Performance as Public Practice

The University of Texas at Austin's Performance as Public Practice program focuses on the historical development, cultural and theoretical contexts, and artistic significance of theatre and dance disciplines and institutions, as well as the interrelationships of theatre arts and the role of performance in public spheres. Highly influenced by interdisciplinary work in performance studies, the nationally renowned program offers three degrees: M.A., M.F.A. and Ph.D.

Students have access to world-class research centers such as the Nettie Benson Latin American Collection, the Harry Ransom Center and the LBJ Presidential Library. The Department of Theatre and Dance has interdisciplinary associations Center for Mexican American Studies, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies and Texas Performing Art. The program is also an affiliate member of the Hemipheric Institute.

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"Performance", "Public" and "Practice" are defined as follows:

Theatre, Dance, Culture, Ritual and Identity

Performance reflects and produces cultural, historical and political meanings. Students examine a wide range of performances, text and embodied practices in order to consider the myriad ways in which performance both reflects and makes cultural, historical and political meanings.

Samples of faculty publications:

  • Canning, Charlotte. The Most American Thing in America: Circuit Chautauqua as Performance. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2005.
  • Rossen, Rebecca. "The Jewish Man and his Dancing Schtick: Stock Characterization and Jewish Masculinity in Postmodern Dance." "You Should See Yourself!" : Jewish Identity and American Postmodern Culture. Ed. Vincent Brook. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2006.

Policy, Activism and Leadership

Public refers variously to the social impact and scope of performance works, community engagement projects and activities, as public policy studies and development. It also refers to a myriad of identities and political position, as well as materialist histories.

Samples of faculty publications:

  • Canning, Charlotte. Feminist Theatres in the U.S.A.: Staging Women's Experience. New York: Routledge, 1996.
  • Rossen, Rebecca. "Uneasy Duets: Contemporary American Dances about Israel and the Mideast Crisis", TDR: The Drama Review 55, 3 (Fall 2011), 40-49.

Directing,Criticism, Performing, Dramaturgy, Pedagogy and Historiography

Practice encompasses the doing of performance and acts related to that doing. Students conduct performance-based research, and have the opportunity to work with local professional companies and departmental productions, develop site-specific performances, and collaborate and create performances for the biennial Cohen New Works Festival.

Samples of faculty publications:

  • Bonin-Rodriguez, Paul. "Between One and Many: Dramaturgical Praxis at Jump-Start Performance Co." Theatre Topics, Volume 13, Number 1, March 2003
  • Jones, Joni (Omi Osun) with Sharon Bridgeforth and Lisa Moore. Experiments in a jazz aesthetic: art, activism, academia, and the Austin Project. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.