The PhD program in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland is currently one of the best programs in the U.S. It ranked in top 5 in the most recent National Research Council study. Each faculty member is a leading scholar in the areas of his or her specialization, and the group is diverse in many ways. At the same time, the program’s primary strength derives from the impressive cohesion and integration between the faculty’s teaching and research interests. We are unique in that the program combines theatre history, dramaturgy, and performance studies; thus, students receive high-level instruction in how to undertake historical research, dramaturgical analysis and application, and in-depth ethnography on contemporary topics. Regardless of the student’s particular interest and specialty, they graduate from the program with the skills to integrate and utilize these three key areas that will make them better scholars and educators. Faculty members also work internationally and/or with international groups in different aspects of theatre and performance studies, and as a result, graduate students are increasingly taking their research abroad in new and exciting ways.
The field of theatre and performance studies has changed in the past twenty years, and it continues to grow as indicated by the increase in the number of publications and the visibly larger attendance at major conferences. Time is ripe for a new intellectual movement that integrates many divergent areas of theatre and performance studies, and the faculty in the PhD program at Maryland has both the capacity and the desire to be leaders in moving the field forward in the twenty-first century.
About the Faculty
Dr. Faedra Carpenter specializes in the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality, with research interests focused on contemporary African American and Latino/a American theatre and performance. She is also a nationally recognized dramaturg with almost 20 years of professional experience working in regional theaters. Dr. Laurie Frederik Meer is a performance studies scholar, cultural anthropologist, and experienced ethnographer. She specializes in Latin American, Caribbean, and African Diaspora in theatre and performance, political theatre, cultural translation, and legal narratives. The combination of having a professional dramaturg and an anthropologically trained ethnographer in one doctoral program in theatre and performance studies is unique and one of the few, if only, in the country. Additionally, the program has two prominent theatre historians with broad interests in both contemporary and historical topics. Dr. Frank Hildy is a renowned historian of theatre architecture and Shakespeare, and his edited textbook, History of Theatre, is the most published and adopted history text in theatre studies. He is the creator of the theatre-finder.org, a digital database of world theatres. Dr. Esther Kim Lee has been recognized for her groundbreaking research in Asian American theatre and performance, and she is currently the editor of Theatre Survey, the top journal in theatre history. The newest faculty member, Dr. James Harding is a world-renown specialist in avant-garde theatre and performance with several authored and edited books, including The Ghosts of the Avant-Garde(s): Exorcizing Experimental Theatre and Performance (2013) and Cutting Performances: Collage Events, Feminist Artists and the American Avant-Garde (2010).