Accademia Teatro Dimitri, a theatre university specialized in physical theatre, is about to open a new two years long master study program in the field of Material, object and puppet theatre in the upcoming academic year.

Accademia therefore calls for applicants.

Deadline for applying is 31st August 2020 postponed to 2nd October 2020.

Accademia Dimitri

Master of Arts in Theatre
Teatro di Figura: Material, Object and Puppet Theatre


Description of the programme:

The programme focuses on teaching of a theatre forms that use puppets, objects and material as its basic means of expression.



Accademia Dimitri pedagogy focuses on studying and practicing the human body’s range of expression in both BA and MA programmes. Such forms of theatre that direct their attention to the physical are part of a long tradition that developed by passing on knowledge from “body to body” as opposed to text-based literary theatre.


During its historical development it has had many forms and designations. Today we call it Physical theatre, in history it has also been called movement theatre, non-verbal theatre, dance theatre, pantomime, mime corporel, commedia dell’arte, and so on. Regardless of labels and names, such a theatre always starts from physical reality, and considers the human body and its movement in space and time as the central means of expression.


Teatro di Figura (theatre of animation) that works with puppet, material and matter is its twin, the complementary part of one-and the-same reality. The body, be it a human’s or a puppet’s, is subject to the natural laws of physics.


Adding this new specialization to the existing specialization Physical theatre brings a new perspective to the pedagogy at ATD and enlarges the existing discourse about the human body, its meaning and value in temporary society.


Structure of the course

Throughout the education programme the two specializations Physical theatre and Teatro di Figura collaborate in courses such as acting, movement and composition. In specific courses the specialization Teatro di Figura focuses on the practical and creative aspects of theatre of animation, as well as the historical and theoretical context of this specific theatre field.


The study programme is divided into three clusters of modules:


First Cluster

Campus – modules taken within the Master Campus CH

Seminars in practical and theoretical aspects of theatre, performance analysis, artistic research, project management

Individual research – AD and outside AD

related to the student’s specialization and their projects


Second Cluster

Acting and staging – modules taken within the AD

Practical courses focusing on physical training, acting and animation

Methods of composing (devising) a theatrical performance

Workshops for movement research, or building objects and puppets

Third Cluster

Production and theoretical reflection – AD

Staging a collective group work under a director

Physical theatre: Staging a Master production from authorship to performance

Teatro di Figura: Master production in two-to four-member groups based on a common interest and research For the Master production a theoretical reflection has to be presented in form of an essay, a lecture performance or some other form of presentation


While the first two semesters mainly concentrate on the first and second clusters, intended to offer students acquaintance, discovery, experimentation, and development of gained knowledge, the third and fourth semester mainly focus on the third cluster.


A detailed description of the workshops and courses envisaged for the 1st and 2nd semester will be published prior to the beginning of the academic year. The courses vary and the curriculum encourages the students to be adventurous as performers and creators.


Skills and objectives



The courses are designed to develop differentiated physical and mental abilities in play. The training focuses equally on physical training, acting and animation. All as equivalent means of expression. Daily exercises prepare the body for its use as an articulated instrument. Basics of puppet technology, building scenic objects and transforming material take place in the workshop.


Finding and defining a theme

The courses are oriented towards practical research and critical observation. In group work, students are asked to communicate their own ideas, and learn to provide constructive feedback to others. Subject matters are explored through mutual analysis and by way of improvisation in order to find the appropriate theatrical means to convey them on stage.


Dramaturgy / Creating a structure 

The classes on dramaturgy are concerned with content and meaning, and consider ways of moving from description to narration. Dramaturgy is taught as a tool for creation, and as a set of guidelines for the student to observe and reflect critically on her/his own work or on that of others.


Stage composition 

The courses in this section offer methods and techniques that help students to transfer their visions onto the stage. We develop and try out different modes of composition, and consider the importance of a specific “aesthetic” and the principle of structure.


Analysis and reflection

The sense of artistic exploration and the willingness to share insights and criticisms in confronting the creative visions of one’s fellow students is paramount to the programme. By viewing performances critically and actively engaging in analysis and theoretical debates, the students evolve their own methods to monitor the creative process in the theatre from the initial idea to a state in which the piece may be presented to an audience.


The methodology

Courses are mainly taught as workshops in a spirit of exploration and experimentation. These artistic laboratories provide the necessary freedom and the professional coaching for students to develop their individual methods of theatrical creation. A small staff of teachers specialized in directing, choreography, theatre animation and theatre practices supervise the students and their projects during their artistic formation. The core staff are complemented by guest teachers, all experts in their fields with long-standing experience in performing and teaching. Special attention is paid to the importance of the peer group comprising about 5 to 6 fellow students in every specialisation. The peer group may act as audience, critics, artistic team or consultants, offering many opportunities to formulate, discuss and reflect on theatrical issues and to engage in a mutual quest for creative solutions.


Candidate profile:

Candidates interested in the MA programme should dispose of a Bachelor degree in theatre, physical theatre, dance, circus arts, theatre animation or an equivalent diploma. Candidates without an academic degree can be admitted on the basis of their exceptional artistic talent.


The candidates need to show

  • a strong interest in working within one of the two specializations Physical Theatre or Teatro di Figura: material, object and puppet theatre
  • formulate an area or a range of topics and questions for their studies, preferably in the form of a creative project that will become their graduate work


Career prospects

The concept and structure of the Master programme is based on years of experience and knowledge of the two disciplines “Physical theatre and Teatro di figura” and their current form (in the professional scene, in theatre institutions and partner universities). Teachers of the programme are practitioners (directors, creators, and artists working at AD and active in the current European and world theatre scene). During their studies students can visit other institutions and theatre groups in which they will meet with the practise of the theatre work.


The day-to-day contact with students and teachers and the joint work on selected projects will introduce the students to a variety of opportunities after their studies.


Official Partners: theatre universities, schools, companies and institutions

E:UTSA – Europe: Union of theatre schools and Academies

Master Campus Theater CH

Società Svizzera di Studi Teatrali

Society for Artistic Research

Continuo Theatre, Czech Republic