Performance is more than just theatre, and a new program at the University of Calgary plans to use this philosophy to study performance in everyday life.
Beginning in September, the U of C will offer the first interdisciplinary performance studies graduate program in Canada. The program draws together members of the faculties of kinesiology, drama, English, German, communication and culture and dance.
English and performance studies associate professor Kirsten Pullen explained that the new program is more than just a masters of fine arts. It will allow students to explore performance outside of theatre, including in courtrooms, political rallies and even every day acts like gender and sexuality.
"An MFA in theatre is going to prepare students to work as professional theatre performers or directors," explained Pullen. "A performance studies major might teach in the academy or work in arts policy."
Pullen noted the program is a good fit for Calgary, a booming city looking to expand its cultural image beyond cowboy hats and oil.
"Alberta is at this moment of phenomenal growth and people like me want theatre to be part of that growth," she said.
The September program will start off small, with only two masters students and two PhD students.
Eric Moschopedis--a 2001 graduate of the U of C theatre program--is one of the masters students. Since graduation he has worked as the artistic director of Bubonic Tourist, a Calgary company which presents interdisciplinary performance art, but is quitting his day job to begin the U of C program in the fall.
"It was very much in line with how I view performance," explained Moschopedis. "The interdisciplinary degree is very important to me. Interdisciplinary is what the arts are."
To showcase the new program, the U of C is hosting a performance studies conference on Sept. 30 featuring speakers from the U.S. and Britain, the two countries at the forefront of performance studies research. For more info go here.