Der Masterstudiengang „Theorie und Praxis experimenteller Performance“ existiert seit dem Wintersemester 2020/2021.
Die Bewerbung für das Wintersemester 2023/24 ist vom 1. März bis 1. April 2023 möglich. Für nähere Informationen kontaktieren Sie bitte die »Leitung des Campus Gegenwart

Bewerbungsschluss: 01. April 2023
Prüfungszeitraum: Mitte Juni 2023 (evtl. online)
Semesterstart: Oktober 2023

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The MA in Experimental Performance Practice & Theory at HMDK, Stuttgart

Der Masterstudiengang Theorie und Praxis experimenteller Performance an der HMDK Stuttgart


What is Performance?

“As a platform for the examined life, from multiple viewpoints and in many registers, the performance draws filmmakers as well as playwrights, choreographers, composers, architects, and designers into its avant-garde realm. It offers a license for untrammeled invention, and its study necessarily encompasses a plurality of histories, and an understanding of where these intersect.”  – Roselee Goldberg, Performance Now

When we speak about Performance, we are talking about an artistic practice that has come to the forefront of visual art, theatre, music, and dance in the last 20 years, a practice that exists at the intersection between conceptual art, performance art, live art, experimental music, post-dramatic theatre, free improvisation and “dance after choreography”. Performance is a truly interdisciplinary practice, an “intermedia” practice in the words of Dick Higgins.

Dick Higgins’s Intermedia diagram. Image originally published in Dick Higgins, A Dialectic of Centuries: Notes Towards a Theory of the New Arts, Printed Editions, 1978. For our MA, we would fill the circles with question marks with the terms gender theory, queer theory, Gegenwartsästhetik and Theorien des öffentlichen Raums.

Performance is indebted to the emergence of Performance Art at the end of the 1960s, but its roots stretch back further, to the poetry of the Cabaret Voltaire, the intonarumori of the Futurists, Bauhaus costumes and ballet, and the text scores of Fluxus. Central to these works is the fact that more often than not, the artist is the performer – the responsibility for creating, shaping and performing the work lies with them. Rather than following a historical performance tradition, for each work the artist must decide what questions to ask, and which technical skills are necessary to produce the work.

Performance is a practice deeply rooted in lived experience, in what Simone De Beauvoir called “the body as situation.” As Marvin Colson notes, a great deal of performance practitioners “do not base their work upon characters previously created by other artists, but upon their own bodies, their own autobiographies, their own specific experience in a culture or in the world, made performative by their consciousness of them and the process of displaying them for audiences.” Artists may come from any background – theatre, dance, art, poetry, music, puppetry, new media, science, sociology. The technical skills an artist needs will be unique, and differ widely from project to project. This makes Performance an enriching and challenging field to study and teach.

In the last five years alone, many different art schools, conservatoires and universities have launched MA degrees in Performance. Unlike Schauspiel, Oper or Sprechkunst there is no standard history of how to teach Performance. Instead, each MA demonstrates different approaches to Performance; each MA articulates different positions and asks different questions. The questions we are interested in include: how do gender, sexuality, disability and ethnicity play out across different bodies? What are our responsibilities as citizens in a postcolonial world? What might the function of art be, in the face of the current climate emergency? How does science and technology, from social media to our interdependence with the Internet and AI, impact our lives?



HMDK Stuttgart currently offers a selection of world-class BA and MA degrees in Music, Schauspiel, Figurentheater, Composition, Electronic Music, Opera, Sprechkunst and New Music, to name just a few subjects. This means that student of the MA in Experimental Performance Practice will have access to classes across all these discipines. In addition, the HMDK enjoys a close working relationship with the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart (ABK) and Merz Akademie. This means that students enrolled on the MA are free to attend classes at HMDK, ABK as well as MERZ AKADEMIE.

While the MA in Experimental Performance Practice & Theory contains a set of core modules, each student is guided to select the unique set of modules which will allow them to build the conceptual, theoretical and technical skills needed to realise their vision. While the focus is on the creation of practical work, each student’s performance practice is enriched through an engagement with theory.


Application requirements

Der Studiengang ist zweisprachig: deutsch/englisch.

Students from any background are welcome to apply. Applications will be evaluated on the strength of the individual’s previous work and potential.

Application process:

  1. – Bitte füllen Sie folgendes Formular aus / Please fill in your details in the form
  2. – Bitte schicken Sie uns folgende Bewerbungsunterlagen: / Please send us the following application documents:
    – tabellarischer Lebenslauf (1 Seite) /  Tabular CV (1 page)
    – Motivationsschreibens (Deutsch oder Englisch, 1 Seite) / Letter of Motivation (German or English, 1 page)
    – Einzahlungsnachweis (durch Kopie des Kontoauszugs) der Anmeldegebühr von € 50,00 an / Proof of payment (by copying the account statement) of the registration fee of € 50,00 to:
    LOK BA-WÜ/HMDK Stuttgart, Bankverbindung: DE02 6005 0101 7495 5301 02 BIC: SOLADEST600, Verwendungszweck 85872 0000 1142 + Name, Vorname / surname, name
    – Kopie des letzten Schulzeugnisses / Copy of the latest school report
    – Kopien von Hochschulabschlüssen (amtliche Übersetzung bei ausländischen Nachweisen) / Copies of university degrees (official translation of foreign documents)
    – Portfolio der bisherigen performerischen Arbeit (Fotos, Videos, Texte, Kompositionen, Choreografien,…) mit maximal drei Projekt-Dokumentationen. (inkl Links) / portfolio of your recent performance works (photo, video, text, composition, choreography) with max. three project-documentations (including links)
    Einsendung /submission online »here

Eine Auswahl an Bewerber*innen wird zu einem Gespräch (20 Minuten) eingeladen. / A selection of applicants will be invited to a talk (20 minutes)



Students are admitted on a yearly basis, beginning in Winter Semester. Es werden jeweils zum Wintersemester neue Studierende aufgenommen.


Zum Studiengang

Im Masterstudium gibt es Pflichtveranstaltungen und Wahlpflichtveranstaltungen. Sie sind abgebildet in der Tabelle zur Studienordnung. Die Studierenden wählen aus diesem Angebot aus, was sie für ihre Arbeit brauchen, es ist auch möglich, andere praktische Techniken zu erlernen und anrechnen zu lassen, je nach individueller Notwendigkeit.


Bodywork Learning Journal

Each student is guided in building their own physical practice by engaging with a wide variety of different Bodywork classes. Each semester a student selects different classes and workshops both within and outside HMDK – for example Yoga, Feldenkrais, Akrobatik, Stage Fighting, Swing dancing, Tai Chi, Breakdancing, Vogueing, Parkour, Pilates, Wrestling, etc. Each student documents their participation, and reflects on the classes in a Learning Journal which includes written comments as well as a digital archive of short video clips from the classes. Students regularly share their experiences with the group and the Learning Journals will be evaluated as part of Performance Studio. The focus is on individual students taking responsibility for developing their physical skills, with an emphasis on their interests and needs.


Theorien der Performance

In jedem Semester nehmen die Studierenden an mindestens einem Theorieseminar teil und schreiben in der vorlesungsfreien Zeit je eine Hausarbeit (insgesamt drei). So üben sie sich in den Basis-Fähigkeiten des Lesens, der kritischen Diskussion und des Schreibens. Die Theoriemodule werden von Prof. Dr. Christian Grüny betreut. Die Themen der Seminare in Gegenwartsästhetik wechseln in jedem Semester und können auch den Interessen und konkreten Fragestellungen der Studierenden angepasst werden. Zusätzlich werden pflichtgemäß zwei theoretische Veranstaltungen einmalig besucht: Geschichte der Performance und Gendertheorie. Im vierten Semester erarbeiten die Studierenden ihre Thesis, einen theoretischen Text über eine von ihnen selbständig entwickelte Fragestellung, diese steht in Verbindung mit ihrer praktischen Abschlussarbeit.


Technical Skills

Similarly to Bodywork, each student is expected to identify Technical Skills which they need to develop to make their work, and then take relevant classes – for example Audio, Light, camera. This is done in collaboration with the ABK and Merz Akademie, and in consultation with the Teachers.