Overview of research in the department

The Department of Theatre and Performance Studies pioneered the discipline of Performance Studies in Australia, and continues to be pre-eminent in the field. We contributed to the university’s ranking as above world standard in the 2015 ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) assessments in Performing Arts and Creative Writing, the highest ranking awarded to any university in our discipline.

Current research clusters in the Department centre around: 20th century Australian theatre, performance and dance history; historical rehearsal and performance practices in Europe, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries; performance and health; and creative practice as research.

Areas of research expertise

Twentieth century Australian theatre and dance history is a core research interest for a number of staff members, and extends to the university’s own significant contribution, with a history of the Sydney University Dramatic Society from its origins in 1889 to the present day.

Our research into historical rehearsal processes and performance practices in Europe spans the period from the late 16th century to the 19th century. Contemporary rehearsal studies as a discipline was founded in our Department, and we are drawing on this expertise to extend our research into the unexplored field of historical rehearsal studies, with an emphasis on performance preparation in England, Italy and Germany. Similarly, our expertise in the analysis of contemporary acting and performance is complemented by research currently being undertaken into 18th century acting practice in England.

Collaborating with individuals and organisations both within the university and in the broader community, TaPS has developed strong research strengths in performance and health, examining issues such as actors’ wellbeing and using applied theatre techniques in the training of medical students.

Members of the Department all have backgrounds in professional theatre, dance and performance which inform their teaching and research. Our collaborative creative practice as research projects have culminated in highly successful productions which have toured nationally and internationally.

Further details

More information about our research projects and achievements can be found on our staff research profiles, and those of our Honorary Associates. We welcome enquiries about postgraduate research and visiting research fellowships.