Theatre

The Bachelor of Theatre/Acting at the HKB teaches the craft of acting with a view on the ever-changing landscape of theatre, film and the arts.

This degree programme

  • continues the tradition of the Berne School of Acting, which since its foundation has always been renowned as an innovative training centre for future actors and actresses,

  • teaches you the craft of acting with a view of the ever-changing theatrical landscape.

  • prepares you to position yourself within a dynamic professional environment, both within a theatre company and in film and television,

  • equips you to develop and implement your own artistic ideas and projects,

  • includes an practical semester, during which you have the opportunity to join the company of one of our partner theatres and work with them for six months.

Factsheet

  • Title/Degree Bachelor of Arts in Theatre/Acting
  • Specialisations
  • Mode of study Full-time (6 semesters)
  • Start date Spring semester 2023: February 2023
  • Application deadline Spring semester 2023: Mo, 17.10.2022
  • ECTS credits 180 ECTS credits
  • Teaching language German
  • Location Berne (+ a theatre internship in the final Semester)
  • School Bern Academy of the Arts

Structure + Content

At the centre of this program lies practical acting work, the development of personal artistic expression, and the development and implementation of one’s own artistic ideas.

Portrait

The Bachelor's degree in Theatre / Acting at the Bern University of the Arts is a broad, practice-oriented course, which trains you to become an actor in theatre or in theatre-related formats. In addition to our teaching modules such as performance, body and voice, we also promote the theoretical examination of theatre and offer you plenty of room for individual project work. You can already engage in our own theatre, dance or performance projects, even during your studies. 

Curriculum + Modules

The program is divided into the following module groups:

As part of the performance module, basic acting skills are taught. The focus is on developing an awareness of one’s own unmistakable, creative potential and training in the craft of acting. This includes subjects such as Foundationseminars, Scene studies and improvisation.

In the subjects of dance, acrobatics, aikido and movement, students are made aware of the reciprocity of perception and physical expression. The aim is to expand and differentiate the possibilities of physical expression as well as an individualisation that takes into account the specific potential of each personality. In addition, a conscious handling of body impulses and body memory is trained as a starting point for improvisation and creation.

The focus of the Voice modules is to train one’s individual speaking and singing voice as a means of expression. Students learn to master these for acting and performance, to apply them, to develop them independently and to adapt them to the aesthetic requirements of theatrical work.

As part of the theory modules, methods and knowledge are taught and applied that enable students to reflect upon and communicate about theatre both in a historical context and in relation to the current theatrical landscape (including theatre history, performance analysis, cultural-historical lecture). The interaction of theory and practice plays a central role here. The examination of artistic work that is also far removed from the theatre enables the contextualization of individual, artistic engagement. In addition, methods or artistic research and project development are taught.

This module group includes project work and electives. Thus, the focus is on learning from the project and the practical deepening of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary artistic methods: creative techniques as well as the development and implementation of projects on an artistic and organizational level. Electives include a wide variety of courses, e.g. from the fields of film acting and performance or the cross-disciplinary offerings of the Y Institute of the HKB.

The Bachelor thesis, consisting of a scene performance, a project assignment and the associated written reflection, will allow students in their final year of the bachelor’s degree to demonstrate the skills they have acquired. Another part of the degree is the practical semester working as part of an ensemble in one of our partner theatres.

Aims + Competencies

At the end of your studies, you will have the following competencies:

  • Collectively use the body, voice, intellect, and artistic intuition as an ‘acting instrument’.
  • Reach and move the audience.
  • Adapt one’s own means of expression to different formats and styles of performance.
  • Work methodically on performance tasks.
  • Deal with the specific performance requirements of different media.
  • Master the sign systems of the theatre. 
  • Helping to shape artistic processes.
  • Develop, plan, implement and reflect upon one’s own projects.
  • Participate adequately in interdisciplinary projects. 
  • Possess and apply basic knowledge of theatre and cultural history, aesthetics, theory and history of the arts.
  • Apply research methods and make theoretical and historical knowledge artistically useful.
  • Reflectively design one’s own artistic practice.
  • Formulate one’s own artistic ideas both orally and in writing. 
  • Deal with critique about one’s own work and the work of others, and formulate and justify one’s own critical judgements appropriately.
  • Being able to take responsibility within a team
  • Recognise conflicts and contradictions, endure them and make them serve the work process.
  • Being able to work well, even when under pressure.
  • Be able to realistically assess one’s own resources. 
  • Employ appropriate learning strategies.
  • Understand, apply and individually develop methods of creation.
  • Develop individual training programs and thus continuously expand one’s own performance and artistic skills even after the BA training.

Partners + Exchanges

The HKB has partnerships with universities within Switzerland and abroad. In addition, the department of theatre is networked with the universities for theatre in the German-speaking world through the «Ständige Konferenz Schauspielschulen». As part of the practical semesters, the HKB cooperates with the Theater Basel, KonzertTheaterBern and the Theater St. Gallen.

HKB students have the opportunity to complete part of their studies or an internship abroad. Interested persons from abroad can also apply to study at HKB or spend part of their studies here.

Degree + Prospects

The bachelor’s degree in theatre/acting is an initial artistic qualification and part of a two-stage theatre education program at the HKB. It enables you to start your career or switch to a subsequent master’s degree

Degree

Bachelor of Arts in «Theatre»

Career Prospects

With the bachelor’s degree, you will acquire basic skills for working in German-language professional theatre, film or television.

  • Examples of areas of activity:
  • Actor/Actress in spoken theatre, film or television
  • Collaboration in professional, independent theatre productions
  • Independent projects in the field of performance or in other theatre-related disciplines
  • Radio announcer, voice-over artist, audio book narrator
  • Related fields of activity in areas such as theatre pedagogy or coaching

Much depends on your own clear individual focus. To consolidate this, we recommend that you complete a subsequent master’s degree. The master’s degree qualifies you for professional theatre work in a chosen specialisation according to international standards. There are many career opportunities for theatre professionals, but competition on the job market is fierce. In addition to permanent engagements in theatres, work as a freelance artist is becoming increasingly important. Flexibility and a constant willingness to learn are basic requirements for successful artistic work.

Team

Head of Studies

Office

Lecturers

Acting

Tomas Flachs Nóbrega
Johannes Mager
Stefan Saborowski
Frank Schubert
Manuela Trapp

Film

Markus Baumann and rotating guest lecturers:
Dani Levy
Markus Fischer
Ruth Hirschfeld

Dance

Kirsteen Haardt
Regine Schaub

Aikido

Renata Jocic

Movement/Feldenkrais

Katharina Maria Wille

Acrobatics

Davide Romeo (Gast)

Speech

Julia Kiesler
Marianne Oertel
Jürgen Wollweber

Singing

Barbara Borgir
Alexandra Schmid

Improvisation/Project development

Stephan Lichtensteiger

Performance

Nils Amadeus Lange
Nils Torpus

Theory

Sibylle Heim
Maren Rieger
Martin Wigger
Arne Scheuermann

Project coaching

Lukas Bangerter

External lecturers and experts are regularly consulted both in teaching and during examinations.

Prerequisites + Admission

The bachelor’s degree in theatre requires a strong talent for acting, a high degree of independence, potential for physical, vocal, linguistic and performance expression, as well as psychological and physical resilience.

Entry requirement

The number of places available in our programme is limited (Numerus Clausus). An examination is used to determine an applicant’s suitability for the programme.

As a rule, admission to the entrance examination requires a high school diploma (Abitur) or an equivalent qualification (Berufsmaturität, Fachmaturität). This requirement may be waived in the case of exceptional artistic talent.

Previous work experience is not required.

  • Strong acting talent, as well as potential in performance, physical and vocal-linguistic expression.
  • Stage charisma and stage presence.
  • Original, creative drive for expression and creation, as well as imagination.
  • Ability to adopt a script and bring it to life on stage.
  • Artistic and social curiosity that goes beyond theatre-specific issues.

The stage language taught is German. The language of instruction in the Bachelor’s program is German, and at the Master’s level it is German and English.

Foreign nationals require valid travel documents recognised by the Swiss government – a visa is often required. In addition, international students must apply for a residency permit and be able to provide a financial guarantee immediately after accepting the course offer. Furthermore, students must purchase health insurance before their studies begin. Please research your specific entry requirements carefully.

Admission procedure

The admission process for the Bachelor’s degree consists of two stages. Due to the Corona pandemic, parts of the admission process can also be completed by video upon request:

For the first round you can submit a video, or alternatively take the test ‘live’ and onsite in Bern, Berlin, Cologne or Munich.

If you have passed the test at the HKB or at another public university for theatre in the last 18 months, you no longer need to take the pre-test and can register directly for the aptitude test (2nd round).

The pre-test serves to demonstrate basic acting skills. Note: When choosing a role, the deciding factor should be your personal interest in the character. Read the entire play, in order to understand the role and character as best as possible.

Video audition

Please submit a video with the following content: 

  • A short personal introduction (name, roles, motivation), max. 3 mins.
  • A monologue from ancient or classical theatre literature, max. 3 mins.
  • A monologue from modern theatre literature from the beginning of the 20th century, or a self-devised scene/presentation, max. 3 mins.

In the video, the applicants must be seen alone and in full-body view. For the personal introduction, a view of the head or upper body is sufficient. The video does not have to be a perfect film -  a webcam or cell phone camera is sufficient.

The video can be uploaded to a platform of your choice. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the video can be played or the link can be viewed.   

The deadline for submitting the video link is the registration deadline (see form). You will be contacted via email and invited to the second round, if your video is successful.

On-site audition (Bern, Berlin, Cologne, Munich)

For the on-site audition, please prepare:

  • A short monologue from ancient or classical theatre literature
  • A short monologue from modern theatre literature from the beginning of the 20th century onwards
  • A freely chosen short monologue or a self-devised scene/presentation
  • A short song
  • A poem

The aptitude test determines the successful admission to the programme. This year, due to the pandemic, it takes place in a shortened form within one day. It consists of a practical examination and an individual interview. The aptitude test assesses competences in the areas of body/movement, speech/voice and presentation/acting. It also assesses your self-competence and your ability to think conceptually.

Practical part

The working basis here is:

  • A short monologue from ancient or classical theatre literature
  • A short monologue from modern theatre literature from the beginning of the 20th century onwards
  • A short monologue of your choice or a scene/presentation that you have devised yourself
  • A short song
  • A poem 

The audition panel may set you further preparatory tasks for the aptitude test.

Individual interview

The individual interview is based on the letter of motivation (see application) and the results of the practical examination. Important parameters in the interview are motivation, previous theatre experience (if any), professional profile and the applicant’s ability to reflect.  

Pre-course in Theatre

Would you like a first glimpse of professional theatre work before possibly entering this field of study? The department of theatre offers a six-day preliminary course for young people with a pronounced interest in theatre.

Practicalities + Application

Please note the dates and deadlines, plus the documentation and information required.

At HKB, different fees apply for programmes and examinations.

Application* and aptitude test CHF/EUR 50

Matriculation

CHF 100

Tuition fees (per semester) 

CHF 750

Tuition fees for overseas students** (per semester) 

CHF 950

Examination fee (per semester)

CHF 80

Fee for social, cultural and sport offerings (per semester)

CHF 24

Membership fee for the Bern University of Applied Sciences Student Association (VSBFH) (per semester)

CHF 15

Leave of absence fee (per semester) 

CHF 100

*The total fee for both parts of the examination (see above) is CHF/EUR 50, payable on the day of the pre-test before the examination. If the student passes the examination and accepts a place at the university, the matriculation fee of CHF 100 and the aptitude test fee of CHF 150 are due. If you have any questions, please contact the secretariat for your degree programme:
**Overseas students are defined as all persons with foreign nationality who, at the time of obtaining their university admission card, were not resident under civil law in Switzerland or in the Principality of Liechtenstein.
 
The matriculation fee must be paid within 10 days by credit card or, on request, by payment slip. In the latter case, a processing fee of CHF 10 will be charged. No waivers or refunds will be granted, for example for withdrawn or abandoned applications.

Auditing a course

CHF 150 per course and semester, covering one weekly lecture hour. Only passive participation in classroom instruction is possible (selected lectures and seminars, no individual instruction).

General information regarding scholarships

For questions about scholarships and loans, please contact the Secretariat Theatre.

At the University of Applied Sciences BFH, we promote balance between study, work and family.

A limited number of childcare spaces are available to students at the HKB. Should you wish to find out more about this, you will find the relevant documents on the HKB Intranet.

The fees are income-based and in accordance with the cantonal rates outlined in the Verordnung über die Angebote der sozialen Integration (ASIV) of the Canton of Bern. You can apply for a childcare space using the online form on the HKB Intranet.

If you are a new student or member of staff and do not have access to the Intranet, please contact Corinne Badertscher (Ph: 031 848 33 01, corinne.badertscher@bfh.ch). There is no legal entitlement to a childcare space.

Students must also fulfill their compulsory service obligations during their studies. Please be sure to plan and coordinate your compulsory service ahead of time.

It is strongly recommended that you complete your basic military training and civil service before commencing your studies. Completing them during your studies results in absences, which can lead to an extension of the duration of the course.

General information about military and civil service


Support

For more information on how to coordinate your studies and your compulsory service, please contact the HKB Student Administration (+41 31 848 49 49).

New students are admitted to the program once a year, each spring semester.

Start date: Spring semester 2023
Application deadline: Monday, October 17, 2022

Consulting + Location

At the Bern University of the Arts HKB an open mind and a family atmosphere await you. Please come and visit us.

Consulting

The study program regularly presents student work to the public. These events are also an opportunity to find out more about the study program. In addition, you can also contact our secretariat in you have any questions.

Infrastructure

The location of the theatre department, which was occupied in 2012, consists of 3000m2 of working and presentation space, including three stages with professional theatre technology that can be set up flexibly: the main stage, the studio stage and the rehearsal stage. Nine large project rooms are available to students as rehearsal spaces and working studios, as well as an editing room for video and sound. The movement room and several working studios, a workshop, a fundus for props and costumes as well as a theatre library offer an excellent environment for this intensive theatre program.

In addition to the on-site rooms, you also have access to facilities at the other HKB locations. The MediaLab is the competence and service centre for audiovisual design and photography at the HKB. The staff of the MediaLab hold courses and offer photography and video training. They advise you on content-related and technical questions. Workstations and studios are equipped with an extensive production infrastructure and are available around the clock. The Media Library is the library of the Departments of Design and Art as well as Conservation and Restoration and the Y Institute (Institute for Transdisciplinary). With its 35’000 media, it is open to all HKB students.