30 years De Kleine Academie


After graduating in linguistics and philosophy, Luc De Smet goes to the theatre school of Jacques Lecoq in Paris. With fellow students he puts together two successful performances, both widely acclaimed as new, difficult to classify and generating a lot of workshops at home and abroad, some for theatre companies, others for universities and art schools. He also gains a sound reputation as an acting coach for his colleagues in various companies. 

The idea of starting his own school was an obvious outcome. On January 20th 1986 De Kleine Academie starts in Brussels in a building that happened to be the former studio of Hergé, the creator of Tintin. The name of the school is a modest salute to the Academy of Plato where arts and crafts and sciences mingled together, in a maybe somewhat idealized view. The workshops preceding the foundation of De Kleine Academie worked in that mentality. Participants are artists from other disciplines, scientists, professional actors and beginners. Together they realize highly intelligent projects without losing the touch of genuine playfulness and nimble creativity. A spirit which is embedded in De Kleine Academie's DNA.  The reputation of the school is growing fast. In the beginning there's a two year program: a first year training observation and play abilities through movement and impro and a second year visiting the main styles of theatre history. The Kleine Academie is clearly inspired by the pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq but has also already a clear profile of her own, developed in the various workshops.


An increasing demand on behalf of the students for repertory training ads a third year to the program but soon the second and third year become one whole where the research on the 'mechanics' of styles such as tragedy, melodrama, comedy a.o. and their related repertory are closely intertwined. Altogether the separation between second and third year disappears; after completing the first year the students go through a two year program. More advanced actors meet with the relatively less experienced ones freshly coming from the first year, a stimulating encounter. 

Now De Kleine Academie is bound for a new approach. The first year remains unchanged, the 'second and third years' unit disappears to give way to a series of autonomous modules and projects forming together a coherent architecture providing much more possibilities to link the tradition with today. After a thirty years journey De Kleine Academie comes back to her original roots: a strong and unique pedagogical project, a permanent lab and workspace for actors and theatre people where other disciplines are welcome to share their and ours knowledge and experience. The pedagogical principles, the philosophy of De Kleine Academie remain what they are, proven by experience; the means to put them Into practice are constantly evolving and developing. The story isn't finished, tomorrow's theatre calls for action …