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Actor with unkempt hair and back to audience in a still from the play Obscene Madame D by Theatre Kantanka.
Faculties and schools_

Department of Theatre and Performance Studies

The making, presentation and viewing of theatre and performance 
From theatre, dance and other forms of live art to political rallies, sacred rituals and pop stars, we explore all aspects of performance to understand culture, history and ourselves.

As one of the first tertiary performance studies departments in the world, we regularly attract international academic visitors who come to observe our unique program. Our staff are widely recognised researchers in the fields of theatre, dramaturgy, dance, community theatre, music and sport.

Some of our graduates move into professional theatre, dance, production management, drama teaching or arts administration, while others use insights from this discipline and the research skills they have acquired to inform their careers in law, medicine, public administration, social justice and foreign affairs. Many of our students undertake postgraduate study and teach at tertiary level.

Study area

Study area_

Creative arts

Explore the world of the creative arts

No matter where your interests lie, we have courses which will deepen your knowledge and understanding of a rich variety of artistic and cultural practices, preparing you to pursue your visions and passions.

Our research

We are concerned in the broadest possible way with the phenomenon of performance and the processes involved in its production and reception. Some of our areas of expertise include: 

  • 20th century Australian theatre and dance history
  • Historical rehearsal processes and performance practices in Europe
  • Performance and health
  • Creative practice as research.

Current postgraduate research

  • Neil Anderson: Rudolf Steiner's Art of Acting
  • Joseph Appleton: Deviant Bodies/Queer Corporealities
  • Lawrence Ashford: Towards a Dramaturgy of Interactive Theatre
  • Nien Yuan Cheng: Telling/Transgressing 'The Singapore Story': Oral History in Singapore as Performance and Performative
  • James Dalton: A Doctor Prepares: An Ethnographic Account of Medical Students Learning to Perform as Junior Doctors
  • Aine De Paor: Staging Ireland Down Under
  • Peta Downes: Artist or Creative Entrepreneur? The Impact of Creative Industries on Australian Theatre Practice
  • Katrina Foster: Firing the Can(n)on
  • Rowan Greaves: White Faces and Nervous Laughter: Subversive Comedy in Australian Performance
  • Chung Chuen Gabriel Lee: Theatre Directing as Action Research: Testing the Action Research Model
  • Julie Lynch: Costume's Mirror up to Nature
  • Jason Marchant: The existence of dancing
  • Kerrie Roberts: Sex and Power: Reading Gertrude
  • Lisa Schouw: The Performance of Ageing - Somewhere Between Hello and Goodbye
  • Garry Seabrook: The Spectator-Actor Relation in Secondary School EAL Education
  • Lillian Shaddick: Samba Showgirls: Cross cultural practice in Australian popular dance entertainment
  • Matthew Tyne: If You Promise Not to Tell: Creating and analysing a theatre performance based on the experiences of gay Sri Lankan men
  • Harry Werlemann-Godfrey: An Ethnography of the Historically Informed Performance Movement in Sydney 2016-17
  • Ting Zheng: Transformational Role of the Dramaturgy between Drama Production Teams, Critics and Audiences in the Transitional Society of China

Performance Studies in the Rex

The Rex Cramphorn Studio is used by professional artists who work with our staff and students to facilitate research in performance studies. Stay up to date and read about the Rex Cramphorn Studio artist-in-residence program.

Journal: About Performance

Our annual department journal, About Performance, provides a forum for analysis, theory and critique by academic researchers and performance makers. We welcome articles that bring theoretical perspectives derived from other disciplines to bear on performance practice. 

Distributed by Sydney University Press through its online e-store, digital or print copies can be puchased here.

Editor: Tim Fitzpatrick

Our people


Visit the University's What's On calendar to see our upcoming events and seminars.

Banner image: Artists in residence with the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, in the Rex Cramphorn Studio. Theatre Kantanka, Obscene Madame D, 2018. Photo: Heidrun Löhr.

Department Chair

Associate Professor Ian Maxwell

School of Literature, Art and Media