Faculty of Theatre (Prague)
The Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU) – "A Dynamic Theatre School Offering a Wide Spectrum of Studies in Theatre Creation" - was founded immediately after the Second World War, emerging from the need to educate theatre artists and artistic personalities capable of capitalizing on the creative conquests made in the first half of the 20th century - when Czech theatre experienced one of its most significant apogees – and bring them into contemporary theatrical consciousness. The founders of the school – principally, Jiří Frejka, a director, and set designer František Tröster, along with Miroslav Haller – united their experiences from the avant-garde movement with a polished professionalism and pronounced pedagogical talent.
During its sixty-year existence, the Theatre Faculty has consistently integrated new theatrical trends, developing a pluralistic educational environment where the most prominent personalities of Czech theatrical life teach in a variety of fields - from acting, directing, dramaturgy and drama theory, scenography and theatre management to more interdisciplinary disciplines, where theatre embraces authorial creation, philosophy and education.
The backbone of the school is formed by two large departments, each of which reflects the diversity of today’s theatre world – the Department of Dramatic Theatre and the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre.
The Department of Dramatic Theatre and the Department of Stage Design prepare students, above all, for the repertory theatre system – itself primarily concerned with the interpretation of classical, modern and contemporary texts - in the fields of acting, directing, dramaturgy and scenography. Their graduates often form the core of top Czech theatres, e.g. the National Theatre, yet many also become involved in independent theatre troupes, surprising in their vitality and cutting-edge approaches. The Department of Stage Design nurtures students’ self-reliance and professionalism, preparing them to work not only in theatres, but also in the media, film, etc.
The Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre departs from the Czech Republic’s rich tradition in puppetry yet transcends it to include distinctively stylized theatre and contemporary understandings of the scenic arts, theatrical performativity, para-theatrical events, etc. The Department’s approach is characterized by close collaboration among actors, director and scenographer. Seeing as interdisciplinary scenic collaboration is of such importance to the Department, a subsection is devoted to scenography - the Division of Alternative Stage Design. Graduates of the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre emerge as distinctive personalities involved in creating a collective poetic and have included internationally renowned Czech theatre companies (e.g. Drak, Studio Ypsilon). Graduating classes often establish new and successful theatre groups. Individuals also find work in children’s theatres.
The other departments at the Theatre Faculty transcend the theatre profession. Students at the Department of Authorial Creation and Pedagogy study acting as a mode of public existence (performing) and as a means of authorial and personal expression. The main subject at the Department is an improvisational acting discipline developed by Professor Ivan Vyskočil, “Acting with the Inner Partner.” The Department places great emphasis on psycho-physical training, especially in terms of voice and speech. The Department of Drama in Education focuses on the role of theatre in education. The Department of Theory and Criticism prepares its students for theatre criticism and is primarily responsible for the theoretical subjects studied at the Faculty. The Department of Arts Management educates theatre managers, who go on to work in all kinds of theatres as well as in other artistic contexts.
Recently, the Theatre Faculty has introduced doctoral studies in four areas: Stage Creation and the Theory of Stage Creation; Theory and Practice of Theatre Creation; Alternative and Puppet Art and Its Theory; and Authorial Acting and the Theory of Authorial Creation and Pedagogy.
Deans of DAMU
- 1946–1948 Jiří Frejka
- 1948–1949 Klementina Rektorisová
- 1949–1950 František Götz
- 1950–1952 Jan Kopecký
- 1952–1953 František Götz
- 1953–1954 Vladimír Adámek
- 1954–1955 František Salzer
- 1955–1958 Josef Bezdíček
- 1958–1961 František Salzer
- 1961–1963 Antonín Dvořák
- 1963–1970 František Salzer
- 1970–1972 Jan Císař
- 1972–1985 Eva Šmeralová
- 1985–1989 Jana Makovská
- 1990–1991 Jan Dušek
- 1991–1994 Miloslav Klíma
- 1994–1997 Miloš Horanský
- 1997–2000 Vladimír Mikeš
- 2000–2006 Markéta Kočvarová-Schartová
- 2006–2013 Jan Hančil
- 2013–till now Doubravka Svobodová
Titus Andronicus, Foto:Martin Vosáhlo
- Various authors: AMU 60 years of existence (A book issued on the occasion of 60th anniversary of AMU´s founding), Praha, 2006, page 1-29, ISBN 80-7331-065-1
- Faculty of Theatre - official web
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