Theatre Arts & Performance Studies

Performance Studies

The Performance Studies track offers a base for students interested in a variety of performance forms, performance media, or in intermedia art.

A concentrator in this track will study the multiple modes in which live performance articulates culture, negotiates difference, constructs identity, and transmits collective historical traditions and memories. Because Performance Studies is not primarily invested in one performance mode over another (such as theatre or dance), a concentrator will gain exposure to a broad spectrum of global performance modes. Studying ritual, play, game, festival, spectacle and a broad spectrum of “performance behaviors” under the umbrella of Performance Studies, a concentrator will graduate having investigated the role of performance in culture, including performative acts in everyday life, political enactment, ritual behavior, aesthetic or representational practices, and social role or the performance of subjectivity.

The history of aesthetic performance practices (such as the histories of theatre and/or dance) will be an important part of this track, serving to ground inquiry into the broader spectrum of performance study. Students will craft their electives on this track from a wide selection of courses both within the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and across the university. The study of performance behavior across mediums such as dance, theatre, ritual, and orature allows for geographic and historical flexibility as not all cultures parse theatre from dance, nor, historically, genres of religious or political ritual from genres of entertainment, play, or game. Participation in practical classes in modes of performance is also required.


  • Course 1: TAPS 0700: Introduction to Theatre, Dance and Performance
  • Courses 2-4, three (3) of the following classes:
    • TAPS 1230 Global Theatre and Performance: Paleolithic to the Threshold of Modernity
    • TAPS 1240 Performance Historiography and Theatre History
    • TAPS 1250 Twentieth-Century Western Theatre and Performance
    • TAPS 1280Y Issues in Performance Studies
  • Courses 5-6, two (2) primarily academic courses from within the Department with Performance Studies content to be selected with your advisor, such as (but not limited to):
    • TAPS 1280N New Theories for a Baroque Stage
    • TAPS 1380 Mise en Scene
    • TAPS 1630 Performativity and the Body
    • TAPS 1640 Theatre and Conquest
    • TAPS 1690 Performance, Art and Everyday Life
    • TAPS 1425 Queer Performance
  • Courses 7-8: Two (2) full credit courses based in performance craft in either Dance, Acting, Directing, Playwriting, Speech, Design, Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Music, or Africana Studies approved by the concentration advisor.
  • Courses 9-10: Two (2) additional courses in the academic study of performance and performance culture(s) from either within TAPS or throughout the university in consultation with advisor.

Other Tracks

Theatre Arts track combines the study of dramatic literature, theatre history, performance theory, and studio work.
The Dance track of the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies concentration engages students in the study of dance, movement and other forms of kinesthetic performance.