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The programs in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa are renowned for productions and course offerings centering traditional and contemporary Hawaiian and Asian performance. Students at all levels and in all programs can study acting, directing, design, playwriting, and TYA (theatre for young audiences); classes in history, theory, research, and performance studies provide context and spur change. Coursework goes hand in hand with productions staged in the 600-seat Kennedy Theatre and the intimate Earle Ernst Lab Theatre.
The programs in Theatre and Performance Studies include 14 full-time faculty members who teach over 40 courses per semester. The theatre program has approximately 50 undergraduate majors, 38 masters candidates, and 15 PhD students. Students come from around the globe to study theatre at UHM.
Both the academic courses and the full season of productions in the beautiful Kennedy Theatre complex aim to expose students and audiences to works from each of these focus areas. Theatre and Performance Studies degrees provide the opportunity to obtain a uniquely broad educational foundation as well as to focus intensely on specific areas of interest.
Degrees: BA, MA, MFA, PhD
Focus Areas: Hawaiian Theatre; Asian Theatre; Acting, Directing, Design; Hawaiian Theatre; Playwriting; TYA; Theatre History and Criticism; Performance Studies
Original productions reflect and honor the language, traditions, history and values of the Hawaiian community.
The Acting program at UHM allows the serious acting student to study forms and methods from the broadest array available at any university.
The Directing program at UHM is designed to give students the practical and theoretical tools to not only stage productions but to conceive whole worlds that will not soon be forgotten.
The Design program at UHM is a small, personalized, multi-cultural program that emphasizes hands-on training, varied design and teaching opportunities, individualized mentoring with professionally active faculty, and design prospects with area theatres.
While learning dramatic structure, dramaturgy and collaborative play development, students in our program are encouraged to find their own individual voice as upcoming playwrights.
The TYA program encourages the development and pursuit of wonder, combining a foundational emphasis in drama education and curriculum development with the bold theatrics of puppetry, mask, clown, and dance.
The program’s centerpiece are our training residencies, in which students have the exciting opportunity to undergo long-term, intensive training in a traditional Asian theatre form with renowned master artists of the genre, who provide rigorous training in semester-long movement, voice, and instrumental courses, as well as individualized instruction in the performance of specific roles and instruments.
Performance Studies, though situated within the Department of Theatre and Dance, is a hybrid program that intersects with other UHM departments for course offerings as well as research and artistic collaboration.