Theatre and Performance Studies

About the major

In Theatre and Performance Studies we look at a broad range of aesthetic, social and everyday performances: across theatre, dance or ‘live art’ and the stage, to the performative dimensions of politics, sport, cinema and popular culture. As a Theatre and Performance Studies major you will explore a range of different approaches to performance making, devise short works, and engage with professional artists-in-residence. While this program does not provide vocational training, it functions as a window onto professional practice. As well as developing practical skills in workshops, you will attend a wide variety of performances, learn how to document them, how to describe the way spaces and architecture are used, how bodies are moving, and how to build these observations into a detailed critical analysis.

Performance, as a conceptual lens, also provides a powerful way of interpreting many non-theatrical events, using both theoretical and critical approaches from a diversity of disciplines, including theatre and movement studies, anthropology, history, philosophy and sociology. A Theatre and Performance Studies major provides a strong theoretical basis for students who seek to later train as performers, directors, teachers, arts administrators, or those who wish to work in related areas of the arts and cultural practice.

Requirements for completion

A major in Theatre and Performance Studies requires 48 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 3000-level core units
(iv) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units
(v) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project unit

A minor in Theatre and Performance Studies requires 36 credit points from Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units

First year

In first year, you are able to take two Theatre and Performance Studies units of study, each respectively focussing upon two major strands in theatre practice: first, the politically-oriented dramaturgy of Bertolt Brecht, and second, the alternative visions of performance offered by the avant-garde, from the Dadaists, through Artaud, and into the rich, varied, and often confronting work of contemporary performance artists. In both units, you will be invited to explore the key ideas about performance through performance itself, working in small groups to create work, and to develop the knowledge and skills involved in understanding what is going on in these practices, how they might be created and interpreted, and how they contribute to our senses of ourselves and the worlds in which we live.

Second year

Second year units in Theatre and Performance Studies build on the knowledge and conceptual skills developed in First Year, turning towards both a deepening of understanding of artistic performance in units investigating the performance processes involved in working with, for example, Shakespeare’s texts or in Commedia dell’Arte, and an extension of these kinds of understanding into other kinds of cultural performance, from the construction of identities in everyday life to large scale events such as festivals and ceremonies. You will develop the methodological and analytical tools with which to approach cultural phenomenon which are, by their nature, embodied and transient.

Third year

In third year, Theatre and Performance Studies units take up key issues in performance theory in depth, applying the theoretical, methodological and analytical tools developed in the first two years to different areas of inquiry, from looking at the processes of acting in different contexts and approaches to the study of rehearsal, to those of playwrights as they develop new writing for performance, through to experiences of ritual and play.

Honours

Our honours year brings theory and practice together. It involves specialised seminars, a research thesis on an individual topic and a detailed case study based on first-hand fieldwork. Honours students become a valued part of the department’s research culture.

If you commenced your degree prior to 2018: Admission to honours requires a major in Theatre and Performance Studies with an average of 70% or above plus completion of PRFM3961 Rehearsal Studies.

If you commenced your degree in 2018: Admission to honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in Theatre and Performance Studies with an average of 70% or above plus completion of PRFM3961 Rehearsal Studies. You will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major, prior to commencing honours.

Advanced Coursework

The requirements for advanced coursework in Theatre and Performance Studies are described in the degree resolutions for the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies.

24-36 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Contact and further information

Department of Theatre and Performance Studies website: sydney.edu.au/arts/performance/
School of Literature, Art and Media website: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/slam/

Undergraduate Coordinator: Dr Glen McGillivray
Phone: +61 2 9351 6833
Email:

Honours Coordinator: Dr Amanda Card
Phone: +61 2 9351 8253
Email:

Example pathways

Theatre and Performance Studies Major

 

Year 1

Sem 1

PRFM1601

Making Theatre: Process & Collaboration

1000 level unit

1000 level unit

1000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

Sem 2

PRFM1602

Dangerous Performances

1000 level unit

1000 level unit

1000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

 

Year 2

Sem 1

PFRM2601

Being There: Theories of Performance

2000 level unit

2000 level unit/OLE

2000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

Sem 2

PRFM2602 Performance: Production & Interpretation

2000 level unit

2000 level unit/OLE

2000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

 

Year 3

Sem 1

PRFM3961

Rehearsal Studies

3000 level unit from the Theatre & Performance Studies major table

3000 level unit in another major from Table A or S

2000/3000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

Sem 2

3000 level unit from the Theatre & Performance Studies major table

PRFM3999 Interdisciplinary project unit

3000 level unit in another major from Table A or S

3000 level unit in another major from Table A or S