University of Sydney Handbooks - 2017 Archive

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Theatre and Performance Studies

The Department of Theatre and Performance Studies is part of the School of Literature, Art and Media.

About the major

In Theatre and Performance Studies we look at a broad range of aesthetic, social and everyday performances: from theatre, dance or ‘live art’, to the performative dimensions of politics, sport and popular culture. As a Theatre and Performance Studies major you will explore different approaches to performance making, devise short works, and engage with professional artists-in-residence. While this is not vocational training, it does provide a window onto professional practice. As well as developing skills in workshops, you will attend a wide variety of performances, learn how to document them, how to describe the way spaces are used, how bodies are moving, and how to build these observations into a detailed critical analysis.

Performance, as a conceptual lens, also provides a powerful way of interpreting many non-theatrical events, using theoretical approaches from a diversity of disciplines, including theatre and movement studies, anthropology, history, philosophy and sociology. A Theatre and Performance Studies major provides a strong basis for students who later train as performers, directors, teachers, arts administrators, or those who wish to work in related areas of cultural practice.

Pathways through the major

A major in Theatre and Performance Studies requires at least 36 senior credit points in this subject area, including PRFM2601 and PRFM2602 and at least 6 credit points at 3000 level.

The units of study for the major can be found in the unit of study table for Theatre and Performance Studies. The table shows units of study being offered in the current handbook year.

Junior units of study (1000 level)

You need to complete 18 junior credit points from Table A in your first year. These should include PRFM1601 Performance: Process and Collaboration and PRFM1602 Dangerous Performances.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)

To qualify for a major in Theatre and Performance Studies you must complete at least 6 senior credit points at 2000 and 3000 level. There are two compulsory 2000 level units of study for a Theatre and Performance Studies major: PRFM2601 Being There: Theories of Performance and PRFM2602 Performance: Production and Interpretation. You then need to take 4 other senior level PRFM units (at least one must be a 3000 unit). In 2017 you can choose from PRFM2605 Rehearsing Shakespeare, PRFM3602 Performance Histories, PRFM3607 Production Strategies for Performance, PRFM3611 Dramaturgy, PRFM3961 Rehearsal Studies, and PRFM3965 Inside Rehearsal (prerequisite is PRFM3961)

Sample student pathway through the Theatre and Performance Studies major
Sample pathway - Performance Studies major
First year S1 PRFM1601 Junior prerequisite unit Junior unit Junior unit


Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
Second year S1

PRFM2601 (compulsory)

PRFM2600 Senior unit Senior unit
S2 PRFM2602 (compulsory) and/or PRFM2600 Senior unit Senior unit
Third year S1 PRFM3000 PRFM3000 Senior unit Senior unit
S2 PRFM3000

and/or PRFM3000

Senior unit Senior unit

Our Honours year brings theory and practice together. It involves specialised seminars, a research thesis on an individual topic and a detailed case study based on first-hand fieldwork. Honours students become a valued part of the department’s research culture.

Admission to Theatre and Performance Studies honours requires a major in Theatre and Performance Studies with an average of 70 percent or above plus completion of PRFM3961 Rehearsal Studies and PRFM3962 Inside Rehearsal.

Refer to the degree resolutions in this handbook and to the Faculty Admissions Policy for Honours:

Contact/further information

Department website:

Undergraduate Coordinator: Associate Professor Ian Maxwell
Phone: +61 2 9351 6847

Honours Coordinator: Dr Glen McGillivray
Phone: +61 2 9351 6833