Department of Performance Studies

Performance Studies considers the whole extended field of aesthetic, social and everyday performance across a range of cultural and historical contexts: from theatre, dance, popular music and contemporary performance through to the performative dimensions of rituals, sport, politics and the law. This is an exciting area of interdisciplinary study (drawing, for instance, on anthropology, history, cultural studies, theatre studies, musicology, dance and movement studies) in which we seek to explain the phenomenon of performance as a complex, collaborative endeavour, involving performers and audiences alike in the production of meaning, feelings, a view of the world as it is and as it might otherwise be.

The Department of Performance Studies at Sydney University was one of the first to be established in the world and regularly attracts visiting academics from the US, Europe and Asia who come to observe our unique program. Some of our graduates move into professional theatre, dance, production management, drama teaching or arts administration. Others use insights from this discipline and the research skills they have acquired to inform their careers in law, medicine, public administration, foreign affairs and so on. As a leading centre for performance research, we also have many students who undertake postgraduate study and teach at tertiary level.

Latest News

  • Welcome to visiting scholar Dr Penelope Woods

    As part of the SLAM Visiting Research Fellowship Scheme, Dr Penelope Woods, Research Associate at UWA for the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (1100-1800), will be working with the Department of Performance Studies from October 2014 to March 2015.

  • Health Humanities Research Initiative

    You are invited to participate in a new Health Humanities research collaborative. The health humanities offer insights into the human condition as it pertains to the arts and sciences of healing and deepens understanding of disease and wellness, pain and suffering, personhood, the nature of death and dying, embodied experience, and the limits of technological knowledge. This collaborative will apply for node status with the Charles Perkins Centre.

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