HISTORY

AND TODAY


I. History

The field of theatre studies at Masaryk University had been developing from 1945 thanks to Frank Wolman and his students). The discipline gained its institutional base in 1963 (Department of Slavic Literatures, Theatre and Film Studies; Artur Závodský). The autonomy of theater studies, however, came only at the beginning of the 1990´s when under the leadership of Bořivoj Srba, a leading Czech theatre scholar, the Institute of Theatre and Film Studies was established. Today´s Department of Theatre Studies is its successor. The department was from its beginnings conceived as a research department focusing on topics of theatre and film studies; mainly on theatre and film history and theory. After B. Srba´s leaving in 2002, the Institute was split into two independent research and educational departments. The Institute for Theatre Studies and Interactive Media was established under the supervision of Július Gajdoš. In April 2006 there was a change in the management of the department. This change later led to the change in the name and to the provisional fusion with Seminar of Aesthetics. In 2011 the Department of Theatre Studies was established. In its first two years, it was led by Pavel Drábek, and since 2013 by Margita Havlíčková.
 

II. Basic Conception of Studies

Students of Theatre Studies are required to not only have a profound interest in theatre arts but also talent for creative research and academic work in the field of theatre studies or related disciplines. Students develop the ability of theoretical reflection of contemporary and historical forms of theatre on a professional level, as well as the ability to expand aesthetic thought and theory of theatre.

Bachelor program
The Bachelor program in Theory and History of Theater is offered in two study modes: full-time and combined. The combined form is appropriate for students who need to study being employed, or study other related programs. Limited number of “contact” hours, emphasis on controlled self-study and active consultations with pedagogues puts greater demands on student’s independent work.

Bachelor program in Theory and History of Theatre focuses on the theoretical and historiographical knowledge of culture, above all, theatre (however, the knowledge of history, literature, music, philosophy, media etc. is indispensable) Classes are divided into several areas – besides basic categories of the history of Czech theatre, the history of world theater and theory of theatre and drama, there are also courses in archival work, theatre organization, seminars in writing theatre reviews and creative writing, realized by the so-called profile seminars, closely interrelated to the research of pedagogues.

After the first year, students are required to pass a commisional exam. The exam serves as a prerequisite for student enrollment in classes for the following years. The exam is based on knowledge and capacities acquired in mandatory courses of the 1st year. The single-subject study is concluded with a defense of Bachelor diploma work and a state comprehensive Bachelor exam. With their diploma work, the students, under the supervision of thier advisors, prove their ability of independent critical work with theatre artifacts, sources, and specialized literature of the field. Double-subject students choose which of their subjects is the diploma subject, for which they write their diploma thesis; for their secondary (minor) subject, they write their secondary (minor) thesis.

Master program
The Bachelor program is followed by the Master program in Theory and History of Theatre. Students are prepared for independent specialized work. The single-subject study is concluded with a defense of Master diploma work and a state comprehensive Master exam. With their Master diploma work, students under supervision of their advisor prove their ability of independent scholarly work. Double-subject students choose which of their subjects is the diploma subject, for which they write their diploma thesis; for their secondary (minor) subject, they write their secondary (minor) thesis.

Doctoral program
The Doctoral program is realized in the Department of Theatre Studies and in the Institute of Film and Audiovisual Culture. It is focused on theory and history of theatre and drama and theory and history of film and audiovisual culture. Graduates of PhD program in Theory and History of Theater, Film and Audiovisual Culture obtains a highly qualified range of knowledge in the field; a profound mastery in the subject of their specialization. The objective of the study is to develop critical thinking and a systematic approach applicable in specialized educational and research work in academic institutions, universities and other institutions of culture and media.

 

III. Profile of the Graduate

Graduates of the three-year bachelor program are prepared for organizational work in theaters, or other related institutions (theatre institutes, archives, departments of culture, Ministry of Culture etc.). They are familiar with both Czech and international theatre and theatre theory, they can process theatre-related data in a written form. Students of the two-year Master program are led to independent research activities and dispose of advanced training in the disciplines of theatre studies, from work with archival documents, knowledge of historiography and ability of its interpretation, and writing reviews to dramaturgical collaboration when developing a production. Graduates find employment in research institutions, archives, theatres, as well as in press, televisions and radios.
 

IV. Activities

In the years 1998-2008 the Department of Theatre Studies regularly published the theatrological series Anthology of Works by Faculty of Arts MU (series Q) where both professors and postgraduate students published their papers. In 2009 the anthology was transformed into peer reviewed monothematic journal of theatre studies called Theatralia (sub-headed Yorick), published twice a year. The journal is predominantly published in Czech or Slovak languages, but some of the issues are published in English.

The Department of Theatre Studies plentifully collaborates with foremost specialists in the area of theatre studies including theatre practitioners. Students fortify their understanding of various spheres of theatre history, theory and practice through lectures and seminars of adjunct professors.

Host lectures and seminars of outstanding local and international specialists is are a regular part of the study program. Since the beginnings of the 1990’s the department has hosted, sometimes repeatedly, for instance: Martin Esslin (London), Platon Mavromoustakos (Athens), Henri Schoenmakers (Utrecht), Ivan Vyskočil (Prague), Otomar Krejča (Prague), Pavel Kohout (Prague), Ludvík Kundera (Brno), Josef Topol (Prague), Patrice Pavis (Paris), Yana Meerzon (Ottawa), Veronika Ambros (Toronto), Herta Schmid (Potsdam), Dimitri Trubochkin (Moscau), Manfred Pfister (Berlin), Christian M. Billing (Hull), Bärbel Rudin, Christian Neuhuber aj.

The Department of Theatre Studies also regularly, mostly once in a month, hosts events of the Brno division of Theatrological Society, involving popularizing lectures for public, seminars, meetings and presentations. 
 

V. Research

Research areas of the Department of Theatre Studies include areas such as:

  1. Ancient drama and theatre, medieval theatre, staging of ancient drama on Czech stages etc. – Eva Stehlíková, Eliška Poláčková and others.

  2. German-speaking theatre and traveling theatre companies in Bohemia and Moravia, pre-20th century Czech theater – Margita Havlíčková.

  3. Czech translations of W. Shakespeare and staging of Elizabethan drama in Czech lands, early modern theatre, music theatre – Pavel Drábek.

  4. Czech drama and theatre after 1945, theatre reviews and criticism – Libor Vodička.

  5. Typology of acting, ontology of theatricality – Martina Musilová.

  6. Theatre audience and reception, theatre theory, structuralism etc. – David Drozd.

  7. Asian theatre forms, visual component of theatre etc - Šárka Havlíčková Kysová.

  8. History of Czech scenography, tendencies in modern and postmodern scenography worldwide – Barbora Příhodová. 
     

VI. Projects

 The academic and research profile of Department of Theatre studies offers specific areas:

  1. Systematic study of theatre forms in Moravia (above all “Brunensia”);

  2. European drama and theatre of Early Modernity, European contexts of theatre and drama from the end of the Middle Ages;

  3. Czech theater and Aesthetic Structuralism;

  4. Theatre reception: researching the audience of Brno theaters, in collaboration with foremost theatre companies in Brno;

  5. Theatricality of feasts and folk celebrations, municipal celebrations etc.

  6. Czech drama and theatre in the period of state socialism, organization of theatre operation and cultural politics of state in the 20th century
          

As a part of the project Contexts of Czech Structuralism, a Czech-English reader of Czech thought on theatre is being prepared. An extensive and prestigious anthology, it is supposed to pay off one of the great debts of Czech theatre studies, making key and internationally recognized studies of Czech Structuralism accessible to the international readership.