Critical Performance Studies

Convenor: Professor Stacy Holman Jones

Critical Performance Studies focuses on developing knowledge, skills, and practices that help us understand and creatively engage the world around us. Students learn skills and practices valued in a wide range of industries inside and outside the performing arts. Collaboration, problem solving, and communication are highly ranked amongst employability attributes across industries, while a practical understanding of storytelling, role-playing, empathy, improvisation, team reliance and resilience are sought after skills in the 21st century workplace and make a valuable contribution to any CV.

The educational opportunities received through this course are enriched and extended through our collaboration with the Melbourne Fringe, MLIVE, and an array of internationally recognised artists in residence and arts internship opportunities.

Teaching Program

As part of Critical Performance Studies, you will acquire excellent oral and written communications skills, and the ability to work collaboratively and think on your feet. You will graduate with a deep understanding of performance making and critical theory, giving you the structure, language, and practice necessary to develop your own creative works. You will become expert in practicing performance as a way of thinking, feeling, and addressing the most critical questions and problems facing us and our planet. On completion of your undergraduate degree, you will be well equipped to survive and thrive in the performing arts industry as well as in diverse workplaces.

Our academic team has extensive knowledge of theatre and performance theories and practices in both historical and contemporary contexts, as well as unrivalled professional industry contacts. Staff member Professor Stacy Holman Jones is recognized as a world leader in critical qualitative methods in performance studies, including ethnography and autoethnography. Staff member Dr Felix Nobis is the Arts Faculty Work Integrated Learning coordinator and oversees a range of employability enhancement projects and strategies across the Arts Faculty. And staff member Fiona Gregory is a noted scholar in performance historiography and celebrity representation. We host regular guest artist presentations and research seminars, visiting directors, companies and producers, and create many opportunities for discussion and debate among staff, students and industry professionals.

You could pursue a career in a diverse range of creative and cultural roles, including professional or independent theatre artist, composer, theatre administrator or producer, stage manager, arts journalist and marketer, art organization education coordinator, teacher or academic, festival director and community arts administrator, scriptwriter and arts-related public relations person.

Our resources include:

  • 200 seat capacity theatre
  • 60 seat ‘black box’ rehearsal room
  • Sprung floor dance studio
  • Performances in the state of the art Alexander Theatre and Ian Potter Arts Centre Sound Gallery and Jazz Club.

Partnership with Melbourne Fringe Festival

Fringe logoWe have partnered with the Melbourne Fringe Festival, enabling university students the opportunity to collaborate with professional theatre makers.The partnership includes internships with Melbourne Fringe and its artists, and a presentation of student work featured in the festival itself as part of our season of collaborations between students and professional theatre makers.

Each opportunity allows up-and-coming young professionals to be mentored in all aspects of programming and producing and will see students make a direct impact on the Fringe Festival’s independent program.

Head to the Melbourne Fringe website for more information.


Undergraduate studies

Our pedagogical structure creates a pathway for students to progress from an undergraduate interest in Critical Performance Studies to Honours and Graduate Research.

Graduate Research

The Theatre, Performance and Music Graduate Research is part of the Arts Graduate Research Program.


Critical Performance Studies staff are actively engaged with the community and arts sectors, regularly participating in public arts forums, discussions and public programs in their areas of expertise, both nationally and internationally. Our scholars have research and practice-based expertise in the areas of:

  • Gender and sexualities and performance
  • New materialisms and affect studies in performance
  • Adaptation and writing for performance
  • Celebrity and representation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • Critical autoethnography, autotheory and performative writing
  • Performance pedagogy and work-integrated learning


Our academics enjoy strong national and international profiles and represent a wide range of global research interests. View all staff.