The Department of Theatre Studies is an energetic research hub within the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta. With its central position in the Mediterranean, as well as strong links with international institutions like the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR), Odin Teatret (Denmark), The Llanarth Group (Wales), and Routledge/ Icarus Publishing Enterprise, the department is an ideal platform for the generation and exchange of theatre and performance knowledge and practices.
Research within the Department of Theatre Studies surveys, analyses, and rethinks the study of theatre and performance in the reconfigured – postmodernised, mediatised, and globalised – spaces of the twenty-first century. Consequently, the department’s various historical, theoretical, and practical research specialisations are informed by the underlying theme of twenty-first-century studies and perspectives in theatre and performance. These specialisations include:
- Histories of Theatre
- Theories of Performance
- Actor and Performer Training
- Practice as Research
- Devised Performance
- Maltese Theatre
- Theatre and Everyday Life
- Carnival and Popular Performance
- Musicality and Performance
- Music Theatre
- Transmission of Embodied Practices
- Technology and Performance
- Russian and Early Soviet Theatre
- Postcolonial Theatre
- Physical Theatre
- Critical and Cultural Theory
Applications for postgraduate research degrees in these areas of specialisation are welcome. TS staff have supervised to successful completion Masters and doctoral dissertations (by research) in a variety of subjects like contemporary theatre practice in Europe, the effects of actor training on personality, music-theatre performance practices, the link between theatre and everyday life, the postcolonial dimension of pantomime, the role of theatre in education, Antonin Artaud’s final notebooks, the theatre practice of Ariane Mnouchkine, and the role of photography in perception and meaning.
In 2015, a new M.A. in Theatre and Performance (C21 Studies and Perspectives) will be launched to develop the department’s postgraduate portfolio and to prepare students for further doctoral research. Postgraduate students are also encouraged to participate in the School of Performing Arts Research Seminars and to attend international conferences. Particular attention is given to Practice as Research. Students are guided to set up their own PaR research projects from as early as their undergraduate degree, while Master students are exposed to Practice as Research methodologies irrespective of their area of specialisation. Practical research work is carried out at the Valletta Campus Theatre (VCT), in the historical capital city of Valletta. The theatre is a versatile space that allows for various spatial configurations, depending on the work and research carried out. Students are also encouraged to make use of the space for their own research and performance projects.
Theatre Studies generates research outputs in the form of peer-reviewed journal and book publications, conference presentations, and performance work. Departmental publications have featured in major international journals like Theatre Research International, Contemporary Theatre Review, New Theatre Quarterly, The Drama Review, Performance Research, Studies in Theatre and Performance, Studies in Musical Theatre, and the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.
Theatre Studies staff have also participated in conferences organised by the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR), Performance Studies International (PSi), and Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA), in such diverse places like the UK, US, Canada, Mexico, Italy, France, Chile, and South Africa. The department also convenes and participates in the School of Performing Arts Research Seminars and Annual Conference.