Expanded Theater

Our MA in Expanded Theater is based on a broad understanding of theatre. The programme is aimed at actors as well as artists from other disciplines.

This degree programme:

  • provides specialised training to a wide range of theatre professionals;
  • is also aimed at artists from other areas, such as dance, puppetry, performance and music;
  • allows you to develop modes and approaches to realise your creative ideas independently – with courage and without limiting yourself to specific convention or  the boundaries of a particular performative form;
  • has a flexible curriculum allowing you to design your studies and define your own path into theatre;
  • views and treats elements such as space, sound, body and text as equivalent theatrical media in a dramaturgical sense;
  • supports and encourages you to anchor your artistic work in your own professional practice;
  • is offered in cooperation with Switzerland’s three other university programmes in theatre, allowing you to select from a range of course options and to engage in many networking opportunities.

Factsheet

  • Title/Degree Master of Arts (MA)
  • Specialisations Individual
  • Mode of study Full-time (3 semesters), part-time (5 semesters)
  • Start date 10 February 2020
  • Application deadline 1 November 2019
  • ECTS credits 90 ECTS credits
  • Study language German, English
  • Location Bern
  • Department Bern University of the Arts
  • Programme Handbook

Study programme guide Master Expanded Theater

Structure + Content

The programme is designed according to the individual focus areas of each of our students. In creating your course portfolio, you may select from theatre courses at HKB as well as those from Master – Campus – Theatre –CH and other eligible fields of study at HKB. You may extend your studies up to five semesters, if this longer period enables you to pursue professional practice in tandem with your studies.

Portrait

The Swiss connection

The Master-Campus-Theatre-CH combines all the courses offered by Swiss universities, meaning your study opportunities are greatly expanded. Our ‘Campus Weeks’ are part of this expansion. These take place once per semester and provide you with an opportunity to step outside your own programme and network with students from other degree programmes on campus.

HKB connections

Your programme at HKB, an arts university covering a wide range of creative areas, allows you to build a transdisciplinary network in the student hub of Bern.

International connections

We aim to cultivate the greatest network possible in our programmes. In our application process, in addition to assessing a candidate’s overall quality, we also consider what students and lecturers can contribute to cultural and disciplinary diversity at HKB.

Theory

Your artistic practice is the focus of this programme. Our approach is built upon projects, personal responsibility and creativity.  And if you are interested in applied research, you may explore theoretical ideas that integrate performative practice into experimental design.

Learning outcomes

As a graduate of our programme you will demonstrate the following skills:

  • The ability to independently initiate, plan, implement and evaluate your own professional projects on a creative and an organisational level.
  • The ability to operate in a highly competitive arts scene, in which self-management and personal creation (authorship) are imperative.
  • Authorship: The ability to develop and execute your own artistic ideas.
  • The ability to employ and actively refine your own artistic means of expression.
  • The ability to develop and employ theatrical media and forms that extend beyond the conventions of spoken theatre and reflect a broader understanding of performative arts.
  • Transdisciplinarity and transfer: The ability to enter dialogue with other artistic and non-artistic disciplines and incorporate their ideas into your own creative work.
  • Media skills: The ability to reflect upon the use of various media and apply them in your own projects.
  • International mindset: The ability to move beyond the German-speaking world and position your work within the context of the international theatre scene.
  • Leadership skills: The ability to assume leadership roles and responsibilities.
  • The ability to develop your own production flow.
  • The ability to grow a professional network of interest groups relevant to your creative work.
  • The ability to reflect upon your own artistic practice. You must be able to position your work in a way that not only opens it up to other artistic discourses, but also to delineates and differentiates it.
  • The ability to distinguish artistic research from other forms of scientific work and research.
  • The ability to recognise an artistic project’s relevance to research and to connect artistic and scientific lines of questioning.
  • The ability to contribute actively to artistic research projects.

Specialisations + Areas of focus

Students largely decide their areas of specialisation and focus themselves. Following your BA or equivalent work experience, you should be prepared to define and pursue your own artistic objectives. You will enjoy support from the portfolio-based programme, the range of internationally connected lecturers, and the variety of student profiles available to you.

You will define your desired specialisation and artistic objectives as part of your application. Working toward achieving these artistic goals represents the heart of this degree programme. The degree programme is structured around your portfolio. This means that you select courses from a range of differently structured modules:

Guest lecturers work with a group of students. You are invited to place your own specialised skills in relation to those of your peers.

Lecturers – including some from outside the theatre world – present their work and facilitate creative tension and intellectual transfer.

Modules offered in the shared course listings from the Swiss university programmes in theatre in Bern, Lausanne, Verscio and Zurich (Master-Campus-Theatre-CH).

Mode of study + Duration

Our master’s programme covers 90 ECTS credits. Students typically complete their studies in three semesters, with no more than five semesters allowed.

Curriculum + Modules

Toolboxes provide practical support, helping you expand your performative resources and skills. You will work with your body and voice, gaining foundational presentation skills. This group includes workshops in dance, movement, voice or performance as well as artistic examinations of space and sound. Other modules address presentational and directorial work, with an eye on theory, organisation, project management, technology, society and research. Toolboxes and workshops are led by lecturers versed in theory and artistic practice.

Over the course of your studies, you will work on a joint project with other students, supervised by renowned artists in the field of performative arts. The objective is to become acquainted with their working habits, and to put these into practice yourself. You will present your final results publicly.

The production group includes modules in which you will work individually on your areas of artistic focus. As such, it represents the central component of your studies. Although you will be responsible for your own work, you will receive the support of a mentor. You will be involved in the selection of your mentor.

Your master’s thesis, your largest independent project, falls within this group of modules. It is also the culmination of your studies. The thesis comprises three parts: MA thesis concept (written), MA thesis project (practical) and MA thesis evaluation (written). By completing your master’s thesis, you prove that you are equipped to independently initiate, plan, execute and evaluate performative projects on an artistic and organisational level.

Student mobility

Are you a Swiss student interested in living, working or studying in another country? Or do you want to spend a semester at another Swiss university? Or maybe you’re an overseas student who’d like to spend a semester at Bern University of Applied Sciences? Mobility opportunities offer unique and valuable experience. During your studies, you will have the opportunity to spend exchange semesters and experience work placements elsewhere in Switzerland or abroad.


The shared module structure within the Master-Campus-Theatre-CH network guarantees a minimum of student mobility. Your individually designed studies also allow for international connections, which you will choose based on your area of specialisation, with the appropriate support from programme administrators.

Lecturers

Our degree programme critically examines trends in the international theatre scene. This is reflected in our diverse teaching staff, who represent a wide range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Guest lecturers + Mentors (selection)

Hans Werner Kroesinger
Lukas Bangerter (CH) // Plasma
Big Art Group (USA) // Caden Manson & Jemma Nelson
François Chaignaud (F)
Laurent Chétouane (F)
Franck Chartier // Peeping Tom (BE)
Mark Coniglio (USA)
Maurice de Martin (D)
Viviane de Muynck (BE)
Urs Dietrich (D)
Ivo Dimchev (BG)
Onno Faller (D)
Johanna Freiburg & Berit Stumpf // Gob Squad (D/GB)
Michael Harenberg (D)
Christoph Haering (CH)
Niklaus Helbling (CH/D)
Janina Janke (D) // Oper Dynamo West
Knut Jensen (CH)
San Keller (CH)
Mikael Krogerus (FIN) Roman Tschäppeler (CH)
Felix Kubin (D)
Bojana Kunst (SI)
Hans-Thies Lehmann (D)
Kate McIntosh (NZ)
Helge Musial (D)
Jan Ritsema (NL)
Jens Roselt (D)
Roberto Fratini Serafide (I)
Christoph Siegenthaler (CH)
Prof. Dr. Gerald Siegmund (D)
Leonie Stein (CH)
Fred van der Koij (NL)
Penelope Wehrli (CH)
VA Wölfl // Neuer Tanz Düsseldorf (D)

Lecturers from our bachelor’s degree programme in theatre and acting also instruct select courses in the Expanded Theatre master’s programme.

Collaborations + Partners

HKB is affiliated with a number of universities in Switzerland and abroad and frequently collaborates with international partners on various projects. The university is also a member of several international networks.

Master-Campus-Theatre-CH

The HKB master’s programme in theatre is part of Master – Campus – Theatre – CH, a cooperation between the four Swiss university theatre programmes in Bern, Lausanne, Verscio and Zurich. This network brings together the theatre traditions of Switzerland’s German, French and Italian-speaking regions. Students at these universities can attend certain courses offered at partner universities. At the joint opening week of each semester, all participating universities dedicate themselves to one specific topic in theatre to promote student networking across the different campuses.

Eligibility + Entry

To be accepted onto the programme, you must have a clearly defined goal for your studies. You may not enrol in the programme without it. Your goal must be developed and ready for our aptitude assessment. It is a central part of your admission and studies.

Entry requirements

The number of places available on our programme is limited (‘numerus clausus’). We administer an entrance examination to review your aptitude for our programme. We look for motivation, stamina, resilience and independence in our students as well as a readiness to participate actively in university-level projects.

Formal requirements for admission are:

  • BA in theatre, dance, performance or comparable degree in a discipline closely related to theatre.
  • An equivalent, recognised practical qualification in a creative branch. Our admissions committee must confirm its equivalence as part of your aptitude assessment (also known as an application ‘sur dossier’).
  • Your individual project, which you must submit as part of your application, forms the basis of your aptitude test.

Professional prerequisites

You must demonstrate basic performance skills in one of the areas of acting, dance, performance or a related discipline at the start of the master’s programme.

Knowledge + Abilities

For entry into our programme, we require that you demonstrate:

  • clear potential to author your own works, innovate and create in the performative sphere;
  • strong potential for working creatively in a transdisciplinary context:
  • ability to reflect on your work and the creative process;
  • consistent quality in your creative pursuits and in the feasibility of your master’s project;
  • foundational artistic skills in performative arts;
  • strong ability to work independently;
  • contextual knowledge of theatre and cultural criticism;
  • physical and mental tenacity.

Language skills

The languages of instruction and working in the MA in Expanded Theater are German and English.

Applying from abroad

Foreign nationals require valid travel documents recognised by the Swiss government. A visa is often required. Exchange students must also apply for a residency permit and purchase health insurance before their studies begin. Please research your specific entry requirements carefully.

Initial selection by panel

The HKB admissions committee will review the content of your application. The committee comprises the Head of Degree Programme, at least two lecturers from the theatre division and at least two experts, who serve as consultants to the process. The HKB admissions committee decides which applicants will be invited to sit the aptitude test.

Invitation to admissions interview

We invite recommended candidates to an admissions interview for the Expanded Theatre specialisation. In some cases, we may request that you prepare further practical or theoretical assignments.

Final admissions decision

Following the interview, we will reach our admissions decision and notify you promptly.

Qualification + Career prospects

As a graduate of our programme you will be prepared to position yourself within the dynamic field of performative arts. You will know your strengths and use them. You will feel comfortable working with artists who represent differing artistic attitudes.

Title + Degree

Master of Arts (MA) in «Theater – Expanded Theater» 

The master’s degree prepares you for a career in professional theatre in your chosen area of specialisation and according to international standards.

Career prospects

As a graduate, you will have expanded your disciplinary training in a selected area of specialisation. This allows you to contribute to various performative projects and position yourself better professionally. Specialised work and production approaches are increasingly incorporating aspects from other disciplines, and in this professional climate, there is great demand for artists with the above skills. Ten years of experience in a degree programme dedicated to our transdisciplinary approach shows that our graduates are in great demand both in established, more conventional theatre companies and in alternative production groups.

Practicalities + Application

The degree programme has an international orientation, and this is taken into account in the admission procedure. The majority of the information required for admission can be submitted via a dossier. Interviews can be conducted via Skype. Nevertheless, the various performative arts are based on analogue encounters, which is why a personal meeting between the jury and the candidate is indispensable for a final admission decision.

Start date: 10 February 2020
Application deadline: 1 November 2019

The following fees are charged for degree programmes and examinations at HKB:

Application (per application) and aptitude assessment*  

CHF 250

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

* plus CHF 10 processing fee if paying by deposit slip / paper invoice
** If the application leads to matriculation, the matriculation fee is covered by the application fee.
*** ‘Overseas students’ refers to all citizens of foreign countries who were not official residents of Switzerland or Liechtenstein at the time they were admitted to the university programme.

There is also a fixed fee for materials whose amount depends on the degree programme as well as additional costs for teaching materials, specialist literature, supplies, etc.

The application fee can be paid by credit card during the online application process. Alternatively, applicants can pay the fee by deposit slip / paper invoice within 10 days. In this case, a processing fee of CHF 10 will be charged. There are no waivers or refunds for withdrawn or abandoned applications.

The application is processed after payment has been received.

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).

Financial aid is available through grants and loans. Grants are one-off or ongoing payments that don’t usually have to be paid back provided you complete your course. Loans are one-off or ongoing payments that must be paid back after you finish your course.

Cantonal grants

Grants and loans for Swiss students and overseas students are generally paid out by the canton where the students’ parents are tax residents.

Students who have been tax residents in the Canton of Bern for at least two years are able to apply for cantonal grants and loans. Applications should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office at the Department of Education.

Further information (incl. financial aid calculator):

The websites ausbildungsbeiträge.ch, stipendium.ch and European Funding Guide cover all the key information about grants in Switzerland and overseas.

The City of Bern also offers students support under certain circumstances. For more information, see the City of Bern website.

Foundations and funds

There are also numerous private foundations and funds that offer financial support to students. The electronic foundation directory administered by the Federal Department of Home Affairs offers a comprehensive summary of these organisations and can be searched by keywords (e.g. student, research, financial aid, etc.). Other sources include the foundation directories for individual cantons and private foundations.

HKB-Fund for the Payment of the Tuition Fees

Many HKB students live in precarious financial circumstances. The opportunities to earn money while undertaking demanding and time-consuming studies are limited. And the cost of living in Switzerland is one of the highest in all of Europe. A doctor’s bill, a healthy diet, and paying the rent or semester and examination fees can become pressing problems. The HKB scholarship fund provides targeted support in such cases. If you are a student at HKB and require the assistance or advice of the scholarship fund, please complete the corresponding application form and submit it to the secretary’s office of your degree programme. The deadline for applications for a semester fee waiver is 15 May to 15 June (for the following autumn semester), or 15 November to 15 December (for the following spring semester).

The following foundations offer funding specifically to BFH students and students from other universities:

Contact

If you have any questions regarding scholarships and loans please contact Sebastian Ledesma.

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

A limited number of nursery places are available to BFH staff and students. If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, the relevant documents can be found on the BFH Intranet. The fees are based on your income and are in line with the cantonal rates described in the Verordnung über die Angebote der sozialen Integration (Decree on Social Integration Offer ASIV) issued by the Canton of Bern. You can apply for a nursery place using the online form on the BFH Intranet. If you’re a new student or member of staff and don’t have access to the Intranet, please contact Corinne Badertscher (Tel. +41 (0)31 848 33 01, corinne.badertscher@bfh.ch). There is no legal entitlement to a nursery place.

The three-semester master’s programme may be extended to a maximum of five semesters. This allows students to manage existing creative networks or tend to ongoing work and family obligations. An extension must be approved by the Head of Studies.

Swiss students have to complete compulsory service while studying too. Make sure you start planning and coordinating your studies and compulsory service early.

We strongly encourage you to complete basic military training and your first block of civilian service before starting your studies. If you complete these activities during your studies, you may miss classes. As a result, the duration of your programme may increase.

General information on recruitment and civil service

Advice

You can get help with coordinating your studies and your compulsory service from HKB's Student Administration (+41 31 848 49 49).

Would you like to take a course at Bern University of the Arts? Then apply now. By applying online, you’ll be kept up-to-date at every stage of the process.

Online application

Please have the following documents ready in electronic form (passport photo: JPG / other documents: PDF). File size may not exceed 1 MB per document.

  • Identification card or passport
  • Passport photo
  • Upper-secondary education (university entrance) certificate (e.g. baccalaureate, vocational baccalaureate, specialised baccalaureate, Abitur certificate)
  • Curriculum vitae

International students also require:

  • Residence permit (if available)

If you were enrolled at a different university:

  • Confirmation of ex-matriculation
  • Diploma and/or academic transcript of prior learning achievements (transcript of records)

If you do not yet have these documents, please let us know in the comments field.

Project outline

Responses to the following questions and an outline of the project you would like to complete over the course of your studies:

  • Explain your motivation for joining this programme, based on your prior artistic orientation (max. one A4 page).
  • Outline the project you wish to complete within the framework of the master’s programme and describe your plan for implementation (max. four A4 pages). Formulate the concrete image or action you wish to achieve in the project.
  • The master’s degree programme in theatre includes transdisciplinary components. Describe one or two areas unrelated to theatre that interest you thematically or aesthetically (max. one A4 page).
  • Describe one or more presentations or performances that have influenced your own practice. Why are these works important to you (max. two A4 pages)?
  • Outline central topics or questions you wish to examine in your work (max. one A4 page).

Documentation of artistic practice (mandatory for ‘sur dossier’ candidates)

Please let us know of any previous artistic practices (film, pictures, audio) by adding internet links, as DVDs are not accepted. Note that video recordings shouldn’t exceed the time of 5’ each.

Information

At HKB, you can expect an open mindset and a friendly, informal atmosphere. Come and see us.

Student advisory service

Our programme regularly presents student work to the public. These events are always an opportunity to learn more about the programme. You may also contact Sibylle Heim, one of our artistic teaching associates who also provides administrative support for our programme.

Info events

No info events are scheduled at this time.

Locations + Facilities

HKB Zikadenweg Theatre

Our programme’s main theatre, located on Zikadenweg, features more than 3,000 m2 of work and performance space, including three adjustable stages (main, studio and practice) with professional theatre technology. You will enjoy access to nine large project rooms for use as practice spaces or work studios as well as a dance and movement studio, further studios, video editing suites and a workshop. We also have extensive prop and costume stores and a drama library.

Fellerstrasse MediaLab

The MediaLab is HKB’s skill and service centre for audio-visual design and photography. Our MediaLab team offers courses and training in photography and videography. They also help answer content-related and technical questions from students and lecturers alike. Workplaces and studios are fully equipped for production. You may also rent audio and video equipment from the MediaLab for outside use.

Fellerstrasse multimedia library

The multimedia library is the specialist library for the areas of design and art, conservation and restoration and the Y Institute (Institute for Transdisciplinarity). It is open to members of the HKB community and the public. 35,000 items are available in the open access library.