Theatre Studio DISK is part of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU), located at the Academy at Karlova 26, Prague. DISK theatre has the size and characteristics of a regular, small repertory theatre, the most common type of theatre in the Czech Republic.
DISK is designed and used for the practical education of students of certain theatre programs, during the last years of study.
The school theatre operates using professional employees. Students can use the carpentry workshop, metal and paint shop, build sets, and tailor, assisted by six craftsmen. Another nine employees operate the theatre space, as light and sound technicians, and stagehands. The management, administration, promotion, and economics of the theatre is taken care of by four office staff.
Students and teachers maintain the artistic aspect of the theatre. The class pedagogues lead two theatre groups composed of students in the fourth year of study from the Department of Dramatic Theatre and the Alternative and Puppet Theatre Department. Students from these departments, their pedagogues, or outside professionals do the directing. Students of Stage Design create the sets and costumes for all performances. Theatre Management students produce the performance to gain field experience. At Theatre Studio DISK there are eight or nine performances during the academic year. Half are by students of the Dramatic Theatre and the other by the Alternative and Puppet Theatre students. The theatre performances for the season, their dramaturgy and titles are chosen by the students of Directing and Dramaturgy in consultation with their instructors.
Individual performances run from opening night until the end of the season. There are up to thirty performances played monthly. Over the last couple seasons there have been about two hundred performances performed at DISK theatre.
The Theatre Studio DISK ensemble also goes on tour. Students regularly participate in international student theatre festivals in Brno (Setkání/ Encounter) and in Bratislava (Istropolitana). Occasionally the students are invited to perform at other festivals all over Europe. During the theatre season, students perform about ten performances across the Czech Republic.
The Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts
The Academy of Performing Arts (AMU) in Prague was established as an institution of higher education in 1946. At the same time it was divided into three independent faculties: Music (HAMU), Film (FAMU) and Theatre (DAMU). Initially, DAMU offered study opportunities in acting, direction, stage design and dramaturgy; today it comprises a wider range of subjects - puppetry, arts management, theatre studies, authorship and pedagogy, and drama in education.
DAMU received accreditation for its doctoral programme in theatre sciences (Alternative and Puppet Art and Its Theory, Theory and Practice of Theatre Art The Scenic, Art and Theory of Scenic Art (Scenology) and Authorial Acting and Theory of Authorial Creativity). In autumn 2001 two research institutes were founded: The Institute for research of Dramatic and Stage Creation, and The Institute for Study and Research.
DAMU places a great emphasis on the relationship of the student and the members of the staff, with the belief that professors act as mentors who can help the students develop their innate talent. Course-work is designed to work on three levels: a creative level; a level that builds students physical and mental discipline while making the craft of their specialization automatic; and a theoretical / historical level that ensures a solid knowledge of theatre and other subjects relevant to theatre studies (sociology, psychology, literature, history, etc.).
The size of the school is small-- there are a total of about 470 students in seven departments - allowing for a feeling of community within each department and within the school as a whole. Students and faculty members work closely together, and seminars usually have a maximum of 10 students. Within the departments, students are divided into groups according to their year. These “yearly groups“ are led by one professor (their “head teacher“) who works with a pedagogic team to create an academic curriculum for the specific group of students. Starting in their first year, these groups work together on common projects as well as taking courses in their specialization.
The Theatre Faculty (DAMU) organizes an annual (since 1994) festival of Czech and Slovakian theatre academies ZLOMVAZ (i.e. “Break a Leg”), managed by the students of the Department of Theatre Management. Apart from the DAMU departments, the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno, and the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Bratislava (Slovakia), other theatre schools and academies are regularly invited to join the Czech and Slovakian young performers (a private theatre school from New York Gate Theatre - Gregory Ables Training Ensemble in 1998, Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding from Munich in 2000, Actors Studio MCHAT, Petersburg 2002, students from Toronto University at Scarborough and students from Panstwowa Wyszi Szkola Teatralna Wroclaw, Poland, 2004).
During last years the DAMU students took part in a number of Czech as well as foreign international festivals, namely the International Festival of Theatre Schools, Warszawa, Festival Young Podium, Moscow, Festival Encounter, Brno, Festival of University Theatres in Besançon, France, Thespis Festival Jeruzalem, etc.).
DAMU is also active in the Socrates/ Erasmus programme, which allows student as well as staff mobility within bilateral contracts. (During the 2004/2005 academic year DAMU exchanged students and staff with Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Italy, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, The Netherlands, Theatre Academy of Finland, Oslo University Norway, Queen Margaret University College Edinburg, Institut del Teatre Barcelona, Spain, Paris 8 Universite - Départment d´Études théâtrales, France, Hogeschool Antwerpen, Belgium etc.)
Currently, DAMU is partner in EU cultural programs – Culture 2000, Leonardo da Vinci.