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Education: Master Program in Devised and Object Theatre at Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU in Prague

Directing for Devised and Object Theatre

Accepting applications for Academic Year 2017/18

Deadline for submitting Applications for Academic Year 2017/18 is January 31, 2017
Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU) announces: Master Degree in Directing for Devised and Object Theatre a 2 year English language directing for alternative and puppet theatre program at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre (KALD)

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Program Overview

The Master in Directing for Alternative and Puppet 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 and media (low tech) aspects,, as well as working in other related performance forms such as scenographic installations, sound performances, and other types of performances with strong visual and spatial dramaturgy.

The process will be 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), for specific material, and proposing new ways for audience to perceive/experience the performance to provide the students with skills to become independent authors.

Study Program

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.

For their last semester and final projects, students will be partnered with prominent practicing artists, based on their individual needs, working in the fields of media, site specific, community theatre, movement theatre, documentary theatre, puppet theatre, visual theatre, scenographic installation etc., for a hands on experience.

Students will further have a possibility to create direct Connection to international environment, artists, and institutions as well as connection to Czech artists and companies.

Practical Proficiency

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.

Theoretical Coursework

The study program also includes a series of theoretical seminars through which students acquaint themselves with contemporary performance, devised, object and puppet theatre in both in the Czech Republic and around the world.

Skills Attained

  • Directing theatre performances with strong visual and spatial components
  • 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
  • Performance designing (scenography)


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.

Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre

has, in its sixty-three years of existence, achieved international recognition and has since its beginnings cultivated new approaches to theatre making. It is vitally connected to the distinguished tradition of Czech puppetry, yet integrates the newest theatrical trends in the areas of object theatre, media and visual arts. The Department’s program places emphasis on student collaboration among various fields from performing to performance design.

MgA. Jiří Havelka Ph.D., director renowned for devising theatre performances from variety of documentary and fiction materials is the head of the department. Other main teaching artists at the program are faculty members like: doc. MgA. Marek Bečka, member of the Cakes and Puppets theatre company; MgA. Robert Smolik member of Handa Gote research and development; and MgA. Jiří Adámek, Ph.D. director, author and theatre critic, the founding director of BocaLoca LAB.

During the course of four semesters, students will encounter other theatre makers working with innovative tools and genres such as Dragan Stojčevski, Handa Gote, Cristina Maldonado, Stage Code, Petra Tejnorová, Farm in the Cave etc.

Admission to the Program

To apply, students must have bachelor degree and demonstrate an appropriate level of spoken and written English for creative university study.

Tuition fee is 210 000 CZK for one academic year

Application deadline: January 31, 2017

Entrance exams: February 2017


Applicants must submit:

  • 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 photograph
  • relevant qualifications (notarized copy of bachelor degree / diploma)
  • completed written application
  • an appropriate letter of reference

All materials must be submitted in English (or must be translated into English).

Selected applicants will be invited to attend an audition. In special cases, an online video audition may be arranged (e.g., via Skype).

Please note: DAMU will not return any items submitted for admission consideration.

Course Leader

MgA. Sodja Zupanc Lotker 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 as well as Lhotakova/Soukup dance company. 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 at Visual Arts Academy in Brno, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Columbia University, Yale School of drama, KhIO Oslo, Central School of Speech and Drama London, Kiasma Helsinki and a number of festivals and symposia.

Contact: Sodja Lotker

Apply now

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Caden Manson is a director, media artist, and teacher. He is co-founder of the media ensemble and network, blog, and publisher, He has co-created, directed, video- and set designed 18 Big Art Group productions. Manson has shown video installations in Austria, Germany, NYC, and Portland; performed PAIN KILLER in Berlin, Singapore and Vietnam; Taught in Berlin, Rome, Paris, Montreal, NYC, and Bern; the ensemble has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s La Vie de Festival, PS122, and Wexner Center for The Arts. Caden is a 2001 Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellow, is a 2002 Pew Fellow and a 2011 MacDowell Fellow. Writing has been published in PAJ, Theater Magazine, and Theater der Zeit. Caden is currently an associate professor and graduate directing option coordinator of The John Wells Directing Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.

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