Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies (ITS)

Welcome to Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies: an MA and PhD program embracing research across the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the history, criticism, theory, and practice of theatre and performance.

The Lake Mendota shoreline is pictured in an aerial view of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus looking toward the downtown Madison skyline during an autumn sunset on Oct. 5, 2011. Major campus facilities pictured clockwise from middle right include Memorial Library, Helen C. White Hall, the Memorial Union Terracde, Armory and Gymnasium (Red Gym), the Memorial Union Terrace and Helen C. White Hall. On the horizon is the Wisconsin State Capitol and Lake Monona. The photograph was made from a helicopter looking southeast.
The UW Campus and downtown Madison (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Teaching Faculty in ITS guide students to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary research in theatre studies, and to relate their scholarly research to production and/or teaching. We leverage the work of Affiliate Faculty who work in theatre and performance studies in departments across the campus to allow graduate students to compose a richly-diverse, customize course of study.

The Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies can serve as a preparatory degree for the PhD, or as a terminal degree for students seeking greater exposure to theatre studies beyond the undergraduate degree. Through rigorous coursework, participation in a variety of research and artistic activities, the Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies program prepares graduates for positions as college and university researchers and instructors as well as public intellectuals, dramaturgs, and critics.

The program’s Teaching and Affiliate faculty are leaders in theatre and performance studies, whose scholarship and engagement with the profession is recognized nationally and internationally. The Teaching Faculty’s strengths include:

  • avant-garde theatre
  • contemporary world theatre
  • gender studies and feminist criticism
  • Irish theatre
  • Latin American Theatre
  • Latinx Theatre Studies
  • modern European and American drama
  • modern Indian theatre
  • theatre history
  • performance studies
  • postcolonial theatre
  • postdramatic theatre
  • Russian theatre
  • theatre for youth

Our students work closely with all of the program’s Teaching Faculty, as well as Affiliate Faculty members in such fields as African Studies, African-American studies, Art, Art History, Classics, Communication Arts, English, French and Italian, Gender and Women’s Studies, German, Music, Spanish and Portuguese, Theatre and Drama, and Visual Cultures.

Many ITS students also work closely with faculty who are not formally affiliated, bringing an even broader interdisciplinary approach to research in theatre, performance, and culture.

The program attracts students from across the United States as well as internationally, and creates opportunities for students to engage in teaching and practice as part of their research. Many of our students participate in theatre and performance groups as actors, dramaturgs, directors, devisers, designers and playwrights on and off campus, allowing them to experiment with a wide range of performance modes. At the same time, all students are expected to develop a strong foundation in current practices in theatre history, theatre and performance theory, criticism, and dramatic literature, in addition to their specific area of interest.

Students seated in a circle in a theatre space, Theron gesturing.
Graduate students in a writing workshop with ITS guest Theron Schmidt, Fall 2018