Academy of Performing Arts in Prague

Academy of Performing Arts in Prague
Akademie múzických umění v Praze
Type Public
Established 1945
Rector Jan Hancil
Administrative staff
Students 1,541[2]
Location Prague, Czech Republic

The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Czech: Akademie múzických umění v Praze, AMU) is a university level school of music, dance, drama, film, TV and multi-media studies.

It is the Czech Republic’s largest arts school. With more than 350 pedagogues and researchers as well as 1500 students, AMU has extensive scholarly potential in numerous disciplines of theatre, film and music, some of which are not offered by any other school in Europe. The instruction is provided by top artistic professionals active in the most prestigious theatres, in film and television, musical virtuosos and other prominent members of the Czech cultural and intellectual scene. The school’s added value is that all faculties are located in the very heart of Prague – a cultural metropolis with a one-thousand-year tradition and a unique offering of live art, to which AMU contributes through its artistic activities.

Often an acronym "AMU" is used referring to the Czech name of the school "Akademie múzických umění".

AMU is a highly selective school with a multi-round admissions process; on average, every tenth applicant is admitted. Instruction takes place in small study groups which guarantee an individual approach and a relationship of partnership between students and teachers. In addition to Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes, AMU also offers several doctoral programmes. The focus of AMU’s scientific activity is the area of artistic research, although specialized departments also pursue classic research in art history and theory. AMU students have access to high-quality faculty libraries with more than 180 000 volumes of scholarly literature, sound recordings and audio-visual works, and their creative activities are supported by specialised professional-level facilities (theatres, film and television studios, concert halls). AMU’s two cross-faculty pedagogical facilities are its Languages Centre and its Sports, Rehabilitation and Movement Centre. All three faculties are served by AMU Press (NAMU), which publishes literature focusing on all of AMU’s artistic disciplines, ranging from lecture notes and e-books to graphically demanding publications. The final projects of students studying disciplines with a significant graphic component are presented in the AMU Gallery (GAMU), where one-off thematic exhibitions are also held. AMU has its own accommodation centre in the very centre of Prague near Prague Castle. It also has a student dormitory in Old Town with special amenities for students studying music disciplines. Concentrated multi-day creative work is possible at two dedicated facilities outside Prague.


The Academy of Performing Arts was founded by the Presidential Decree of October 27, 1945. A year later, in the winter semester of 1946, it was opened for students. Several prominent artists and writers, namely Jindřich Honzl, Jiří Frejka, František Troster and others initiated the establishment of the school during World War II. Professors of the older Prague Conservatory also supported the idea of transforming the former maestro school into a higher school of university level. Writers, artists and other film makers with practical experience in the film industry (namely Jaroslav Bouček, Karel Plicka, Otakar Vávra, Ivan Olbracht, Vítězslav Nezval, A. M. Brousil and others) watched over the school’s future curriculum, guiding it to meet new trends in post-war film development. Later the Film Studio and the DISK theatre, which belonged to the Theatre Faculty, were added. The Opera Studio of the Music Faculty also uses the DISK theatre. When TV came into being, the Film and TV School began to serve its needs by offering study programmes for TV specialists. It also has a department with still photography curriculum.


The Academy of Performing Arts consists of three faculties and a rector’s office. The faculties are as follows: Film and TV School, Music and Dance Faculty, Theatre Faculty. Besides the DISK theatre and Film Studio, the Academy has some other teaching facilities, e.g. sound and photography studios, laboratories, workshops, dancing and training halls. Recently, in the newly reconstructed Lichtenštejn Palace, a grand concert hall dedicated to the memory of the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů has been added and recently also the Inspirace theatre. The Academy owns out-of-town practice and teaching centres in Poněšice and Beroun. The Study and Training Centre in Poněšice lies in South Bohemia on the Vltava River, six km from the well-known Hluboká Castle. It is used for special training programmes, sports and language courses for students and other users. Beroun is a small town situated 30 km west from Prague (frequent bus and train connection exists). The Study, Training and Accommodation Centre in Beroun is used for training and study activities and workshops for DAMU, HAMU, FAMU and Studio FAMU. Curricula and experimental activities of all three AMU faculties’ students take place in these facilities.

The Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (DAMU) was established in 1945 as part of the newly created arts university. At its inception were prominent personalities of modern Czech theatre. During the almost seventy years of its existence a number of outstanding artists among its teachers (i.e. Otomar Krejča, František Tröster, Ivan Vyskočil) has trained whole generations of exceptional actors, directors, dramaturges, stage designers and producers. Since the Velvet Revolution, the instruction at DAMU has built on the best traditions of Czech theatre and at the same time has successfully reflected the development of contemporary world theatre and performing arts generally. DAMU is a member of ELIA (The European League of Institutes of the Arts) and ENCATC (The European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centres).

The Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) was established in 1946 as the world’s fifth-oldest university-level arts school with a programme in film education. It garnered unique international renown in particular at the end of the 1960s thanks to a series of graduates – directors of the Czech New Wave (Věra Chytilová, Miloš Forman, Jiří Menzel and others). Despite the repressive cultural policies of the communist regime, Czech and foreign directors who graduated from FAMU even in later years achieved international acclaim (among them Agnieszka Holland, Emir Kusturica, Jan Svěrák). After the fall of the communist regime, the school built on the best aspects of its tradition with thoughtful conceptual steps that reacted flexibly to rapid technological progress in the area of audio-visual production and led to the continual reorganisation, modernisation and internationalisation of instruction. FAMU is a founding member of CILECT (The International Association of Film and Television Schools), a member of ELIA (The European League of Institutes of the Arts) and GEECT (The European Grouping of Film and Television Schools).

The Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (HAMU) was established in 1945 as one of the academy’s three components, following on from the master school of the Prague Conservatory. The school provides top-level education in the fields of music and dance at all three academic levels (Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral) in Czech and English, At present, the faculty has 12 departments (the Departments of String, Keyboard, Wind and Percussion Instruments, Jazz Interpretation, Voice and Opera Directing, Musical Sound, Theory and History of Music, Conducting, Composition and Pantomime). The faculty also includes 3 research facilities: the Institute of Music Theory, the Institute for Dance Theory, and the Musical Acoustics Research Centre (MARC). HAMU is the organiser of the orchestral cycle “The Best” and the Skrznaskrz festival, in the realisation of which all three AMU faculties participate in cooperation with other fine arts schools.

Organization of studies

Students may enrol in bachelor, master, and doctoral study programmes (Art of Music, Art of Dance, Art of Drama, Art of Film, TV and Photography and New Media). The bachelor study programmes usually last three years and, on passing the required examination, the students receive the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in abbr. “BcA.” (Comparable to BA degree). The master study programmes usually take two more years. After passing the state examination, the students receive the degree of Master of Arts, in abbr. “MgA.” (Comparable to MA degree). Doctoral study programmes have been established at all the faculties. On passing a doctoral examination and presenting doctoral theses, students are awarded the degree of Doctor (“Ph.D.”). Special courses are also organised. Well-known artists and teachers lead these courses. The tuition varies according to the subject. The participant may receive a certificate of credit. These courses, however, are not part of a regular university study programme.

Candidates are accepted to their respective programs after completing secondary school education and successfully passing entrance exams. Each faculty has its own requirements for the entrance exams.


The official language of instruction of the course units is Czech. Each faculty offers some Bachelor and/or Master and/or PhD. degree programs in English. A limited number of short-term courses are taught in English or in German. For the others a preparatory course in Czech is necessary.

Student services

The Academy has its own library. Students are also entitled to use other libraries free of charge, i.e., the University library, the library of the Czech Academy of Sciences, etc. To many cultural events, such as theatre performances, concerts, exhibitions lectures and films, students of the Academy are admitted free of charge or are entitled to reduced-price tickets. There are many types of mutual co-operation between the Academy and similar schools, both at home and abroad. This consists of various artistic competitions and festivals and reciprocal exchange performances. There are two halls of residence where students can stay. One is in the centre of Prague in Hradební Street (reconstructed in the academic year 2006/07), the other is in the southern outskirts of Prague. The number of rooms in the halls of residence is limited. Meals can be taken in student canteens. The Language Centre provides classes of English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Czech. In addition to regular classes, the department also organizes intensive language courses for students and classes for employees. The AMU Sports, Rehabilitation and Movement Centre organises various sports activities for students. The Gallery of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague is opened daily except for Mondays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Notable alumni

See also


  1. "Počty pedagogů a vědeckých zaměstnanců" (in Czech). Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Retrieved 25 November 2008.
  2. 1 2 "Přehled počtů studií" (in Czech). Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Retrieved 25 November 2008.

External links

Coordinates: 50°05′15″N 14°24′07″E / 50.0875°N 14.4019°E / 50.0875; 14.4019

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