The World Theatre Training Library / Laboratory

artistic director: Dr. Jurij Alschitz

programme director: Christine Schmalor

The Spectrum of the Project

“The World Theatre Training Library / Laboratory” is a project that collects, studies, documents and preserves the worldwide knowledge of theatre practice and gives it back to the world.

The idea of strengthening cultural diversity is mission statement of the project.

WTTL is an international research project that aims to fulfil the rules of good scientific practice.

WTTL is an international cooperation project among artists and scientists. It cultivates the international dialogue and it supports intercultural education.

Initiator and operating institute of the project is the International Theatre Centre AKT-ZENT in Berlin in close cooperation with the International Theatre Institute ITI – NGO in informal associate relations with UNESCO.

Aims and Intentions

“The World Theatre Training Library” is the most comprehensive collection of worldwide existing theatre training methods and exercises. It brings together all different theatre traditions and schools. It is explicitly dedicated to existing practical theatre work and therefore of practical benefit.

“The World Theatre Training Laboratory” is dedicated to scientific researches on the universality of the medium theatre and will document its results scientifically.

The level of knowledge will be brought together in researches and studies all over the world. The concentration of the research will be put on those working methods and trainings that have proven their merit and their value in the practical work.

Beside the methods of the big masters of drama theatre, the research will direct its special attention on best-practices of innovative, experimental and interdisciplinary working artists, and on those artists that bring together the art of drama with local performing traditions. To find those artists, a global network of renowned directors and theatre scientists will work together.

An international group of actors, theatre students and experts will study, proof and realize the collected methods and exercises in “The World Theatre Training Laboratory”. The results of the labo­ra­tory will be always presented in open rehearsals, demonstrations, lectures and performances.

Intention of the laboratory is to impart to its participants the skills, the knowledge and the intercultural competence to understand and to use their art as a valuable media in the intercultural dialogue. Following the idea of “Training the Trainers” Master Programmes are set up for different regions in Mexico, the Philippines, Korea, Burkina Faso a.o. Young teachers meet to create new exercises for new pedagogical and methodological way of teaching theatre. They form the basis for a completely new education of culturally multifaceted actors. They are the initiators of intercultural exchange by the means of theatre.

The purpose of the publication of “The World Theatre Training Library” is, to provide to the theatre makers of the world the wealth of existing working methods and training techniques.

“The World Theatre Training Library” is going to be published worldwide, first in the six UNESCO languages and German, later in further languages as well.

Essential profit of the project is the documentation and preservation of the body of knowledge that arises from all different performing traditions in the world. It contributes to the perpetuation of the volatile treasure theatre as a cultural heritage of the world.

The Contents of “The World Theatre Training Library”

“The World Theatre Training Library” contains descriptions of training methods and exercises from all different corners of the world, whatever historic, stylistic or esthetic background they might have. It will not limit itself to certain art concepts, dogmas or hierarchies.

On this basis “The World Theatre Training Library” proposes an all-embracing conception of Training:

  • training as a method of education
  • training as a way for preparing and analysing the role
  • training as a method to prepare and create a performance

Each training method bears the essence of its respective theatre. The exercises will be presented in such a manner that, getting acquainted with them, it will be possible to learn their theoretical and methodical basis. Each of the following themes, each method and its basic exercises will be accompanied by comments of experts.

Ten volumes are planned in advance. Their themes will be:

  1. Training as Method
  2. Ensemble und Individuality
  3. The Energy and the Actor and the Energy of Acting
  4. Improvisation in den Fetters of Freedom
  5. The Art of Analysis, the Art of Composition
  6. Training of Voice and Movement
  7. The Art of Monologue
  8. The Art of Dialogue
  9. Methods of Self-Preparation and Rehearsal
  10. Theatre Ethics

Background and Motivation

The knowledge about worldwide existing training methods and working techniques are at this stage at disposal for only a small and exclusive circle of theatre makers.

For the developers of “The World Theatre Training Library” it is evident that the innovative development of theatre depends entirely on the progress in the field of training methods. It is difficult to imagine that tomorrow’s theatre can develop without continuous study or constant training

In 1999 Jurij Alschitz founded METHODIKA, the first international festival focusing on the interchange of theatre trainings, and that is held biannually in different locations in Europe. Since then growing interest for well founded educational material has been expressed not only in Europe, but explicitly from Arabic and African countries as well. The apparent international need of this kind of knowledge led to the idea of “The World Theatre Training Library”, which makes the knowledge about educational methods and trainings of theatre on other continents and in other cultural regions accessible to all theatre makers of the world.


The supporting organization is the International Theatre Institute, UNESCO’s partner for the performing arts. Initiator and operating institute is the International Theatre Centre AKT-ZENT in Berlin.

The leadership carries the comprehensive responsibility for the realization of the project:

  • Dr. Jurij Alschitz, Artistic and Scientific Leader, AKT-ZENT
  • Christine Schmalor, programme director of the project, AKT-ZENT,
  • Tobias Biancone, Secretary General of ITI – link to the network of ITI

The Artistic and Scientific Board is responsible for the worldwide research, the study, proof, commenting of training methods and exercises, contribution of texts. Invited members:

  • Jurij Alschitz
  • Satish Alekar, India
  • Eugenio Barba, Denmark
  • César Brie, Bolivia
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Puche, Columbia
  • Anatoli Smeliansky, Russia
  • Tadashi Suzuki, Japan
  • Maria Thais, Brasil
  • Anatoli Vasiliev, Russia

Working group: a growing network of practitioners, pedagogues, directors by invitation providing information, practical support, realising contacts in the different countries

  • Christine Schmalor, coordination, region Europe
  • Apostolos Apostolides, president TECOM, documentation
  • Shafi Ahmed, Bangladesh, vice-president TECOM for the region Asia
  • Nick Lizaso, Philippinen, vice-president TECOM for the region South-East Asia
  • Etienne Minoungou, president ITI Burkina Faso, for the region Africa
  • Mario Espinosa and Elka Fediuk, Mexico; for the region Latin America
  • Further partners such as the Theatre Union of the Russian Federation STD,          the China Theatre Association/Chinese ITI.
  • Freelancer for legal matters (worldwide copy rights, contract issues)

Financing, publishing and distribution

„The World Theatre Training Library / Laboratory“ is a non-profit project. It will be financed, organizationally and logistically supported through partnerships with National Centres of the International Theatre Institute ITI, with publishers, governmental and public programmes, sponsors, foundations and donators.

For all language editions there will be publishing houses all over the world. The distribution of the books will be via the usual canals as well as via the worldwide National Centres of ITI.

A part of the edition will be provided to the National Centres of ITI as free copies to enable them to support especially those schools, theatre organisations and training centres that are not in funds to pay for the book.