Master of Arts SUPSI in Theatre

Master of Arts in Teatro di Figura: Material, Object and Puppet Theater

Study duration: 3 semesters (90 ECTS)
Full-time Curriculum

Language: English

Master documentation entry fee: CHF 50.– Fr.

Admission exam fee: CHF 150.– Fr.

Half-yearly fee: CHF 1’200.– Fr.

Admission criteria & Candidate profile:

Degree in theater, dance, circus arts or equivalent. Candidates who demonstrate exceptional artistic talent may be admitted on the basis of their dossier (without academic degree).

  • show interest in theatre, in particular working with puppets, objects and materials
  • formulate an area or series of topics and questions for their studies, preferably in the form of a creative project that will become their graduate work
  • previous experience with puppet theatre, or any kind of physical theatre, dance, circus or other artistic discipline is welcome.

General Presentation

The focus is on the study and practice of the body as a primary means of expression in theatre.
In history, theatre based on the actor and the body has taken many forms and variations. Today, “Physical theatre” is used as an umbrella term to cover this diversity, whereas previously terms such as movement theater, non-verbal theatre, pantomime, body mime, Commedia dell’arte, dance theater and experimental theater were the terms used to indicate specific forms. Regardless of its name, such a theatre starts from physical reality and considers the human body and its movement in space and time as its foundation.


The puppet theater that plays with objects and puppets as part of the same reality as the living puppeteers can be considered the
twin of Physical theatre: the body, whether human or artificial, is subject to the natural laws of physics.

During the first two semesters the Master’s programme offers seminars, workshops and courses that investigate different aspects of creation in the Physical Theater, namely dramaturgy, composition, theory, philosophy, theatre history and project management.

This is complemented by regular training in acting and movement. In order to facilitate greater interaction between the participants, the theoretical and practical lessons take place in small groups. Students, in addition to the common courses held in Verscio, can also take advantage of the training offered by the theatre schools that meet in the Master Campus Theater CH. Lessons are given both by regular teachers and by guest teachers who vary according to the programme of studies.

During the third quarter, dedicated to the final production and the Master thesis, the student is accompanied by regular teachers and the other Master students (peer group), who together act as oeil extérieur. The aim of the peer group’s involvement is to train the creator-actor’s consciousness, to develop his or her ability to criticise and support him or her in the search for his or her own artistic autonomy.

Figure theatre focuses on a form of theatre that uses puppets, objects, or simply different materials instead of living actors. Its fascination is the way in which inanimated matter is set in motion and therefore comes alive, appears alive. The “Animation Theatre”, therefore, can be understood as a model for the actor’s work in traditional literary or dramatic theatre: giving life, the possibility to exist, to fictional characters, the sum of the words “death”.

The addition of this new specialization to the existing Physical theatre underlines the central element of MA’s programme the expressive medium of the body. By comparing the living human with the animate material body we stimulate the discourse on the body itself: what makes a body “human”? What is the meaning and value of the body in contemporary society? What is its future?

More information:

Guide to MA Studies

Responsible for Master studies:
Corinna Vitale
Administration Master:
Tamara Kaelin

Skills and objectives:
teaching is focused on:

  • Acting with puppet, object and material (physical training, acting and animation)
  • Dramaturgy (principles of composition, creation of dramatic structure)
  • Directing (leading the creative process and directing the theatre piece)
  • Technological skills (basics of puppet technology, scenic object, basic skills of working with material)

  • Theoretical and historical knowledge (seminars in history and theory of puppet theatre
  • Analytical and critical thinking (developing the ability to analyse and reflect on the creative process as well as the ability to process feedback and criticism and transform them into creative work)
  • Creativity (taking on the role of the author of scenarios, inventing, finding new solutions, searching for a distinctive theatrical idiom suitable for the topic, and searching for corresponding expressivity and aesthetics in relation to the topic of artistic work)

Master Teachers

3 permanent teachers accompanied by invited teachers.

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