Akademie für Darstellende Kunst Baden-Württemberg - Directing
© Philip Henze_ADK



Head of course: Ludger Engels
Tutors: Ludger Engels, Christof Nel, Christina Rast, Thomas Zielinski

1. The Directing course at ADK flows with constant change in the concept of theatre: the walls between the stage and other art forms have become increasingly porous. Apart from the classical literature, content is informed more and more by political events and the rapid transformations befalling our society. The very concept of directing and the way directors define themselves are also subject to this change.
The four-year Directing course has responded to this conceptual expansion with practice-oriented training. At the core of ADK’s approach is the development of an artistic personality. Apart from teaching the theoretical fundamentals, the course focuses on stagecraft, interdisciplinary and project-based working and the authorial role. Every stage of the course is deeply influenced by close collaboration with students in the other ADK disciplines, on the Stage & Costume Design class at the art academy (ABK) in Stuttgart and in the Film Academy on the campus. Upon graduation students are awarded a Bachelor of Arts.

2. The seminar in Directing runs for the whole duration of the course. It begins with the essentials of directing (communicative structures, basic professional concepts, perceptive and reflective methods, group dynamics). Then, as students of Directing engage increasingly in their practical exercises, the seminar shifts towards offering the teaching and support they need for the conceptual process and mise-en-scène.


3. Theoretical knowledge is taught throughout the course in the form of a variety of training modules: history of stage directing, eras in cultural history, a fundamental understanding of dramatic and post-dramatic literature, the history and theory of the theatre, aesthetics, philosophy, socio-political theories. In addition, basic skills are acquired in film and film production, stage music, the stage as a physical space, text and performance analysis, and how to direct actors.
Parallel to (and partly integrated into) project work, students will deepen their grasp of the following fundamentals:

• director-specific skills (developing independence, acquiring confidence in the role / gaining the skills to manage people and to structure the imaginative process, dealing with diversity / building an ability for self-reflection)

• skills to manage actors (observation skills, feedback and introspection, striking the balance between empathy and detachment, a knowledge of acting theories, constructing a vocabulary, observation – evaluation, storylines, twists, situations, observation – description – evaluation)

• leadership skills (knowledge of leadership models, dealing reflectively with our own leadership role, experience in instructing and structuring processes, directing the rehearsal or mock-up, preparing presentations / pitching)

• stagecraft (body in space, light, sound, rhythm, basic choreography, language and verse, visual imagery)

• knowledge of different theories of directing and major international theatre formats and techniques

• working with the text (pruning, authoring, adapting novels/films/reality)

• knowledge of major dramatic and post-dramatic literature

• basic knowledge of theatre history

• communication skills (team skills, handling group dynamics, communicating with different theatre professions and management levels and with producers, pitching projects, press relations)

• organisational skills (structuring artistic and technical processes, scheduling rehearsals, managing budgets, time management, allocating resources, law of the theatre and publishing, self-management skills, defining an artistic stance)

4. Alongside the Directing modules on offer, students acquire some basic experience of Acting in the first quarter by taking part in the teaching for students of this related discipline (movement, fundamentals, authenticity).

5. The Directing course lasts eight semesters. These eight semesters break down into sixteen quarters. To align these with production cycles in the performing arts, which both enables active professionals to contribute to the training and ensures that students can work with partner institutions and courses on interdisciplinary and project-based teams, the quarters last on average about ten weeks. Seminars and practical work by the participants are concentrated within these quarters. The options are coordinated and have a thematic focus. Every practice-related option for Directing students is supervised by a guest lecturer. This usually means one or more well-known personalities from the current topography of the performing arts. This system of changing supervisors avoids subjecting students to a “dominant doctrine”, and at the same time our budding artists must learn to define their own positions.

6. Directing students from different years will work together on the theme for the quarter (twice in the first year, once in the second year, twice in the third year), so in the course of their studies each Directing student at ADK will take five of these themes. The sequence of the themes varies. The themes are as follows:

1. Antiquity
2. Shakespeare
3. Classical age
4. The long shadow of the 19th century
5. Modernism
6. Contemporary drama

7. Practical projects are a key component of the Directing course at ADK. They take place three or four times per academic year and usually last one quarter. Several intense weeks will be devoted to the conceptual dramaturgy. Guest teachers and theatre practitioners are invited along to encourage familiarity with different ways of imparting knowledge, different cognitive approaches and different working methods. The practical stages are supervised by the Academy’s Directing tutors. Students’ personal experience (questions, crises, quests) is regarded as learning material. The working experience is assessed in individual or group feedback processes. Individual learning goals are formulated.

8. The academic year on ADK’s Ludwigsburg campus is marked by a focus on two cross-genre themes. Seminars and exercises around these themes are offered throughout the academic year. During the two thematic quarters, Directing students from different years will work together alongside Dramaturgy students, Acting students and students from ABK Stuttgart.
As students progress from one year to the next, the complexity of their tasks will increase. Whereas first-year students work on short scenes from a theatre text, second-year students will tackle an entire thread of a story or a section from a play. Third-year students will stage a workshop production – all working on a shared theme to facilitate broad discourse across the Academy.

9. Film training and the associated collaboration with the Film Academy is a unique feature of the ADK course. The stage and screen make sometimes very different demands of directors, so it is a huge advantage to be able to acquire professional skills and knowledge in both fields while studying. Students will make their own film during the third semester after taking part in Film Design 2 at the Film Academy.

10. The practical projects are complemented in the fifth semester by a biographical project (site-specific), from the seventh semester onwards by a graduation piece, for which students are free to choose their own topic, and in the eighth semester by an additional project of their own choice to be carried out externally. During these working phases, particular importance is attached to learning independent authorship.

11. Interdisciplinary and project-based collaboration between the different courses is a key feature of the training. »Nomadic Research: An Interdisciplinary Project«  involves students of Directing, Acting and Dramaturgy working together on a theme beyond the confines of their discipline. This theatre project grows, changes and evolves over recurrent periods devoted to research and formulation. It culminates in a joint presentation.

Akademie für Darstellende Kunst Baden-Württemberg - Directing
Produktions-Team »Wallenstein // Der Zukunft dunkles Land«, Juni 2017 © ADK© ADK


Academic Office Directing
Norman Schock
Phone: +49 7141 / 30 99 6 – 22
Mail: norman.schock@adk-bw.de

Information about studies

  • 1. Course catalogue
  • 2. Start of studies

    Start of studies for winter semester 2019/20: Monday, 23th September 2019.

  • 3. Admission
    • The admission to the up to five places to study is based on a pre-selection through the audition board and admission exams.
    • No age limit.
    • The applicants can be admitted to the studies by an aptitude examination according to § 9 »Additional examination for applicants without Allgemeine Hochschulreife (university-entrance diploma)« (see authorization regulation § 9)


  • 4. Admission exams

    The admission exams take place as a three-day workshop.
    The invited applicants should be available the whole weekend.

    The specific requirements for the workshop will be sent together with the invitation to the admission exams by email.

    Based on the results of the workshop, the board will decide which on the admission for directing studies at the ADK. The decisions will be sent by email to each applicant.


  • 5. Repetition of entrance examination

    If the entrance examination is not passed once it can be repeated at earliest one year later.

    Further repetitions are not permitted.


  • 6. Head of course/ Tutors

    Head of course: Ludger Engels
    Tutor 1st year of study: Thomas Zielinski
    Tutor 2nd year of study: Christina Rast
    Tutor 3rd year of study: Christof Nel
    Tutor 4th year of study: Ludger Engels

  • 7. Duration of studies

    The duration of study for the course of study Bachelor Directing is four years or eight terms.

  • 8. Studiengebühren/finanzielle Anforderungen/Wohnungssuche

    The state Baden-Württemberg is not charging tuition fees anymore since summer semester 2012.

    On 3rd May 2017 the land parliament of Baden-Württemberg resolved the law of changing the Landeshochschulgesetz.
    From the winter semester 2017/18 on international students from a state not in the European Economic Area have to pay a contribution of 1500.-€ per semester.
    For a second degree the tuition fees are 650.-€ per semester. More informations here

    Informations for educational support BAFöG: here (in German)

    Each semester there have to made a contribution of 101,40.-€ for the Studierendenwerk and a administration- and AStA- contribution of 25.- €.

Akademie für Darstellende Kunst Baden-Württemberg - Directing
© Philip Henze


For application process please use the german version of our website!

Please note: The application and related documents must be submitted in German, since entrance examinations and all instruction at the Academy of Performing Arts are held in German.

Hereafter some formal information for study applications :

Application deadline for  winter semester 2019|20: March 15th2019
Entrance examinations: April 12th – April 14th, 2019

Application process:

  • Online-Registration
  • Print registration form and send the form together with related documents (see checklist) to the ADK. Please no registered mail.
  • After passing the preselection (according to your documents) through the admission jury, you will be invited to the entrance examinations.
  • In case of refusal you will be informed by email. The submitted documents will not be returned.