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Theatre & Performance Studies PhD

Our mission is to develop scholar-artists engaged with performances happening on theatrical stages, in a wide variety of media, and in the world at large. This is a research degree that encourages the interaction of scholarship with the practice of dramatic art. Our graduates teach at colleges and universities across the United States and abroad.

Students who apply to the PhD program should have:

  • the ability to research, analyze and write;
  • a strong creative background;
  • an MA or MFA degree.

Students coming directly from a BA degree may apply for a combined MFA/PhD. The combined program is designed to be completed in five years, whereas the PhD alone may be completed in four years.

Recent dissertations addressed contemporary Bengali theatre; performances of gender in Second Life; constructions of authorship in theatre and performance since the 1960s; “humanity” as a performative construct in robotic science fiction; technology and stage magic; Cherokee historical outdoor drama; African American Lesbian identity in theatre and performance; the performance of masculinity in sports; and performing the Korean diaspora in U.S. theatre and performance art. Those in progress focus on the performance of gender in the circum-Atlantic British empire during the long eighteenth century; participatory murder mysteries staged on boats and trains; performing social equity through creative placemaking; and Stanislavsky and cognitive science. In recent years, doctoral students have presented their research at the meetings of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the American Society for Theatre Research as well as the International Federation for Theatre Research, Performance Studies International, the Black Theatre Network, the Mid-America Theatre Conference and the Theatre Symposium of the Southeastern Theatre Congress.

In addition to presenting their research at national and international conferences and publishing journal articles and book chapters, doctoral students have taken part in playwriting workshops and staged readings, acted and directed for the Graduate Acting Ensemble and Thalian Blackfriars, and co-authored, directed, and acted in plays produced by the University Theatre. Resources in UGA Special Collections Libraries include not only the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library but also the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection.

Current faculty:

  • Vivian Appler (PhD, University of Pittsburgh)
  • Antje Ascheid (PhD, New York University): film history and criticism
  • John Patrick Bray (MFA, The Actors Studio Drama School/The New School for Drama; PhD, Louisiana State University): Playwriting, new play development
  • John Gibbs (PhD, The Ohio State University): 3D computer modeling and animation, motion capture, and modern drama
  • Rielle Navitski (PhD, University of California, Berkeley): Latin American cinema, silent and early sound film, international reception of film stars and genres
  • Richard Neupert (PhD, University of Wisconsin): French cinema, narrative theory, and animation
  • Farley Richmond (PhD, Michigan State University): Asian theatre, with an emphasis in Indian drama and theatre
  • Emily Sahakian (PhD, Northwestern University and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales): French Caribbean theatre, intercultural theatre, theatre of the African diaspora, community-based theatre
  • David Saltz (PhD, Stanford University): interactive media and performance, performance theory, the philosophy of art, and modern drama 
  • Christopher Sieving (PhD, University of Wisconsin): 1960s and 1970s world cinema, film genre, visual style and narrative, and African American film history

Graduate Handbook

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