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, dance and performance disciplines and institutions, as well as the interrelationships of these fields and the role of performance in public spheres. The program is highly influenced by interdisciplinary work in performance studies, defining performance in varied and wide cultural contexts. Students are expected to give primary attention to an area of expertise of their choice, while training in the broader theoretical, critical and historical contexts of the field. Our internationally renowned program admits approximately five to seven applicants each year and 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 Performance as Public Practice Program and the Department of Theatre and Dance have 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. Students have many opportunities to take courses across the university and can also pursue portfolio certification programs in such areas as African and African Diaspora Studies, Mexican American and Latino/a Studies, Women's and Gender Studies and Arts & Cultural Management & Entrepreneurship. The program is also an affiliate member of the Hemipheric Institute.
"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.
Policy, Activism and Leadership
Public refers variously to the social impact and scope of performance works, community engagement projects and activities, as well as public policy studies and development. It also refers to multiple identities and political positions, as well as materialist histories.
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.