Department of Performing Arts

Applications deadline for bachelor programmes in Theater and Performance Making and the Contemporary Dance programme  was March 15, 2013.

There will be no admissions in the Department of Performing Arts in the academic year of 2014-2015.

Application form for the Department of Performing Arts

Iceland Academy of the Arts - Department of Performing Arts, seeks talented and creative individuals with a solid basic education, practical skills, and a fundamental knowledge of theater and dance.

About the Department of Performing Arts
The IAA Department of Performing Arts now offers three degree programmes:

Contemporary Dance: 180-ECTS, BA degree
Length of programme: 3 years

Theater and Performance Making:  180-ECTS, BA degree
Length of programme: 3 years

Acting: 180 - ECTS, BA degree
Length of programme: 3 years

Emphasis is placed on classical actor training as well as on new ideas and methods in acting and other stage performances. The actor training programme aims to develop its students’ independent working methods and therefore places great emphasis on a solid theoretical and methodological groundwork. At the department the following technical subjects are taught: Acting, Voice Technique, movement for the actor, and Singing. Furthermore there are the following theoretical courses: Theatre history, Diverse Approaches to acting, From work to Performance, and Contemporary Theatre.

The programme is divided into two sections. During the first two years the emphasis is on the fundamental training of the actor, using as main source material the latter day theories of Stanislavski. Parallel to this, the students develop and further their skills in all the technical subjects and attend courses in theatre history.

In the final year, students embark on projects that test their creative and theoretical working skills. By the end of the year students should be able to creatively adapt their artistic and theoretical working practices to various approaches when executing projects
The following practical courses are taught: Devised Theatre, Individual Projects and Scene work. The students end their studies with a production lead by professional a team of artists. Additionally, students write a thesis under the guidance of a personal tutor.

Application process
A special audition panel is appointed to select students from the group of applicants for the acting programme. The panel’s decision is based on auditions and interviews. The process is as follows:

  • Evaluation of the applications with respect to formal requirements
  • Audition, round one (applicants divided into groups, half day each group)
  • Audition, round two, selected groups (half day each group)
  • Audition, round three, selected group (three days)

All applicants are asked to prepare three audition pieces of their own choosing, which may not last more than six minutes in total. At least one piece should be in verse (from a play, NOT poetry). One or two pieces should be either monologues, or a routine or performance that applicants consider to be a reflection of themselves and their interests. This may be in a form that the applicant considers appropriate. During the preparation process, applicants are advised to consider aspects that the audition panel takes into account in its assessment. Emphasis should be placed on having the audition pieces as diverse as possible.

Applicants are required to hand in a copy of the monologues to the audition panel as they arrive for the audition. In addition, the applicants participate in physical training and acting exercises. Applicants are advised to wear suitable clothing to the auditions.

For further information contact: Steinunn Knútsdóttir, Dean.

Contemporary Dance
The aim of the contemporary dance programme is to graduate well-trained, creative and inquisitive dancers who take a critical and exploratory approach to their projects and are prepared to embark on a career in the complex, diverse and ever-changing world of contemporary dance. Students graduate with a BA degree.

The first year provides an overview of the theories, premises, concepts and methods that are the prerequisite for further study. Emphasis is placed on introducing the students to a broad conception of movement and the possibilities inherent in physical practices. In the autumn semester the stage is set for the coming years with a vast technique base and somatic trainings. Moreover, an effort is made to link physical and intellectual understanding in the realm of technical training with artistic concepts and improvisation. A targeted approach is taken in expanding the realm of aesthetic ideas, encouraging students to form independent opinions and dismantling preconceived notions about dance/dancers and their role in the artistic community. In the spring semester the focus is on expanding the information given during the first semester. Emphasis is put on broadening the dancer’s scope for stage presence, performance expression and performative styles. In addition, the relationship between music and dance is explored through diverse physical, dance technical and artistic approaches.

The second year expands on the first year. It continues with the strengthening, deepening and stretching the students’ physical potential in an artistic context, with increased emphasis on the student’s own creativity. In the autumn semester the emphasis is on investigating the connection between theatre and contemporary dance, while in the spring semester the emphasis is on choreography and new media. The students receive training in utilizing the main analyzing tools in the field of theatre and to employ this understanding to their artistic practice.

The third year is a year of independence and execution. Students undertake projects that test their artistic skills, competence and understanding of creative and theoretical practices and perspective. In the autumn semester students select an apprenticeship or exchange programme that supports their development within their particular area of interest. In the spring semester students are granted added autonomy and responsibility in the artistic process through their own independent project where emphasis is placed on them demonstrating a critical vision with relation to their own working practices and methods. Students also receive insight into the working environment of the dancer through performing in a student theatre company, working with professionals in the field, creating a full-fledged production, being responsible for the artistic process and handling public criticism, as well as examining other aspects concerning the operations of a professional dance company.

Application process
Students are required to have completed University Entrance Examination (Icelandic “stúdentspróf”) or an equivalent programme. In addition they must have completed a preliminary dance study or a preparatory dance course. An audition panel selects the candidates from a group of applicants who are evaluated on the basis of formal requirements, as well as an audition consisting of practical exercises, an interview and an evaluation of applicants’ portfolios. Up to eight applicants are admitted to the programme at the end of the selection process.

Applicants for the dance programme are asked to compile samples of their work into a portfolio that they send in with the application. The portfolio must include a minimum of five samples and a maximum of ten, intended to reflect applicants’ personalities, their interests, talent for original creation and presentation of ideas. Anything can belong in the portfolio; as long as applicants believe it may in some way describe what they want to achieve in their work in a particular area.

For further information contact: Sveinbjörg Þórhallsdóttir, Assistant professor and Programme Director.

Theatre and Performance Making
Theatre and Performance Making is, as the name implies, both theoretical and practical, and in its concept emphasis is laid on theatre in the broadest sense of the word. The course is designed as a venue for both theoretical and artistic research of theatre and performance. The course concerns itself with the history, nature, purpose and boundaries of performance, its discourses and its areas of interaction with other art forms. Theatre and Performance Making prepares students for work or future studies within the field of theatre and performance by increasing their professional knowledge and by encouraging their creative abilities. The course is intended to support the student’s critical view of the art form, his/her own work and its interaction with society. In that sense, one could say the course bears a strong relation to Performance Studies in the US or to what has sometimes been called Contemporary Theatre Practice in the UK. The programme is not intended for individuals who want to train to be actors.

In the first year, emphasis is placed on building a theoretical basis. The fall semester presents the students with an introduction to the field of study, its main methods and theories. Fundamental questions are raised about form, traditions and methods. Furthermore, students are introduced to theories on theatre and the art of the actor/performer, and on other forms of performances on- and offstage. In the spring semester, the focus will be on the main theoretical and ideological debates of the twentieth century and the present, and further on specific elements of the art form such as body, text etc. The interaction of these elements is researched and analyzed through both historical/theoretical explorations and workshops. In the second year there is increasing emphasis on creative work on basis of the theories and methods taught in the first year. The third year begins with a semester of study abroad, while the last semester is mainly focused on the student’s final project and BA-thesis. Furthermore, the students have the opportunity of taking more advanced workshops to work on their field of interest in more depth.

Students graduate with a BA degree. The programme gives no professional accreditation; students do not graduate as directors or dramaturges for example; however the programme gives them a good basis for further studies within such disciplines, as well as a good preparation for working with theatre and performance in various fields of culture. The experience of academies outside of Iceland who offer similar programmes has shown that opportunities are created for students to work in theatre, media or publishing, for example as directors, writers, dramaturges, producers, media programme directors, cultural or event producers, teachers, critics, journalists, researchers, etc.

Application process
Students are required to have completed University Entrance Examination (Icelandic “stúdentspróf”) or an equivalent programme. Those who have not completed the UEE must define the programme of study they consider equivalent. Studies in artistic fields other than theatre will be considered in the evaluation of applications. A special audition panel selects students from the group of applicants, who are invited for interviews and auditions. Up to ten individuals will then be accepted into the programme.

The application
Applicants for Theory and Practice are asked to collect samples of their work in a portfolio that they send in with the application form. The portfolio should contain five samples of the applicants’ work, intended to reflect his/hers personality, interests, talent for original creation and presentation of ideas. The content of the portfolio may have a very broad range, as long as the applicant believes it may in some way represent his/hers artistic personality, such as essays, poems, stories, short films, photos, theatre or film scripts, music, artworks etc.

For further information contact: Una Þorleifsdóttir, Assistant Professor and Programme Director.

Language of Instruction
Please, notice that the instruction on the Bachelor level at the Iceland Academy of the Arts takes place in ICELANDIC, with the exception of classes taught by foreign guest teachers.

Further information: Department of Performing Arts