Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts

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National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts
Национална академия за театрално и филмово изкуство
Established1948; 74 years ago (1948)
RectorStanislav Semerdzhiev
Academic staff
Students700 (approx.)
Coordinates: 42°41′32.26″N 23°19′33.72″E / 42.6922944°N 23.3260333°E / 42.6922944; 23.3260333
AffiliationsCILECT, ELIA, Cumulus Association

The Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts (Bulgarian: Национална академия за театрално и филмово изкуство „Кръстьо Сарафов“, usually abbreviated as НАТФИЗ, NATFA) is an institution of higher education based in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. It is the first Bulgarian university in the field of theatre and film arts. It was founded in 1948, being the only public and state-run institution of its kind in the country.

The Academy enrolls about 120 new students every year, including 20 international students. It is located in three adjacent buildings in downtown Sofia, which are: a Training Drama Theatre (since 1957), a Training Puppet Theatre (since 1966), a cinema and video hall and an educational audiovisual centre, as well as an academic information centre that stores 60,000 volumes of Bulgarian and international literature. NATFA has a student dormitory in Studentski grad.


After the Second World War, there were changes in the political, economic and social life in Bulgaria. Higher education became free of charge which allowed more young people to pursue a career in theater. The number of theaters also increased, which led to the need for more actors and directors. The Academy started off as a temporary, two-year theater school at the Ivan Vazov National Theater. Subsequently, as Bulgarian press raised the idea of creating a higher theater school, it turned into the first Bulgarian State Higher Theater School in 1948.

In its first class, 22 students were admitted in acting and 9 were admitted in directing, and two years later there were 16 new students in theater studies. Initially, the duration of all courses was four years, but it was later extended to five for directors and theater critics. The school's first seventeen teachers were prominent experts in theater art and theater critics. Over the years, the number of teachers increased and the curriculum improved.

Dimitar Mitov, a prominent author, publicist and literary and theater critic, was appointed as the first Rector. The school was initially housed at 43 Vasil Levski Boulevard (formerly Tolbuhin Boulevard), but the building turned out to be too small to accommodate all of its students. In 1951, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the great Bulgarian artist Krastyo Sarafov’s birth, the school was named after him, and in 1954 it was renamed Krastyo Sarafov Higher Institute of Theater Arts.

Boyan Danovski's 1952 directing class

In 1955, the Institute received a new building, specially built for it at 108A Rakovski Street. With its three stages and a larger number of audiences, it offered better opportunities for the learning process. The Training Drama Theater, one of the Institute's main units, was inaugurated in 1957. The amphitheater hall has 430 seats.

In 1962, the Institute introduced a puppetry acting course. A decade later, directing for puppet theater was also added. In 1966, the school's Training Puppet Theater was inaugurated with a performance of The Carnival of the Animals to the music of Camille Saint-Saëns, directed and written by Nikolina Georgieva. It is located at 20 Stefan Karadja Street and has a hall with 100 seats. In 1973, new courses such as filmmaking and cinematography were added to the Institute's curriculum.

On August 1, 1995, the university received its current name: Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theater and Film Arts.


The NATFA edifice in Sofia
  1. Dimitar Mitov (1948–1952)
  2. Lyubomir Tenev (1952–1953)
  3. Boyan Danovski (1953–1954)
  4. Dimitar Mitov (1954–1961)
  5. Zhelcho Mandadzhiev (1961–1964)
  6. Vasil Kolevski (1964–1968)
  7. Stefan Karakostov (1968–1970)
  8. Ivan Chipev (1970–1976)
  9. Krastyo Goranov (1976–1981)
  10. Nadezhda Seykova (1981–1987)
  11. Encho Halachev (1987–1989)
  12. Hristo Rukov (1989–2001)
  13. Zdravko Mitkov (2001–2003)
  14. Stanislav Semerdzhiev (2003–2011)
  15. Lubomir Halatchev (2011–incumbent)

External links[edit]