The Graduate Program in Theatre and Performance Studies provides a number of rich opportunities for students to explore performance as research as part of our commitment to emphasizing synergies of theory and praxis. At York, we recognize that performance is not only an object of research, but can also constitute a form of research in itself. York’s MA/PhD program is nourished by its connections with professors in the Faculty of Fine Arts who are both practicing artists and artist–researchers.
MA/PhD students participate in Department of Theatre productions, serving as performers, dramaturgs, and directors, etc. For example, graduate students in Theatre and Performance Studies are invited to collaborate with MFA students each September in a collective creation project, devising a performance piece based on the myths of a particular culture. Theatre Studies graduate students recently took the initiative to create York’s first “V–Day,” collaborating with undergraduate students from across the university to stage Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues.
The Graduate Program in Theatre and Performance Studies regularly hosts workshops and collaborates with other programs to bring exciting national and international guest artists to campus. In the past, students have taken workshops with Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver of Split Britches; the Yes Men; British live artist Adrian Howells, performance artists Guillermo Gómez–Peña and Roberto Sifuentes; playwright and educator Julie Salverson; actor and director Johanna Schall; Nigerian playwright Femi Osofisan; Mario Biagini, Associate Director of the Workcenter for Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards.
We offer several courses that foreground performance as research, including a Theatre Laboratory course in which students create original performance pieces drawing on their areas of research expertise, as well as a course in Performance Art that combines theoretical and practical assignments. Other courses, including Theories of Praxis, Performance Ethnography, and Spectacular City provide opportunities to develop original, theoretically grounded performance work.