International and cross-cultural education

Aiming for a career profile that might encompass Hollywood, Broadway & the Westend (and Off-/Off-off-), Sundance, Montreal, Berlin, Avignon, Tampere, Edinburgh, HBO, Netflix, BBC etc. is the natural consequence of the global mobility that also the performing arts enjoy. But in order to be able to meet the high and varied demands posed on the international scene, the performer must have both an outstanding training that engenders both personal and artistic autonomy and robustness, cross-cultural competencies, and experience with entrepreneurship over their own projects.

At CISPA we are proud to provide a comprehensive training that encompasses all of those aspects.

The Methodological Training

The starting point of the training at CISPA is the being of each individual as a part of the collective. The performing artist is trained to expose and hone the correlation between the physical, psychological and metaphysical elements of human nature. They must be able to utilise and coordinate their entire sensory apparatus, intellectual capacity, intuitive and instinctive impulses and emotional depth in order that the correlation between body, mind and soul manifest itself in an original artistic expression.

This approach stands in line with the post-critical tradition of the mindbody, coined, amongst others, by the American philosopher William H. Poteat. In contrast to the dominant Cartesian divide of mind and body into two separate entities, Poteat argues that mind and body cannot possibly be separated and thus any reflection under the assumption of such a separation must be seriously distorted. Instead he suggests that persons possess neither minds nor bodies, but mindbodies, and that all our perceptive senses are first fundamentally combined in a pre-lingual level of understanding, from which all higher thought, feeling and action are educed.

Thus, the acting student must learn to tap into and develop their sensorial connectedness with, and pre-lingual perception of the world, in order to employ them creatively, and deliberately harness them within a specific artistic form.

At CISPA this embrace of mind and body as undividable unfolds in three major ways:

—Firstly, it is an important step towards a unified training that facilitates both practice (physical doing), and subsequent embodied reflection which in turn informs and advances further practice.

— Secondly, building on the concepts of embodiment and the mindbody, CISPA pursues a holistic approach to learning, teaching and research.

— Thirdly, in the methodology: Contemporary Method Acting, drawing on both physical, psychological, and psychophysical actor training traditions, is firmly rooted in the premise that we as human beings exist and express ourselves as mindbodies with all of our physical and mental properties inextricably merged in every aspect of our lives. Building on this premise, the training enables the performer to embody not only their given character and performance, but engage with the theatrical experience from a reciprocal mindbody perspective, where inner phenomena are manifested in outer expression, and vice versa.

Thus, the CISPA training guides the student to develop a holistic and existential approach to acting technique. An approach to life and human beings that challenges habitual thinking and rigid, presumed truths about ourselves as humans.

Furthermore, an essential part of this existential approach to the actor training, is the interplay and reciprocity between the individual and the group. In all aspects, the performer must practice being in relation to a collective entity: the ensemble, the audience, society, humanity. As both practitioners and scholars in the field of performance theory have stated: The transcendence of one’s habitual sense of self into the creative state of mind can be fundamentally described as a yielding to the flow of life utterances which stem from a collective unconscious, an inherent unconscious part of our psyche, which is shared between us as humans across all culturally and socially constructed barriers.

By the end of the training, the students have developed into versatile actors, who are capable of channeling all kinds of dramatic material into mindbody actions in relation to a collective entity. The students must master the interpreting, inhabiting, performing and contextualising of any kind of role, in any kind of performative context, medium and genre, through the use of both analytical and intuitive acting tools.

Furthermore, throughout their training, students gain competencies within social and cultural entrepreneurship. This includes cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural and transnational competencies and practices (what the German philosopher Hans‐Georg Gadamer calls a fusion of horizons), which equip graduates with the skill- and mindset to conceive, devise, rehearse, perform, produce and manage co-creational, artistic projects, using different performative media, and implementing these projects not only as artistic endeavours, but as expressions of active (world) citizenship.

International profile – international teachers

As well as a core group of CPH based teachers (Danish and international), we have the commitment of an impressive network of experienced teachers from USA, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Iceland, Italy and Canada.

Meet our teachers

Students from all over Europe

About 30 students are currently in their 1st, 2nd or 3rd year of training at CISPA They come from various European countries: e.g. Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Austria. We consider it an essential part of the artistic endeavor that students and teachers with different national, cultural and social backgrounds inspire and challenge each other in a mutual striving for artistic excellence and originality.

Meet our students

Development of the methodological approach

At CISPA we take pride in our collaboration with these national and international guest teachers and directors with various methodological approaches, who all contribute to the theoretical and practical development of a contemporary acting methodology. We engage teachers and directors, who, like us, are solidly rooted in a methodological tradition, but who’re interested in contributing to further research and mutual exchange for the benefit of both teachers and students.

About the training

We’re dedicated to bringing in internationally acclaimed directors for graduation productions. In addition, we make use of an extensive international network to identify the most exciting up-and-coming directors (in Denmark and abroad) within all performative media.