- Please mention about the school and its mission/vision and various infrastructural facilities.
CISPA offers a performing arts training that is not just an alternative to existing acting courses in Denmark and Europe, but a unique approach to the essence of being an actor. Apart from being highly skilled actors, we envision the performers of the 21st century as entrepreneurs, cultural agents, producers, and not least fully-fledged artists. To realize this vision, we emphasize training both the mind and body as one cohesive, poetic mindbody. Our student body is diverse, hailing from across Europe and select global regions. We prioritize a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and transnational focus in our training, integrating cultural and social entrepreneurship as key components in an international learning environment.
CISPA occupies a unique space in the diverse and vibrant Nørrebro area of Copenhagen, Denmark; a residence equipped with three studios, a dance studio, office space, and a student lounge with a kitchen, offering a comprehensive and dynamic environment for our students.
- Kindly mention the prominent personality of the school and his/her role in the development of the school.
Lars Henning and Maibritt Saerens are key figures at CISPA, each contributing significantly to its development.
Lars is the main person responsible for shaping the school’s academic and artistic direction, pedagogical approach and praxis, and international collaborations. He trained as an actor at Drama Centre London. His most prominent mentor was the renowned Yat Malmgren, whose innovative Movement Psychology System, developed through his collaboration with the legendary Rudolf Laban, enjoys worldwide recognition. This system amalgamates Laban’s movement theory and practice with Jungian psychology and key elements of Stanislavski’s Method.
Subsequently, Lars has performed in numerous productions nationally and internationally, before starting his directing and teaching career in 2000. Since then, he’s taught and directed around 45 theatre productions in Denmark, England, Scotland, Canada, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Maibritt is co-responsible for training content and pedagogical approach. She is an award-winning actress with roles ranging from Shakespeare to contemporary cinema, and she became “national property” as Søs in the big DR TV-series Krøniken (2004-07), a position that hasn’t waned since.
She is a highly experienced teacher in acting technique, including camera technique and mask work. She is an accredited teacher of the Chubbuck Technique and during the last 20 years, she has received master class training from arguably one of the most respected and unique acting teachers in Denmark, Finn Hesselager.
Lars and Maibritt’s combined efforts have profoundly influenced CISPA’s growth and reputation in the performing arts.
- What new services or activities did you establish at your school?
From the first year, our focus goes beyond offering students the tools and methodology for a successful international acting career. In our opinion the role of a modern performer needs to be redefined into that of an active, artistic collaborator and social/cultural entrepreneur.
Our unique approach to the training emphasizes this through the nurturing of analytical and reflective skills, alongside guidance of our students through independent projects, designed for them to discover their unique artistic voice.
This process concludes in the third year with two key components. Firstly, the culminating Thesis, a hybrid essay paired with a lecture performance, offering a highly personalized format that stems from the student’s research and reflections.
And secondly, the Entrepreneurship Project in which students are tasked with conceptualizing and executing a thirty to forty-minute performance, encompassing artistic vision, philosophical context, and cultural relevance. This project involves collaboration with a team of performers and other collaborators, culminating in a production presented to the public.
- Please mention what steps are you taking beyond the traditional curriculum to ensure overall development of the students?
CISPA focuses on the overall development of students through holistic training, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary education, and an open-door culture that encourages exchange between students, teachers, and management, promoting mutual respect, trust, and personal empowerment. Class sizes are kept small (approx. 12 students per year group) to ensure that each student receives a high level of individual attention and guidance.
- What steps does the school take to motivate and develop the students’ interest towards education?
At CISPA, we’ve adopted a holistic approach to ignite and encourage our students’ passion for learning. From the onset of their training, we treat our actors as both practice researchers and cultural entrepreneurs. This foundational principle is vital in sparking and maintaining their curiosity throughout their educational journey.
Our learning environment is inherently dialectical. We encourage a dynamic interplay of ideas, where students actively participate in dialogues, sharing their insights and experiences. This not only fosters a culture of mutual growth but also extends beyond the confines of traditional classroom interactions, influencing all aspects of their education at CISPA.
Central to our philosophy is the Humboldtian model of higher education “Bildung”, an educational ideal that intertwines philosophy and personal development. We focus on harmonizing the mind and heart, nurturing the actor’s identity and self-awareness, and integrating these within the broader societal fabric.
Embodied knowledge is another cornerstone of our training. We guide students to blend intellectual understanding with their physical and emotional experiences, a practice crucial for authentic and organic performances. In line with the post-critical tradition, we emphasize reflective learning and the practical application of knowledge. This approach hones our students’ critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.
We believe in the power of personalized learning. Each student is encouraged to develop their unique set of tools and methodologies, facilitating continuous personal and professional growth. This is complemented by regular individual feedback sessions, offering tailored guidance and support.
Beyond academic rigor, we also advocate self-cultivation outside the classroom. Engaging with diverse fields like society, politics, science, literature, and the arts enriches their perspectives and artistic praxis.
We’re committed to providing an engaging, reflective, and comprehensive educational environment. Our aim is not just to educate but to inspire and equip our students for a fulfilling career in the performing arts.
- How are you providing financial assistance to the students in need?
We are unfortunately not in a position to offer direct financial assistance at the moment, but prices are kept deliberately low to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the possibility to begin their artistic career with us.
- What makes your school unique?
CISPA’s unique blend of diverse mindbody methodologies, our focus on cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural competencies, personal and artistic autonomy, and our active participation in international collaborative practice research distinguish us in the field of performing arts education. As the sole English-speaking school for performing arts with a full level 6 certification in Copenhagen, our students travel from all over Europe to join CISPA.
Our teachers, as passionate about training the next generation of artists as we are, follow our students’ journey through the entirety of the 3-year training. This journey is further enhanced by select guest teachers and workshops, ensuring a diverse and constantly evolving educational experience for our students.
- What are some ways you keep up with changes in education trends?
We continually assess and develop our methodologies and tools, actively participating in transnational platforms for collaborative practice research, and hosting international conferences.
- Please enlighten us about the school’s major awards/achievements, its accomplished/renowned alumni, remarkable collaborations, and major accreditations.
CISPA graduates have established themselves as accomplished professionals both domestically and internationally. Their achievements are diverse and impressive, spanning from starring roles in Netflix productions and in national and regional theater productions. As entrepreneurs many have also successfully secured funding for their own creative endeavors, including theater productions and television shows. This breadth of success showcases the impact of CISPA’s training on their careers.
On an institutional level CISPA collaborates with numerous theatre artists, theatres, universities, and research centers around the world.
- Kindly elaborate about the future plans of the school in the same.
We are planning to set up an Alumni Theatre and a One Year Foundation Course in the near future.