How is Performance Studies different from Theatre ?
Theatre, as a field of study and as a department at Northwestern, is concerned with the study and performance of dramatic works. Students learn theatre history and are trained as actors and directors, working with plays, performing in theatres. Performances Studies, as a field of study and as a department at Northwestern, is concerned with the performance of a variety of literary and other texts, including fiction, poetry, non-fiction. It is also concerned with performance as it occurs in our everyday lives, shaping and defining who we are. How is identity performed ? How is race performed ? How is gender performed ? Social class ?
Performance studies incorporates theories of drama, dance, art, anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies, sociology, and more and more, music performance.
More can be found out by reading Schechner’s book : Performance Studies : An Introduction.
The first performance studies department was created at NYU. However, there is some debate that the joint-cradles of Performance Studies are Northwestern University and NYU. In the United States, the field has spread to Brown, UC Berkeley, and elsewhere.
In the United Kingdom the University of Wales, Aberystwyth offers a degree scheme in performance studies.
In Australia, the Queensland University of Technology offers a degree majoring in performance studies, and also a masters and Phd in performance innovation.