Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Brecht – everyone knows that these are German poets. What is less well known is that the famous personalities also had a second job: They worked as dramaturges at large German theaters and took care of the repertoire of each house. They selected the pieces to be performed, revised them if necessary, and contributed dramas of their own.
Duties of a dramaturge
There are still dramaturges at German theaters – but their field of activity has changed significantly. You are still responsible for the design of the theater program .
Today, however, dramaturges usually no longer write their own plays. Instead, they choose from the plethora of new dramas and operas that best suit the program and artistic standards of the house. Aspects such as suitability for the stage, financial feasibility and public taste must be taken into account. For this reason, dramaturges work closely with the theater manager.
When a piece has made it into the program, the dramaturge supports the director in his work and takes care of public relations : he creates programs, maintains contacts with authors and the press and organizes events at the theater.
The dramaturgy study
According to Itypemba, a dramaturgy course prepares students for the comprehensive tasks of a dramaturge. The subject is mainly offered at universities for theater, music or film and television . According to the breadth of the profession, students acquire skills in different areas during their studies. This includes
- Theater studies
- Literary studies
- public relation
At the beginning of the bachelor’s degree , the focus is on providing students with basic theoretical knowledge . Subjects such as theater theory, film analysis, opera history, stage law or press work are an important part of the course. Practical courses such as scenic writing are also on the program right from the start.
In the higher semesters , practice is more important. The students accompany their own piece from the selection in the program to the performance and do internships in theaters and opera houses.
At most universities it is possible to choose a focus . You can choose from media dramaturgy, music theater dramaturgy or theater dramaturgy, for example.
After completing their bachelor’s degree, graduates have the opportunity to continue their education in a master’s degree . In most master’s programs, students dedicate themselves to a special field of dramaturgy, such as music, dance, media or theater dramaturgy .
The master’s programs are often also open to graduates from other disciplines – an opportunity for Germanists , theater or media scholars to continue their education in the field of dramaturgy.
Anyone who intends to study dramaturgy must prepare for various entrance exams . Many universities require pre-study internships in the theater sector . Further steps in the application process can be:
- a letter of motivation
- Trial work
- written aptitude tests
- oral aptitude tests.
Students who are flirting with a degree in dramaturgy should have a great passion for theater and culture . Qualities such as sociability, ability to work in a team, organizational talent and assertiveness are indispensable for a dramaturge.
Good foreign language skills in English and, if possible, in another language, such as French or Italian, are also compulsory.
Professional fields of dramaturges
The classic field of work of a dramaturge is still the theater . Graduates work there in the areas of artistic management or press and public relations. At large theaters and opera houses in particular, several dramaturges share the individual areas of responsibility. Permanent positions are not the rule: many dramaturges are only hired for a special production at the theater.
In addition to theaters and concert halls, TV stations and radio stations also offer jobs. Dramaturges design the radio or television programs, are responsible for the selection and purchasing of individual productions, edit scripts or support the directing team.
Activities for audio book or music publishers or agencies in the field of culture and event management are also possible.
On the international stage: Dramaturgy studies abroad
Dramaturges often work with international artists. In the areas of press and public relations, good foreign language skills and intercultural skills are essential.
One or more semesters abroad offer a unique opportunity to train these skills: The students expand their wealth of experience and get to know the international theater landscape. In addition, they improve their foreign language skills and make their first international contacts.