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Stage Design

Stage Design in the Bachelor study programme

The department »Stage Design« aims to lay the foundations for an independent artistic position and to provide guidance for reflection on theoretical and practical questions about creating theatrical spaces in the present day and in the past. In addition to this, it follows the HFBK's interdisciplinary approach to study by addressing related disciplines and consequently locating the students' own artistic efforts specifically within this extended context of art and image production, including the old and new technical media (photography, film, video, computer).

The crafting of theatrical space develops from the external architectonic and functional conditions involved as well as from the demands of the play and the way it is being directed. The central concern of this subject is to develop a coherent scenic space in line with both the historical and one’s own interpretations of the text, to address dramaturgy and direction, and to translate it into practice. This study area is centred on planning stage and installation spaces for scenic work (theatre, musical theatre, film and television.) The starting point is the artistic intentions of the individual student, which will be supported by tutors from the planning stage through to the actual execution by means of individual and group tutorials. The different stages of project realisation extend from developing a concept to drafting and creating a model, and beyond that to an actual staged production, including both experimental use of space and performance. The necessary technical and craft skills, including drafting stage designs, building models, photography CAD (Computer Aided Design), digital image manipulation and video editing can be gained and tried out in the various workshops (for wood, metal, ceramics and printing) and studios (light, sound and video). Other required skills are: a critical understanding of the various approaches to form and content in the fields of directing, dramaturgy, costuming, lighting, sound and use of video.

The accompanying academic training gives additional depth to the artistic questions and experiences, and offers historical and theoretical knowledge and practical methods that help to advance students' artistic understanding of themselves and of history.

Stage Design in the Master study programme

The department »Stage Design« gives students the opportunity to extend their skills in independently formulating artistic questions and expand their critical thinking on theoretical and practical questions relating to researching and developing scenic spaces.

The knowledge and skills gained in the Bachelor study programme in applying artistic methods and strategies will be tested in scenery projects within or incorporating public spaces. These projects will be realized in cooperation with various institutions (currently the Theaterakademie Hamburg, the Theater Kiel and the Ruhrfestspiele).

The central focus of studies in this subject is the design of stage spaces and spatial installations for scenery purposes (in theatre, musical theatre, film and television). The starting point is the individual student’s own artistic intentions, supported from idea to implementation by tutors in individual and group tutorials. The phases of realization are diverse – concept, draft, model and stageable production. Both experimental spatial work and performances are included.

An analytical understanding of the various contentual and formal aspects of direction, dramaturgy, costuming, light, sound and video is required. Workshops (wood, metal, ceramics, printing) and studios (light, sound, video) will provide opportunities for students to further develop and try out their existing manual and technical skills, including technical drawing for the stage, model building, model photography, CAD, digital picture manipulation and video editing.

In line with the HFBK’s interdisciplinary study policy, students of this subject will also learn about related disciplines and finding a place for their own artistic ambitions in the wider contexts of art and image production, which includes both older and newer technical media (photography, film, video and computer).

Semestereröffnung und Hiscox-Preisverleihung 2020

On the evening of November 4, the HFBK celebrated the opening of the academic year 2020/21 as well as the awarding of the Hiscox Art Prize in a livestream - offline with enough distance and yet together online.

Art defies Corona: Graduate Show 2020

With a two-month delay, the Graduate Show took place this year on the 19 and 20 September. More than 140 students showed their artistic graduation projects, from painting to sound installation.

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

New articles at is the social network of the HFBK. It opens a digital forum for exchange and discussion in which students, teachers, guest authors, art critics and the interested public provide a wide range of content and perspectives.

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?

Annual Exhibition 2020 at the HFBK

The HFBK’s traditional annual exhibition („Jahresausstellung“) opens in February every year. For three days the students – from first-years to post-graduates – present a broad spectrum of their current work and projects from all the different departments. All classrooms, studios and halls in the building are used. Interested visitors are cordially invited to gain an impression of the art currently being created at the HFBK.