Baltazar Art Centre
Baltazar Theatre has been operating its very own professional arts educational system since 1999. Within this system it’s particularly important that the participants receive first-hand knowledge – that is, it must come from contemporary artists. The arts educational elements can be studied one by one, but we also provide an opportunity for our students to engage in all available branches of the arts. Classes typically consist of 6-10 people, led by a teacher or someone who has already proved him- or herself in training actors. The relatively small groups ensure that teachers are able to pay enough attention to every student, which in turn enables them to develop continuously. In our courses the students learn acting, from artists, at a high level. The group of course leaders consists of the professionals who have already proved themselves in Baltazar Theatre’s twenty-year actor training programme, as well as those with great professional knowledge, who have only recently joined us.
The history of Baltazar Arts Centre
The issue of further education for people with special needs remains unsolved in Hungary. There is no opportunity for them to freely choose their profession or school; even today, competence-based education receives too little emphasis. Of the educational programmes for disabled people, few provide an opportunity for self-expression. Baltazar Theatre’s professional arts education programme is unique, as it gives the students a high-level, non-therapeutic education.
We created Baltazar Arts Centre in 2005, over a 500 sq. metre area of a downtown apartment building. Our goal was to make our education programme (which had already worked well within the Theatre) available to all disabled and other applicants. The sheer amount of space we had, as well as the continuous and lively interest made it possible for us to launch numerous educational units. We created a complex arts education programme that also allowed students to engage in individual branches of the arts.
By 2006, the following classes had been made available at the Arts Centre: elocution, yoga, tai-chi, fine arts, self-defence, rhythmic movement development – folk dance, dance and body studies. Classes were attended by people looking for a new leisure time activity, as well as those who wanted to get deeply engaged in a branch of the arts.
When the building was demolished, we had to temporarily suspend our courses.
In May 2007, our theatre moved to a place of its own, where – due to the comparative lack of space – the Arts Centre could only operate with four groups. The drastic reduction in the number of educational units, as well as the ever-expanding activities of Baltazar Theatre, made it more and more difficult every year to operate the Arts Centre.
In November 2012, the Arts Centre moved to its current location in the 3rd district of Budapest – more precisely, in the neighbourhood of old Aquincum. Thanks to the generous donations of Denmark-based Velux Foundations, the location is now owned by the Baltazar Theatre Foundation and we now have Baltazar House, where we await all students in a spacious and modern environment, but with the same friendly atmosphere. Four different classes are currently available, but we are planning to launch more in the near future.
The fact that our theatre now had its own home also meant several new possibilities for the Arts Centre. For example, at the end of every semester or school year, the acting and puppetry students can now present what they’ve learned to a live audience in the Auditorium. And since 2013, the Arts Centre has held week-long summer camps every year, which attract more and more students, even from beyond Budapest.