The monumental interior in the empty building of the CEU just kept pounding my footsteps. Although the Central European University has been operating in Vienna since September 2019, with the exception of smaller courses, life sometimes flares up in the central building on Nádor Street, including the Freeszfe Association. They mainly conduct their film and other training here, and even the CEU dormitory has accommodated sixty students. I was just taking one of Freesfe’s training classes because I was wondering how their education was going on.
The Freeszfe Association was established after the change of model of the University of Theater and Film Arts to provide an opportunity for students who, due to the change and its circumstances, did not see the conditions for freedom of education and autonomous creative work at SZFE. This is the Emergency Exit diploma rescue program, in which foreign universities recognize education at the Freeszfe Association, thereby giving students a degree and an escape route.
In addition, Freeszfe launched its own adult training in the fall of 2021, and in the spring of this year, two departments can say they have received their certification from them. But what does artistic communication and theater and performance training mean? That’s what we followed.
Artistic Communication is a hands-on training course designed to train communication professionals who can work in the theatrical and cinematic fields, but also in the civil sphere. During the training period from September to May, students were able to acquire quite a variety of yet interdependent knowledge, which I gained insight into when I sat down as a silent observer for one of the classes in the art communication class.
Everything must be understood
An art communication specialist must simultaneously understand how to write a critique, organize a festival, compile a program booklet. You need to know what counts as a good photo, you need to be aware of legal issues, press ethics. Important knowledge is how to write an application, how community funding works, how to plan a press and public relations campaign, and how to produce social media content.
Judit Veszprémi, the head of the training department, told the following about the first art communication department:
I invented this training. My goal was to try and try to pass on all the practical experience I have gained over the last 20 years and train PR and press professionals who are at home in all areas. We also had an hour when I told them the biggest blunders of the last 20 years to keep them from running into situations like this. The department also took part in the life of the Freeszfe, they organized the charity auction in December, and in May they had the Freeszemle exam, where they did everything from program fiction to ticket collection. In addition to the instructors, we always invited guests to talk to and ask questions.
Guests also covered a fairly large area. Among other things, they were accompanied by a photographer, graphic artist, actress Dóra Szinetár, TV editor István Fehér, Péter Kolosi, director of RTL, András Hajós, Attila Till, influencer Kiss, journalist Bálint Kovács or documentary director Tamás Almási.
I called László Majtényi because the ethical approach to marketing was very important throughout the training so that they knew what their rights and responsibilities were. We have dealt specifically with labor rights, the abuse of power. This year, a specialist, Dr. Zita Rihay-Kovács, will teach this in her class. But I also wanted art not to be treated as just artistic and independent theater. That’s why they learn musician theater knowledge, as well as how to fill a 2,000-seat auditorium, and they certainly deal with the tabloid as well. It has long been my obsession that it is not possible to do this profession with fingertips, snobbery, and in fact, if we look closely at situations, it turns out that we have been working on stereotypes for years.
One road, lots of forks
As I spent my Saturday afternoon in one of the classes in the art communication department, I thought it was really a piece of knowledge to get a job in because “supply is greater than demand”. This assumption was confirmed by Judit Veszprémi, from whom we learned that there are 14 graduates who work for the Hungarian House of Music, some who go to a publishing house or RTL Club, some who go to a marketing agency, some who go to an independent theater, some who have a theatrical press has become, and there is one that Freeszfe has contracted.
All of these jobs were obtained through us, we gave them contacts or specifically helped them.
In the other class, five graduated from the theater and performance training. The course is advertised for those who want to present a future, realistic, own project / production, but also to take part in them. This course is for those who feel motivated to redefine theater for themselves and others, who want to deal with contemporary theater, and who are interested in theatrical research and development, innovation, and experimentation.
Theater and performance is a mentor-based training framework that has followed students ’own projects throughout the year. The focus of their education is on the whole creative process – from the topic to the production organization and rehearsals to the presentation.
So this course has been more for those who have some background knowledge, do not like to think about theater within a pre-determined framework. The head teacher was László Hudi, a director-choreographer, and mentors and guest teachers also enriched the training.
The application deadline for the trainings starting in the autumn was June 5. In addition to the specialties mentioned above, trainings called community theater, sound training: speech and personal theater were announced.
(Cover image: Freeszfe)