The National Academy for Theatre & Film Arts (NATFA) is Bulgaria’s premier tertiary school and one of the top training European institutions in the fields of Stage and Screen Arts. It was founded in 1948 and remains the only state-funded such educational institution in the country.It is located in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria.
The National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts aspires to give a first-rate professional and academic education to each of its students, to foster their creativity and to broaden their cultural horizons. The academic staff consists of distinguished practising artists, critics, researchers and educators in the field of Stage and Screen Arts, with a deep commitment to their work. The process of applying theory to professional practice is essential to our educational philosophy. The graduates of NATFA acquire a wide range of creative, critical, performing and productive skills and qualifications. Many of them build rewarding careers in Bulgaria and abroad.
Every year NATFA admits approximately 120 students out of which 20 are foreign students.
The Stage Arts Faculty was established in 1948 and since then has contributed enormously to the development of Bulgarian theatre. It is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an intensive and balanced curriculum, providing training for successful professional careers in the sphere of theatre productions and also fostering the individual creative vision and originality of its students. The philosophy and practice of the Stage Arts Faculty recognizes that the training of actors, directors, designers, playwrights and critics needs to occur within an atmosphere in which investigation and learning go hand in hand. The faculty’s teaching staff includes some of the most talented and internationally known practicing directors, actors, theatre critics and scholars. The policy of NATFA also requires all visiting professors to be of the highest caliber and to represent all aspects and genres of performance, thereby giving students access to meet leaders in all fields of the Stage Arts. Students are expected to develop individual and autonomous working methods for their future professions as performance makers and performers. Conceptual development is also an important value in the training and students are expected to investigate their craft intellectually as well as practically.
The Screen Arts Faculty’s initial degree programs were opened in 1973. The curriculum in the faculty combines professional training with studies in the liberal arts. Students are provided with a variety of creative experiences, from basic to advanced, in both the conceptual and production phases of film, TV and video products, classical and computer animation. Electives in the liberal arts are required of all students to ensure that they have the background necessary for participation in a profession that influences attitudes, opinions and ways of thinking in every aspect of human experience. The Screen Arts Faculty is an active member of CILECT and has a representative in its Executive Council. The teaching staff features the most outstanding Bulgarian directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, editors, designers, photographers and critics, having numerously demonstrated their high artistic achievements both in the country and abroad. They not only share their experience but develop their own curricula in the subject areas they teach, providing an individual artistic and methodological approach.
International co-operation at all levels of academic and artistic exchange has always been among the top priorities of NATFA. Its outstanding graduates’ achievements are recognized through yearly participation in more than 80 students’ and professional festivals, workshops, seminars, congresses, conferences and symposia.NAFTA is actively engaged in many international projects in the field of theatre and film arts. Since 1982 NATFA has been a full member of CILECT (Centre International de Liason des Ecoles de Cinema et de Television), since 1990 it has been a full member of ELIA (The European League of Institutes of the Arts). NATFA is also a member of UNIMA (The International Puppeteers Association) and ITI (The International Theatre Institute). It has established long-term contacts with universities and art academies all over the world. We are an active partner in projects developed through ERASMUS, TEMPUS, SOCRATES and other educational programs.
At present NATFA occupies three neighbouring buildings situated in the heart of Sofia. It is surrounded by the National Palace of Culture, the National Drama Theatre, the National Opera House and the National Puppet Theatre. At a walking distance one can also find the biggest open-air book-market in the Balkans, a huge variety of shopping outlets, more than ten modern cinema halls as well as Sofia’s most famous theatres.
The Drama Training Theatre (440 seats). It had its first premiere in 1957 and has functioned since then as a repertory theatre, with six performances per week and at least ten different shows per school year. In addition there are several small stages, used for new and experimental forms and genres, and open to the general public.
The Puppet Training Theatre (80 seats). It opened its doors for audiences in 1966 and since then it has won wide recognition for its innovative works in the field of puppet art. A specially designed puppet workshop is available to students who would like to make their own puppets, guided by professional artists.
The Film and Video Screening Hall (80 seats) has contemporary projection equipment for 35 mm, 16 mm, Beta SP and DVD films. It allows students from all fields to regularly watch classic movies as well as to get acquainted with the latest achievements in the field of audiovisual arts and to meet their authors at workshops and seminars.
The Training Audio-visual Complex includes the Training Cinema Studio, the Training TV Centre and the Digital Multimedia Centre. The Training Cinema Studio has a motion picture studio, a photo studio, a workshop for motion picture equipment, a lighting equipment workshop, a sound recording studio and a video recording studio. The Training TV Centre has two air-conditioned and sound-proof studios (one of them of 150 sq.m. and the other of 50 sq.m.), fully equipped with lighting, round-horizon, green box, with possibility for multi-camera shooting. There is a digital post-production studio and a sound booth for linear editing. The Digital Multimedia Centre consists of 10 specialized stations with computer and audio-visual equipment.
The NATFA Academic Information Centre, has 60 000 volumes of Bulgarian and foreign books. Here one can also find the country’s unique complete catalogued archive of Bulgarian theatre which contains all kinds of printed material (posters, photos, programs, brochures, newspaper and magazine clips, etc.) dating from 1879 to the present. 24 hour Internet facilities are also available there.
Accommodation of all students is possible at reasonable prices in the NATFA hostel situated on the premises of the Sofia Students’ Campus. The campus never stops living and its infrastructure includes sports’ facilities, a wide variety of restaurants, recreational and entertainment centers, a specialized polyclinic hospital, shopping areas, children’s playgrounds and nursery-schools, low-price students’ diners and a convenient transport network.
University website: National Academy of Theatre & Film Arts - Krustyo Sarafov