The Committee on Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) seeks to animate the intersection of theory and practice in the arts. TAPS provides a home for the collaborative efforts of students, staff, and faculty who are committed to theater and/or performance at the University of Chicago and beyond. Our mission is to enable students to develop a nuanced and sophisticated vocabulary with which to analyze theater and performance and to offer students a wide range of artistic experiences in both student-initiated and professionally-led productions.
Combining its tradition of academic rigor and curricular experimentation with its location in one of America’s liveliest artistic cities, the University of Chicago offers an ideal environment for theater and performance studies—a place where conceptual ambition, creative research, and extensive practice converge. Our student-run theater, University Theater, was founded in 1898 and remains an enormously vital and popular hub for student performance, presenting over 30 productions a year. The university’s Court Theatre—established in 1955—has developed a national reputation as one of Chicago’s great professional theaters. The teaching staff in TAPS is largely drawn from Chicago’s theater and performance community. Thus, our students are taught by some of the city’s best and brightest theater makers. For many years, UChicago students and alumni have worked (as directors, designers, actors, dramaturgs, and stage managers, among others) at leading theaters throughout the country. Our students have been central to the development of important theater and performance companies, such as The Second City, Manual Cinema and, more recently, the First Floor Theater. And since its introduction in 2002, our undergraduate program in TAPS has thrived both on campus, with enormous student interest, and in the city, through its impact on the local theater scene.