In the Department of Theater Studies, which brings together different disciplines and diverse realms of knowledge, students are offered encounters between theory and practice and introduced to historical and geographical perspectives on the fascinating field of theater and performance arts. Students have the opportunity to access contemporary creative activity in the world, Israel, and Jerusalem – a city that is home to unique experiments in theater and performance.
Theater and performance studies challenge boundaries and prompt questions about identity, gender, and language. Studies in the Department also focus on issues related to aesthetics and artistic language, and the social, economics, and cultures contexts of a work of art.
The Department is a sphere for learning and researching where a safe, supportive community of students, teachers, and administrators come together to learn, research, and create, while Jerusalem arena of experimental theater and performance serves as a unique and fascinating environment in which to interrogate and experience the field.
In the first year, students study the history of theater and the central theoreticians and creative artists in the field; they learn how to analyze a theatrical performance; they are introduced to seminal works; and they attend an introductory stage acting workshop. In their second and third years, students have the option to choose to focus on: a) general studies of theater and performance; b) applied theater (theater therapy and community theater); c) Jewish theater.
During their studies, students gain familiarity with diverse methods of analyzing works of drama, theater, and performance, including site-specific performances, vocal performances, radio performances, and podcasts. The study of acting and directing methods forms an integral part of the Department's curriculum.
The Department's course of study includes lab lessons, workshops, and master classes, where students have the opportunity to meet with major figures in the fields they are studying, as well as field trips to performances and significant art events in Jerusalem. In the third year, students develop their own individual and group projects, including a final project as part of a special research lab devoted to art as research.
We encourage our students' efforts to engage in their own creative endeavors and organize annual theater festivals and competitions, and we support their independent productions.
In addition, the Department offers a unique curriculum for graduates of the Nissan Nativ Acting Studio and the School of Visual Theater.
The lecturers teaching in the Department include scholars of international renown and some of the leading artists in these fields in Israel, such as director and choreographer Emanuella Amichai, vocal performance artist Dr. Josef Sprinzak, playwright Dr. Michael Morris-Reich, director and theater critic Shai Bar-Yaakov, scholar and artist Dr. Diego Rotman (Department Chair), and others. Many of the teachers incorporate research and practice in their own theater therapy: Dr. Susana Pendziak, social theater: Nira Moser, Children Theater: Dr. Olga Levitan, Acting: Haim Avramski, contemporary performance: Dr. Keren Cohen, and help prepare students for grappling with practical questions – a preparation that serves our graduates long after they have completed their studies.
Learning and Creative Spaces
Some of the academic classes are held in the Media Department in the library, which offers a large and diverse collection of documentary films and motion pictures. The students also have the Israel Goor Hebrew Theater Archives and Museum at their disposal for viewing and hearing recordings of performances and studying archival materials related to the history of Israeli and Jewish theater.
The Department also enjoys special work spaces, such as the Garage Theater (the Department's own theater) and the Hall of Mirrors. During the academic year, student works, productions created in Department workshops, and guest plays are presented at the theater.
The Department encourages artistic initiatives on the part of its students and helps guide and supervise their theater performances and performance works.