Norwegian Theatre Academy
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (January 2008)|
Norwegian Theatre Academy offers a challenging undergraduate education in theatre and welcomes aspiring performing artists and scenographers who wish to explore the interaction between visual art and theatre, between theatre and society, and between theory and practice. Through a strategy that emphasizes collaboration between the two degree programs - scenography and acting - students are provided with training that combines the skills, knowledge and methods from conceptual visual art with the skills, techniques and methods of classical and contemporary theatre. Particular focus is placed on physical theatre, devised performance, and multi-disciplinary work.
Under the supervision of the leadership, students work with international guest artists and teachers in an intimate setting that allows close individual attention in both independent projects and directed productions. The goals are to challenge students to think about performance and scenography in innovative ways, to help them develop their own artistic practice, and to prepare them to meet the professional demands of working with directors, choreographers, filmmakers, composers, playwrights and other artists in both traditional and experimental genres.
The Academy functions as a meeting place for students and artists from around the world who are a vital part of creating tomorrow's artistic expression. As a consequence of this international profile, all tuition is in English.
The degree programmes in Theatre Arts
Norwegian Theatre Academy offers two different study programs leading to a bachelor degree, in acting and scenography respectively. The aim is to train specialized theatre artists who can combine skills, knowledge and methods from conceptual visual art with skills, techniques and methods from contemporary theatre and performance. The programs require the students to participate in and devise complex theatre productions and to continuously train their personal skills, and are expected to develop a strong awareness with respect to methods and production strategies. It is an important goal to educate professional artists who can work both in ensembles and independently.
The artistic profile of the programs
The artistic profile of the courses is inspired by international theatre art in which the perception of images, space, sound and bodily awareness are central elements. Theatre forms that experiment with classical drama and crossover art forms are used as references to investigate the challenges facing theatre in contemporary society. The programmes focus on different forms of interaction between scenography (space) and acting (human beings and their actions), on creating genuine artistic collaboration between students, and on challenging meetings between artists and students from different countries and artistic traditions.
The scenography degree
The study program aims to educate scenographers who are capable of developing concepts for use in various forms of theatre art ranging from productions at large theaters to projects involving experimental space and time-based forms of expression. The focus is strongly on developing the students’ ability to communicate precisely using drawings, models and digital media. Collaboration with the students on the acting program is an important part of the course. The target group for this degree program is young people from Norway and other countries, who have an active interest in the arts and the theatre and who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree in Scenography. Previous experience from the visual arts is normally considered an advantage.
The acting degree
The aim of the program is to train performers who can portray characters through conscious use of body, voice and movement, work with objects and take part in complex directed visual compositions and create independent transdisiplinary work. The acting course trains performers to work independently on theatre productions and to interpret roles or role functions in productions directed by directors, choreographers or other artists. Collaboration with the scenography students is an important part of the course. The target group consists of young people from Norway and abroad with an interest in the arts and the theatre who wish to complete a Bachelor degree in Acting. Previous experience of theatre and performance is normally considered an advantage, but it is not a precondition for applying.
Student exchange program
The Norwegian Theatre Academy participates in international exchange programs, and encourages students to take the opportunity to widen their horizons and share experiences within the scope of their chosen area of study for a period of their education.
Entrance for both scenographers and performing artists is by audition. Generally speaking the application deadline is in March with consequent auditions in May each year. The actual dates are published on the Academy's website.
The Norwegian Theatre Academy is exempted from the standard Norwegian university entrance requirements and acceptance is gained by assessment of artistic talent during audition, which means that anyone can apply. Because of the international profile there are no requirements for Norwegian language skills, though it is expected that non-Scandinavian students acquire an understanding of Norwegian during their course of studies. As it is a state funded institution successful candidates are not required to pay tuition fees.
Norwegian Theatre Academy participates in the recently established Program for Research Fellowships in the Arts - a parallel to academic PhD programs that is one of the first of its kind in Europe. The scheme enables artistic research and development work of a high quality and successful candidates are considered qualified for the academic post of Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor. Candidates who have completed their arts education at the highest available level (normally MA) are given the opportunity for a three year funded fellowship. Fellows are attached to one of the Norwegian educational institutions offering higher education in one or more of the creative and performing arts. The Norwegian Theatre Academy has hosted one of the first candidates to complete this program.
Norwegian Theatre Academy is organized with a joint leadership - artistic and administrative. Since August 2011 the artistic leadership is shared between Serge von Arx and Karmenlara Ely. This model of organization, which mirrors the transdisciplinary focus at our institution as well as the collaborative activity within contemporary performing and live arts in general.
A joint leadership, constituted by the two heads of departments (scenography and acting) gives the opportunity to implement the overall artistic visions more deeply into each department, as well as strengthening the development of collaborative projects between the students. Having the two heads of departments share the artistic leadership of the academy brings theory closer to practice.
Artistic Director - Scenography: Serge von Arx
Serge von Arx is a Swiss architect and designer based in Oslo and Berlin. During his extensive collaboration with Robert Wilson he developed and realized numerous stage-, exhibition- and installation-designs all over the world, while also creating various exhibitions as an independent designer. Serge writes as an architectural critic for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and has a teaching experience from the Watermill Center on Long Island and the University of Barcelona.
Artistic Director - Acting: Karmenlara Ely
Dr. Karmenlara Ely has a Phd in Performance Studies at New York University. Before coming to NTA, Karmenlara spent nearly 10 years teaching theater and performance theory at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, with a special emphasis on exploring the impact of ethical philosophy and erotics on contemporary acting technique. She also held the position Artistic Director of the Tisch New York Summer Drama Intensive, 2008-2011. Karmenlara has collaborated as a performer, dramaturg and scenic costumer on theater, performance works and installations in the New York area since 1996, performing in spaces such as La Mama, Here, Galapagos Art Space and The Public Theater. She has published in the journals Women in Performance and Performance Research among other sites.
The Artistic Council
Visiting guest teachers and lecturers
- Baktruppen, performance group (NO)
- Lukas Bangerter, director (CH)
- Claire Bishop, art historian (UK)
- Michael Laub, director (BE)
- Ann Christin Rommen, director (D)
- Milan Peschel, actor/director (D)
- Jay Scheib, director (US)
- Ong Keng Sen, director (SP)
- AJ Weissbard, light designer (US)
- Linda Wise, director (UK/F)