Four new Master’s programmes have been established within Hessian Theatre Academy (HTA) since its foundation in 2002 – on the one hand to fill existing gaps in the training and education on offer, on the other hand to illustrate and promote the primary idea of co-operation at a structural level. The Master’s degrees in Dramaturgy at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University and in Performing Arts and Music Management at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts (HfMDK) have thus been established since the launch of HTA. These were supplemented in 2008 with two advanced Master’s degrees in the field of dance (at the time in co-operation with Tanzplan Deutschland): the MA for Contemporary Dance Education at the HfMDK and the MA for Choreography and Performance at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen and the HfMDK. Both programmes are run in English and are specifically aimed at international students.
Together with Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company, Ensemble Modern, the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Hessian Theatre Academy runs the rehearsal and performance centre Frankfurt LAB. LAB is a venue for projects conducted by internationally renowned ensembles dedicated to the creation of modern music, dance and theatre works, often in partnership with HTA and other recognised arts education institutions. Frankfurt LAB’s two large production and performance halls provide artists with an unusual amount of space and time in which to develop and try out new works and presentational forms on an experimental basis.
Since its foundation, HTA has been supporting festivals, summer academies and other events that facilitate interdisciplinary work among students on the degree programmes in the HTA network. The Festival der Jungen Talente has existed since 2000 and took place for the ninth time in 2018, when it was hosted for the second time by the Frankfurter Kunstverein art association at numerous venues in Offenbach am Main. The festival focuses on inter-university performance projects with an experimental focus. Since 2007, the HTA has been organising regular student showcases, e. g. at Frankfurt LAB or during Hessische Theatertage. Up to 2013, it was co-sponsor of the international summer academies at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm as well as the summer laboratory programme organised by tanzlabor21, which was founded in co-operation with HTA. It also supports students’ excursions to international campus programmes, e. g. since 2016 to Wiesbaden Biennale campus at Wiesbaden State Theatre, and since 2012 to the international festival campus of the Ruhrtriennale Festival of the Arts.
In order to facilitate a close relationship between studies and professional practice as early as possible, Hessian Theatre Academy supports periods of practical training arranged by the Directing in Theatre and Acting programmes in partnership with HTA partner theatres. In this context, fourth-year Theatre Directing students are given the opportunity to complete an assistant directorship at an HTA theatre and thus gain insights into the reality of working at a professional institution. The period of practical training for drama students is a project run by the Acting programme at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts and the theatres affiliated to the HTA. The aim is to give fourth-year students the opportunity to gather acting experience in a permanent ensemble and a professional theatre.
Hessian Theatre Academy specifically promotes teaching projects that facilitate cross-disciplinary networking between its programmes and partner theatres. Current initiatives include the next generation workspace at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and Theaterhaus Frankfurt, and Das Stück zur Zeit at Marburg Theatre, in co-operation with the scenography at the Offenbach University of Art and Design (HfG Offenbach). The next generation workspace is a research and project residency in the field of theatre, dance and performance for young audiences, and involves HTA students as well as young regional and international artists specialising in performance art. Together, participants develop and realise project outlines that focus on contemporary experimental theatre for children and young people. Under the heading Das Stück zur Zeit, scenographic students from HfG Offenbach, supported by Hessian Theatre Marburg team, are looking at the question of how current theatre can actually be – particularly in the municipal theatre business with its long lead times. What does ‘current’ mean in this context, both aesthetically and also for actual practice? How can a theatre, particularly a provincial theatre, act or rather react, or better still infuse artistic processes into our present times in a visionary way? And what relevance can theatre then have for society?
Together with the Frankfurt LAB, the HTA has been awarding funding of up to EUR 6,000 for artistic research projects by former students every year since 2014. In line with the consideration that the potential for artistic research lies mainly in the mutual and respective disassociation of art and science, project ideas characterised by institutional critique and those that have been unable to find funding via the usual promotional structures, are explicitly welcomed. Projects examining artistic formats for audiences of young growing people or projects with site-specific approaches are also welcome. The funding is intended to create free space, particularly for artistic projects that cannot be realised within the conventional production frameworks at theatrical institutions (e. g. precisely because of their research requirements). The programme also aims to strengthen the HTA’s alumni network.
The HTA also supports autonomous creative and course projects conducted by students from at least two HTA programmes, or which take place at an HTA partner theatre. Applications up to EUR 2,500 can be submitted at any time. Applications up to EUR 1,000 are decided by the president of the HTA; applications up to EUR 2,500 are decided by an internal jury. Higher application sums are decided by the HTA board twice a year (deadlines: middle of January and middle of September). An application consists of a project description (max. 3 pages), a list of the project participants and information about their study programmes, and a detailed cost and finance plan. Fees are not paid to current HTA students. Applications should be sent in a PDF format to speckmann_at_hessische-theaterakademie.de.