Performance Studies majors are creative, smart, inquisitive, independent. In their coursework and performances they are required to ask difficult questions, to examine closely and critically, to look for new ways of understanding and performing. This is true whether they are working with literary texts or with real-world events, writing papers or performing, working in traditional venues or using experimental media.
Performance studies majors are performers, directors, writers, visual artists, musicians. They are scholars and artists.
Writing & Directing Opportunities
Each year the department invites its undergraduate and graduate students to create and direct performance events for the subsequent year’s Performance Hour series. Students submit applications outlining their proposed projects, and the faculty selects the projects to be produced.
The department also mounts mainstage productions directed by faculty or PhD students in the department. Performance Studies majors audition for these productions and have often been featured prominently in them. Majors also audition for the productions produced by the Department of Theatre or by any of the many student theatre groups on campus.
Ours is a global perspective and our students explore, analyze, and learn from performance cultures in places and sites that reach from queer Latinx dance parties in Chicago to student protests in Chile, gospel choirs in Australia to underground music scenes in Syria (and its diaspora), activist theater making in Ghana to an experimental dance across the irradiated landscape of Fukushima, Japan.
The cross-cultural and international component of the Performance Studies Department makes study abroad an appealing and logical pursuit for a number of students in the program. Working with Northwestern’s Global Learning Office, students have pursued summer and semester abroad programs.