The graduate program in Theatre and Performance Studies trains scholar-artists to develop projects in theatre history, performance studies, critical theory, and cultural analysis in various performance traditions and global contexts. Our faculty specialize in illuminating how social and cultural formations — particularly gender, race, indigeneity, ethnicity, sexuality, colonization and class — inform performances both on and off stage. In turn, we support and celebrate interdisciplinary scholarship from our graduate students that centers shared concerns of performance, such as the body, repetition, liveness, and visuality, while at the same time taking up concerns in outside fields of inquiry. As a faculty, we approach performance through diverse methods, such as historiography, ethnography, and critical analysis of performance texts. We welcome students from underrepresented communities, and we believe that people of color, disabled people, queer and trans folks, and first-generation scholars produce new ways of seeing and knowing that facilitate thinking and working in a diverse classroom.
Enrollment is selective in order to provide individual attention to the scholarly, pedagogical, and artistic projects that shape the student experience at Tufts. In addition to drawing upon Tufts' award-winning faculty, we offer students the opportunity to take courses across the university, and in the Boston Consortium for Higher Education.
In addition to their research, graduate students engage in academic life in a variety of ways, including undergraduate teaching, editorial and dramaturgical assistantships, among many forms of university life. Graduate students serve as teaching assistants in a variety of film studies, theatre history, dramatic literature and analysis, cultural studies, and performance courses. Opportunities to develop and teach courses in students' areas of specialization also exist within the department, at Tufts' acclaimed Experimental College, and through adjunct appointments across Greater Boston. Recently courses designed by our graduate students include Playwriting, LGBTQ+ Theatre, Performing Asian America, and Creativity in Crisis. Additionally, our students serve as actors, directors, designers and dramaturgs on campus and throughout greater Boston.
Graduate faculty actively mentor students' participation and integration into academic life. We encourage and support pathways towards publication in leading journals, conference presentations, and membership in professional organizations including the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC), and many more. Students receive travel and research support on an annual basis, courtesy of the Sherwood Collins Fund. Additionally, the department offers a graduate-level course in pedagogy, alongside professional development workshops. Faculty believe in a wide variety of possibilities for life after the MA/PhD, and thus offer strategies for navigating the academic job market and alternative job markets for students who wish to pursue careers in arts administration, editing, grant writing, higher education administration, library studies, publishing and technical writing. Graduates of the program are qualified and competitive for many employment opportunities.
Tufts Theatre and Performance Studies faculty engage in active service within the university, across the field of performance studies, and in state and national bodies of civic engagement. In turn, we look to recruit students who view service and leadership as important to their scholarly trajectories. Professors in the department serve or have served as President of the American Theatre and Drama Society, President of ASTR and members of the organization's executive committee, ATHE Vice President for Advocacy, ATHE Vice President for Professional Development, leaders of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education's Latinx, Indigenous, and the Americas Focus Group, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Council on the Arts, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.