Research project

”Alexandria Nova” by Anja Susa

Researcher: Anja Susa

”Alexandria Nova” is a research project by Anja Susa, Professor of Directing.

Anja Susa is a responsible representative of SKH as well as the member of the Editorial Board of the publication “The Art of Theatre Directing” in the frame of Alexandria Nova strategic partnership.

Alexandria Nova is a network of 7 North European directing programs. It aims to create an international and diverse learning environment for the relatively small directing programs of each national institution and make a leap forward in the awareness about pedagogical methods used.

The participants in the network are: Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Erns Busch in Berlin in the leading organisation with six partners including Listahaskoli Island in Reykjavik, Den Danske Scenekunstskole in Copenhagen, Theatre Academy of Uniarts Helsinki, Uniarts Stockholm, Lietuvos Muzikos ir Teatro Akademija in Vilnius and Kunsthogskolen in Oslo. Each of these institutions offers higher education in directing. In most cases (Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Island, Norway, Copenhagen) they are also the only national institution to do so. This is why the transnational dialogue is completely essential in order to develop further artistically and pedagogically.

Alexandria Nova is gathering and documenting artistic and pedagogical knowledge from the field of directing. It is essential that both teachers and students are participating in this process. This will be done through teaching demonstrations in seminars, teachers writing and documenting their own work with the supportive questions and reflections on their work from their peers in the network. The students will also be reflecting and documenting on their learning processes by documenting their artistic processes in different ways: for example by writing, video and photographs. This work will lead to the building of the Alexandria Nova Digital Library which will include theoretical texts used in teaching, theses work in doctoral and MA-level, recorded lectures, exercises and documentation of students artistic learning processes. By gathering this knowledge in one place and examining it we will be able to recognise and name the most important pedagogical methods used in the Alexandria Nova network and develop them further. We will hopefully also recognise what is missing in our curriculums, what challenges and questions of our art we fail to address at the moment. This will lead to further curriculum development and the process of creating new pedagogical methods. The idea is that the digital library is a living thing: it will carry out after the three- year-project and serve as a database for pedagogical and artistic research concerning directing in the future.

Another important outcome of this collaboration is the publication of a book with the working title “The Art of Theatre Directing” which focuses on the following topics:

  • the historical development of the role of a director,
  • ethics of representation,
  • the new contexts of making performance and the effects that these contexts have to the work of a director,
  • different methods of leading and directing artistic group work,
  • awareness of the socio-political context and artists own possibly privileged position as an important working method of a director