The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies advances and transforms the research and practice of theatre, dance, and performance studies through a commitment to inclusive excellence and educational innovation in the performing arts.
The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) at the University of Maryland (UMD) offers undergraduate and graduate programs that rank among the top in the country. The school creates a rich and productive learning environment that is part of a larger, comprehensive liberal arts experience provided in part by the College of Arts & Humanities and with the resources of a public research university. TDPS encourages the development of inclusive and diverse cultural perspectives. Students develop fundamental life skills, intellectual curiosity, creative thinking, problem solving, embodied learning and emotional intelligence—creatively applied to advance human welfare in all its dimensions. Alumni transition to a rich variety of career pathways within and outside of theatre and dance professions, working as arts managers, choreographers, directors, performers, designers, lawyers, business entrepreneurs, professors, published authors, teachers and consultants. The school serves locally and nationally as a model for collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The educational offerings in TDPS are administered by 22 tenured or tenure-track faculty; numerous adjunct faculty, international guest artists, visiting scholars; 7 administrative staff; and 40 graduate associates. We currently serve 160 undergraduates in the B.A. Theatre program, 60 undergraduates in the B.A. Dance program, 20 graduate students in the M.F.A. Design program, 12 graduate students in the M.F.A. Dance program, and 30 graduate students in the M.A./Ph.D. Theatre and Performance Studies program. Visiting artists and scholars regularly enhance these programs and provide additional perspectives that enhance the student experience.
TDPS runs the International Program for Creative Collaboration & Research (IPCCR), providing global classrooms for students and faculty to engage in artistic creation and scholarly research with collaborators across the world. Faculty and students of TDPS also benefit from collaborations with research initiatives across the UMD campus, including with the Brain and Behavior Institute (BBI), the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), the Center for Global Migration Studies, the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, the Latin American Studies Center and the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy. Regional partnerships include the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Library of Congress, Arena Stage, Center Stage, Imagination Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Adventure Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Round House Theatre, Mosaic Theater, Dance Exchange and Dance Place.
TDPS partners with the larger performing arts community at Maryland, housed within The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center along with the UMD School of Music, the Artist Partner Program, and the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. The Clarice is a state-of-the-art performing arts center (318,000-square-feet) with six performance venues and eight theatre and dance rehearsal studios; numerous classrooms, production labs, a costume shop, a light lab, a CAD lab and a café. The Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library provides traditional and virtual resources that support the exploration and study of the performing arts. The performing arts at Maryland focus on audience engagement and social impact, and cultivates faculty and student collaboration, discovery, creation and performance of exciting new artistic work and scholarly research.
Located in College Park, MD, TDPS offers students unparalleled opportunities for engagement with the rich cultural resources and opportunities offered throughout the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. corridor. Deeply woven into the fabric of each academic program within the school is a curriculum focused on opportunities for professional development offered on campus and through our active partnerships with local and global communities as well as cultural heritage institutions of the region.
Leigh Wilson Smiley
Director of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
Associate Director of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
Franklin J. Hildy
Director of Graduate Studies
Esther Kim Lee
Head of History/Theory
Head of the MA/PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies
Head of Dance Performance and Scholarship
Head of the MFA in Dance
Head of Dance/Theatre Design
Head of the MFA in Design