With its approximately 1,500 students, the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague is the largest arts school in the Czech Republic. Its large number of applicants and demanding entrance examinations enable AMU to maintain a high level of selectivity in all three of its faculties. The number of students remains stable, the drop-out rate is consistently low, and graduates’ success on the job market is high. AMU offers its students the opportunity to further develop their talents and to refine their specific personal presentation in the areas of theatre, film, music and dance. It provides them with a deep immersion into their respective disciplines in the context of European culture, and enables them to identify their own place in Czech culture, which is determined by a unique blend of artistic, social and political life. AMU offers its pedagogues a workplace at the very centre of innovation in accredited artistic fields and at a leading arts research institution, which create good conditions for the development of all forms of study and research in the arts. AMU opens up a space for pedagogical activity to a significant number of experts from professional circles, and thus also draws on flexible feedback, makíng it possible to continuously update the instruction according to current professional standards. It provides the same space to the best doctoral graduates, and endeavours to secure funding for their starting positions.
For the public, AMU not only enriches cultural life with theatre and dance performances, film screenings, concerts and their other artistic enterprises developed by their students, teachers and graduates, but also facilitates the proliferation of artistic fields outside of artistic circles, thus contributing to the cultivation of public space.
The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague was established on 27 October 1945 by Decree No. 127 of President Edvard Beneš “on the Establishment of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague as a higher education institution”. The first academic year was 1946/1947. Section 1 of this decree reads as follows: “This university has 4 fields: music, drama, dance and film.” Over time, some of the fields have become faculties, and the Academy of Performing Arts has moved into several historic buildings in the centre of Prague. The Film and Television Faculty (FAMU, the Film and TV School) is now located in Lažanský Palace on the Vltava waterfront, the Theatre Faculty (DAMU) is located in Kokořovský Palace in Karlova Street, and the Music and Dance Faculty (HAMU) is located in two buildings in Prague’s Lesser Town (Malá Strana): Lichtenštejnský Palace and Hartigovský Palace. A common space for all three faculties is the newly reconstructed burgher house U Bílého jelena, located at the upper end of Tržiště Street in Prague’s Lesser Town. The AMU Student Residence Hall and the FAMU Studio, both located in Prague’s Old Town constitute a unique dislocation and thus characterise the entire school with an unparalleled genius loci.