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This fall, students will have the opportunity to explore pioneers of queer theatre, to master armed and unarmed stage combat, and to push the boundaries of performance in three brand-new theatre courses.

THTR 3200 – Queer Theatre and Performance explores significant dramatic texts that have shaped and expressed the changing nature of LGBTQ identity during the past 65 years. Readings, viewings, lectures, and discussion focus on noteworthy American and British queer plays as literature, history, cultural documents, and performance as seen through the lens of contemporary queer theories and knowledge. For many decades, playwrights depicted gay characters, stories, and themes in coded subtexts. Following Stonewall, the Gay Rights movement, and the AIDS pandemic, queer theatre took on new freedom, activist power, and social significance. By analyzing these texts for their relevance to society and our lives, students will evaluate and explore a range of topics including sexual identity, gender identity, religious and political views on queerness, the evolution of LGBTQ culture, outsider communities, drag performance, homophobia, assimilation and appropriation, and coming out.

THTR 3400 – Designing Combat for the Stage teaches basic techniques of unarmed and armed combat and how to employ those techniques to choreograph exciting fight sequences that are safe for actor combatants to perform and in-line with the storytelling of the play. On top of combat technique, students in this class will learn the value of specific targeting, strategies to control time and space in a way that maximizes on stage storytelling, as well as how to participate in their own safety and the safety of their scene partners. Students will be asked to make connections to the work done in class with the overarching principles of acting and storytelling. The course will culminate in students designing, developing, notating, and filming their own fight scenes using the play She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen as source material and presenting their fights to an invited audience.

THTR 5100 – Performances Studies examines how live performance operates within the contexts of everyday life, interpersonal communication, performance art, music, games, and theatrical events.  This class defines “performance” broadly, encompassing performance installations, interactive events, theatrical performance, etc. It offers an exploration of the interdisciplinary field of performance studies, investigating performance as a method of creating new knowledge by examining foundational performance theory, using theoretically-grounded methods of creating performance, and developing performances as research. The course culminates in the creation of original performance projects, in which students will use their varied disciplinary skills and talents to craft an encounter between a work and an audience.  This course is open to upper-level undergraduates and graduate students.

These new courses give students the opportunity to explore advanced theories and techniques and to take a closer look at both historical pioneers and cutting-edge contemporary practitioners.