German university with a department of puppetry. The first training institute for puppetry arts in Germany, the Abteilung Puppenspielkunst was created in 1971-1972 as a department of the State School of Dramatic Art (Staatlichen Schauspielschule, with the rank of a college) in East Berlin (GDR). In 1981, the School was renamed Hochschule für Schauspielkunst “Ernst-Busch” (Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art) with university status. In 1992, the Academy included departments of puppetry, acting for the theatre, directing, dramaturgy, dance/choreography. The coexistence of these departments allowed an interdisciplinary collaboration that was beneficial to students. Puppetry arts are considered a specific branch of the performing arts that synthesizes the fields of drama, visual arts, music, and movement.
The eight-semester programme at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst “Ernst Busch” is divided into two sections of four semesters each: the first (1st-4th semester) provides basic training (Grundstudium); followed by four semesters of specialization (Hauptstudium). Basic training teaches technical skills and provides the artistic foundation needed for performing different types of puppetry. It is characterized by continuity and a progression of individual courses and group seminars. The second section of the programme is organized around projects and is characterized by a more complex approach to the work of staging and production. Students graduate with a diploma as puppeteer/performer. The Department of Puppetry Arts maintains relations with theatres, artists, and national and international festivals, which provide students many opportunities to enrich their experiences during their training. The dynamism of these exchanges, which reflects contemporary developments in art and society, influences the content of the training.
Note: The author, a teacher at the school, died in late July 2005.