In 1995, Dr Jurij Alschitz founded AKT-ZENT International Theatre Centre in Berlin together with programme director Christine Schmalor and other engaged artists to establish a framework for continuous learning, experiment, and research. In those years he also set up centres in Italy and Sweden, which have joined together to form the European Association for Theatre Culture.
In acknowledgment of AKT-ZENT’s successful work, it became the Research Centre of the ITI – Theatre Education & Training Committee. In 2011, AKT-ZENT was appointed research centre of the International Theatre Institute to conduct the ITI project The World Theatre Training Library.
To match this new profile, the name was changed to World Theatre Training Institute AKT-ZENT/ITI in 2017.
From the very beginning, Dr Jurij Alschitz has established long-term projects for postgraduate training connecting the partner centres. The different thematic lines of research with their training programmes were thoughtfully built one upon the other and were realised with partners from all over Europe, later expanding worldwide – repeatedly supported by the European Commission.
The main Projects
School after Theatre (1995 – 2009)
The three partner organisations AKT-ZENT, PROTEI, SCUT offered the first long-term (3 year) post-education for actors and directors in cooperation with the ⇒Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS). The programme consisted of six intensive work modules with complementary European Laboratories. Here, artists from all centres met to explore the world of Plato, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare etc.; they were invited to festivals such as ⇒Theatre Olympics Moscow and other occasions.
The postgraduate programme “School after Theatre” was conducted more than 10 times in different countries with a growing number of partners, each running over a period of 3 years.
It gave birth to a whole generation of trained actors and directors, who pass on the “School of Jurij Alschitz” worldwide.
METHODIKA International Festival for Theatre Training Methods (since 1999)
In 1999, Jurij Alschitz created the first METHODIKA as a unique festival to discuss, develop and promote new training methods for the educational process as well as for regular work in the theatre. This first edition immediately attracted 80 theatre professionals from all over Europe. Masters from Russia, Germany, Sweden, and Italy looked at the theme “Personality and Ensemble” from very different angles.
Since then METHODIKA International Festival for Theatre Training Method is conducted every two years in different places all over Europe.
The Face of 20th Century Woman – the Vertical of the Role (2000-2001)
“The Face of 20th Century Woman” pioneered a new technique of self-preparation designed specifically for actors. This approach – ‘The Vertical of the Role’ was tested out by a selected group of actresses from across Europe during their work on monologues by early 20th Century dramatists. The method focusses on the initial deconstruction of the text in order to allow more nuanced perspectives to emerge. Results of the actresses’ work on Ibsen, Strindberg, Wedekind, Pirandello and Lorca were presented in Italy and helped to form the subsequently published handbook for actors by Jurij Alschitz: “The Vertical of the Role”.
From Cliché in Art to the Art of Cliché (2005-2006)
“From Cliché in Art to the Art of Cliché” focused on exploring the challenges posed to actors by clichés and the search for a new territory which encourages true creation and freedom. Actors, directors and pedagogues were invited to analyse the semantic construction of the cliché, as well as investigating alternative methods for its use in contemporary theatre. Research was conducted in seminars and laboratories with international artists from across Europe, but open evenings and discussions with the public also featured as part of a comprehensive re-envisioning of this theatrical convention.
The Art of Dialogue (2008-2010)
“The Art of Dialogue” explored the methodological practice of ‘dialogue’ using a variety of work formats. The practical research remained at the heart of the project and “The Art of Dialogue” was successful in bringing together over a hundred artists for laboratories, seminars and international performances. The results of this research were later used to compile the comprehensive methodological work regarding on stage dialogue – “The Art of Dialogue” by Jurij Alschitz.
The New Face of the Acting Teacher (2012-2014)
The aim of “The New Face of the Acting Teacher”’ was to build on the foundations of continuous research and intercultural creation to develop new teaching concepts and to define the role of teachers in theatre education, thus strengthening their position. A programme for teaching theatre is of particular importance in the view of a so-called ‘second career’ for actors.
The programme was jointly put in place with the Centro Universitario de Teatro of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and several other European partners with students from Mexico, Latin America and Europe. The study modules in Mexico were complemented by other activities in Europe in the form of intercultural training programmes.
The closing presentation in Paris served as starting point for the development of our Master Degree Programme Teaching Professional Theatre Practice.
PAiR Performing Artists in Residence (2012-2014)
Artist residencies are recent models of artistic and cultural enterprises that develop their identity around a particular place, combining both the characteristics of a working place for artists and cultural education centres for local communities. The project researched how different residence centres are organised, how it is possible to provide artistic education and how the production process is supported.
The PAiR Project was developed by a long-standing partner, the International Research Location Schloss Bröllin together with Christine Schmalor. Numerous models were compared and new strategies were developed from this European learning partnership. The PAiR project intends to promote the European dimension in the performing arts, since more and more artists need places and space to create multinational productions. To this day, residence programmes for the Performing Arts are underrepresented for various reasons.