devised theatre project from initial vision to opening night to final report.
The individual student project in the 3rd and 4th semesters are a crucial part of the studies. Students are expected to conceive, rehearse and produce their own project. Form and format as well as content of the project are up to the student, but the final decision is approved by the faculty within a series of brainstormings and presentations. An appropriate tutor is allocated to individual students to follow the development. The project is usually produced in collaboration with other DAMU students. It is assumed that the projects for the 2nd, 3rd semester and the final MA project done in the 4th semester are in some way parts of the same research focus that will also be the basis of the writing of the thesis.
Other non-compulsory subjects. See information in the first year.
Written thesis is usually focused on students' own final work, trajectory and research towards that work and its historical and theoretical context, and it is considered one of the main parts of the final exam. Students have the opportunity to extend the time of the writing of the thesis and the final exams after the fourth semester.
The study program includes a series of theoretical seminars through which students acquaint themselves with contemporary performance, devised, object and puppet theatre both in the Czech Republic and around the world.
The foundations of the program involve practical work that provides the student with a hands-on experience with all the elements and in all the phases of project creation: selecting a theme; building a concept and dramaturgical structure; processing material; sound, visual and spatial design; dramaturgical work with material; creating material through rehearsal; performing and working with performers; work with puppets and objects; work with audiences.
In order to graduate, students must present a performance during the second year of their studies as well as a written thesis containing a reflection of their artistic work.
8 470 EUR per academic year.
Currently there is no applicable scholarship program at the academy.
To apply, students must have a bachelor degree and demonstrate an appropriate level of spoken and written English for creative university study. Bachelor diploma in directing or theatre is not required. We accept applications from bachelors of variety of different arts and humanities fields.
a motivational letter, including the reasons why they have chosen the program,
a detailed description, reflection on, and documentation of their creative work to date including a dvd with work samples,
a description of their envisioned Masters Study Project and their intentions in the course of study,
a vision of their future professional activities,
CV with photography,
relevant qualifications (notarized copy of bachelor degree / diploma),
completed written application,
an appropriate letter of reference.
If accepted, applicants must apply for official validation (nostrification) of their previous degree(s). This process includes having your previous degrees validated by a equivalent Czech academic institution. Ideally, applicants should provide us with a copy of the official validation of previous education in support of their application. If this is not possible (e.g if you have not yet received your certificate by the time of applying) the applicant will not receive an official notice of acceptance until after the validation of their previous degree. This must be done before the academic year begins. Please note, if you require a Visa (granted only with an official acceptance letter from DAMU) to study in the Czech Republic you must be able to complete the validation process in time (we estimate it could take up to two months to receive validation) before receiving an official acceptance from DAMU. DAMU will provide some support to help with the validation process. Applicants must be able to pay for the cost of validation.
All materials, including hard version of application form, must be sent via surface mail not later than February 14, 2020.
All materials must be submitted in English (or must be translated into English).
Selected applicants will be invited to attend an onlone video interview on the 11th and 12th of March, 2020.
Please note: DAMU will not return any items submitted for admission consideration.
For more information about the studies please contact
Sodja Lotker: email@example.com
If prospective students would like to learn more about the course from previous or current students please contact Sodja Lotker and she will connect you.
For more information about application, admission and other administrative information please contact
Marie Pejřimovská: firstname.lastname@example.org
DAMU in Prague
Karlova 26, 116 65 Praha 1, Czech Republic
phone: +420 234 244 218 or +420 234 244 281
mobil: +420 721 239 374
a showcase of graduating students of the
MA program in Directing for Devised and Object Theatre
at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU)
led by Sodja Lotker
6th & 7th of December 2019
Ten performances made in the last two years: soft immersion, critical intimacy, durational destabilization, refocused perception, immediate co-creation and much more.
For tickets and info write to: email@example.com
(De)formation #2 - Israel Lopez
The Applause - Lea Kukovicic
Plugs, Gates, Skins - Theresa Schrezenmeir
Go Away - See If I’m There - Eva Rosemarijn
Diet Popaganda - Bria de la Mare
Crying Zone - Zofia Komasa
My Apartment - Ine Ubben
An Experiment For Two - Tinka Avramova
Marie Antionette Walks Down An Elegant Hallway Knowing Everybody Hates Her - Alyssa Dillard
Before The Ceremony - Wayne Jordan
Study programmes at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre focus on exploration of the very essentials of what theatre is, how it can be perceived, what social functions can it fulfil nowadays, what are possible directions of its development, where are its borders and crossovers.
The studies are based on the fusion of the long-standing pedagogical experience of Czech puppetry school and tendencies rooted in Eastern European theatre of avant-garde and movement of „open theatre“.
Beside the craft skills, theoretical and historical knowledge, the artistic research here is focused on areas of primary roles in theatre – it is testing division to traditional roles as director, dramaturg, actor, stage designer, costume designer, composer or dancer. Emphasising collective creative work, these roles are disturbed, overlapped, intersected a de-hierarchized. These tendencies apply especially in process of rehearsals, which we understand as core of the creation.
The above mentioned practices are researched in areas of figurative and puppet theatre, DIY, happening, performance, dance, visual expression, contemporary music or for example musical, documentary, political or physical theatre, or as contrary, in archaic theatre or theatre with non-European roots. Theatre principles are extended to radio and musical compositions or experimental film, as the theatre does not necessarily have to be staged in theatre venues and is able to transmit its principles to different artistic forms. And vice versa – theatre tries to transform inspirations and tools from other artistic forms into stage work.
The source of inspiration doesn’t have to be only dramatic literature, but also, for example, research papers, discoveries from botanics, mineralogy, alchemy, hermeneutics, philosophy or psychology, as well as mathematics, obscure cinematography, novels, poetry, essays and treatises, chronicles, jazz, baroque music, or metal.
The common territory of studies is a post-dramatic theatre, devised theatre, postspectacular, puppet, object, physical. More than on studies of established methods and craft rules, the focus is moved to space for questioning, searching different or new language. Theatre is not absolutely known phenomena, it is a space for continuously necessary defining of oneself. Should contemporary theatre stay alive, it must be more a question than a verified genre. And, moreover, the theatre professions as directing or stage design, are not the goal of studies, that has to be perfectly handled.
An important aspect is, besides studying of theatrical or performative language, common and open studies of students of all disciplines, sharing experience and knowledge and open reflecting of each other’s work. Accent is also placed to theatre history, contemporary theory and teatrological methodology as essencial context to practical tasks and stage projects.
In 2020 a new international joint master degree course of Puppetry will be launched by four Central European Academies (Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava – Slovakia; Academy of Performing Arts in Prague – Czech Republic; The Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw Puppet Theatre Art Department in Bialystok – Poland; University of Theatre and Film Arts Budapest – Hungary). The aim of the four-semester master program is to exchange the methods and educational forms in a 21st century context in order to provide the graduate with high--level puppetry education. The studies are organized in a different city each semester, with a specific focus on particular skills and knowledge of puppeteer, exploiting the strengths of each participating academy. Students have the opportunity to meet internationally acclaimed masters, to experience a variety of approaches in four prestigious academies and to get involved in professional theatre and art communities in four Central European cities.
The graduate possesses the qualifications of a puppeteer, specific professional skills concerning craft and artistic creation, uses a wide range of acting techniques, knows the possibilities of different puppet techniques, theatre of object and other unconventional means of artistic expression as well as the theatre of animated forms. The course is open for applicants with all sorts of BA diploma qualification, the graduates of art academies as well as humanities from all around the world. The study programme is conducted in English.