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Theater and Performance Studies

At UChicago, the number of programs of study and co-curricular organizations in the arts is growing, and students find ample freedom to choose their own level of commitment. Students aspiring to graduate study or a career in drama will find that they are well prepared at every level. Whatever the goals, participation in the arts—both in and out of the classroom—enhances the broad-based liberal arts education that is fundamental to the UChicago experience. The arts at the University of Chicago are truly “liberal” and not confined to preprofessional study as in a traditional conservatory.

The Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) major and minor combine academic theory with artistic practice. Courses approach drama and theater from diverse perspectives, including textual analysis of written plays; theory and history of drama as literature and performance; theater in relationship to other performance practices, such as music, ritual, and social or political ceremonies; and the practice of theater. Majors acquire facility in the practice of two media (e.g., theater, film, video, dance, music, creative writing), while gaining fluency in the critical analysis of those media. The fourth year culminates in an original honors creative project, produced in the spring and accompanied by a critical paper. Many theater and drama courses are available as electives to students in any major and as fulfillment of Core requirements.

Students majoring in TAPS benefit from the interdisciplinary nature of the program, and are encouraged to take courses in related departments. Visual Arts and Cinema & Media Studies are two departments that have excellent courses applicable to the interests and educational goals of the TAPS major. Other courses that may appeal to the TAPS major include Shakespeare’s Imagery, Performance Poetry, and Styles of Performance and Expression from Stage to Screen.

TAPS currently offers sequences an acting, directing, and design, with advanced courses offered by theater professionals who represent the best in their fields. Each quarter culminates in a departmental and co-curricular performance day, which is dedicated to showings from courses and individual projects. New Work Week was established in 2005 to workshop and showcase student written work. During a given academic year, TAPS offers around 40 courses, one-third of which are taught by guest lecturers.