A time might be coming when the most radical politicization of art will be its detachment from any kind of economic value in order to reveal new affective and aesthetic articulations of the community
Bojana Kunst, Artist at Work, 2015
The errant carnality of a materiality making life and world away from neoliberal ideals of creativity and creative labor, is what I call the political potential of 'imagination'
André Lepecki, Singularities: Dance in the Age of Performance, 2016

The notion of performance is present in many diverse fields today, from economics, to engineering and information technologies, to social media, sports and culture. We may indeed live in the ‘age of performance’ where the value of human and nonhuman action is largely determined by how successfully and effectively someone or something performs. Richard Schechner has famously approached performance as the ‘showing doing’ to others in theatre and in society. This does not mean that the performing subject fakes a character, but instead that she bears awareness of being seen by specific audiences and in particular contexts. Performance is thus entangled with processes of doing, valuing, sensing, situating and modifying, in today’s complex experience- and attention economy.

At University College Utrecht, performance is explored as a practice that can help you not only make sense of the world, but also think of how we can implement change. It is specifically proposed as a lens for analysing and experiencing movement, language, image and sound, which enables you to develop a critical and perceptive attitude towards the ‘making of’ performance in and outside of theatre.

Performance at University College Utrecht provides the tools for understanding both the forms, techniques and strategies of artistic performance, and how this knowledge can help you intervene in the diverse settings of meaning- and experience-making today.

In times of increased obsession with the performance of one’s own self, studying the mechanisms of performance-making and -seeing can help you develop knowledge, criticality and imagination of yourselves as acting agents in the world.

In the Performance track you will acquire the empirical, theoretical and research skills to study and insightfully evoke (collective) experience by means of performance. You will also employ these skills to reflect on contemporary forms of theatre, dance and musical performance. While acquiring experience in performance making, performing and spectating, you will be introduced to an international contemporary performance landscape and visit a range of artistic events.

We are selective in what and how we teach, aiming to incorporate contextually relevant theories, authors and methods, that can support the practical and theoretical learning. All courses will guide you towards a well-informed selection, framing and problematising of a research concern, while applying your Liberal Arts and Sciences mindset to examine it in an open, critical and sharp manner.

When we understand performance as the making of something to be seen and experienced in particular ways, as well as a set of skills in organizing attention, the Performance track can contribute criticality and depth to virtually any other discipline within the Humanities, and can be especially well combined with Media Studies, Literature and Classics and Art History and Museum Studies. It can also add a performative dimension to tracks in Social Sciences (especially Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology) and even to Sciences (e.g. Cognitive Neuroscience and Earth and Environment).

If you are unsure about how the Performance track could possibly intersect with your other curricular interests, do not hesitate to contact the track coordinator.

Performance has recently become a separate track at University College Utrecht (2018) and will be expanding in the future. Currently we teach three courses:

  • Introduction to Performance (level 1)
  • Composition and Dramaturgy in Performance (level 2)
  • Engaging the Public through Performance (level 3)

The introductory course is mandatory for students who wish to take one of the advanced courses. If you are interested in taking an off-campus-course at the University of Utrecht, you are best advised to contact the track coordinator.

MA in Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies
Although the track does not entirely cover the history and theory in theatre and dance studies, it offers a rigorous theoretical and practical understanding of performance, which is often considered sufficient for pursuing Master's programmes in the Netherlands and abroad.

MA in Arts & Society
All courses of the track propose an understanding of performance within and outside the frame of the theatre/stage, focusing on the intersections and crossings between arts and society. It is thus mostly considered sufficient for pursuing Master's studies in this field in the Netherlands and abroad.

MA in Gender Studies
The notions of performativity, performance, affect and the body are studied rigorously in the Performance Track, offering a rather sufficient theoretical preparation for pursuing a Master's programme in Gender Studies.

If you would like to consider pursuing a practice-based Master's in the performing arts, you are advised to contact the track Fellow Konstantina Georgelou.

UCHUMPES11: Introduction to Performance, Spring
You will be introduced to both practices of performing, moving and listening and to a conceptual framework that critically discusses performance and performativity, experience, movement and affect. You will also be attending and writing short analyses about contemporary performances that take place in the Netherlands.

UCHUMPES21: Composition and Dramaturgy in Performance, Fall
You will be introduced to a range of critical concepts, tools and practices in musical composition, performance writing, dramaturgy and movement composition. Approached as dynamic, contextual and even political practices, composition and dramaturgy will be studied in an expanded manner alluding to ways that experience and attention may be produced.

UCHUMPES31: Engaging the Public through Performance, Fall
You will focus on the implications of ‘going public’, as performance. You will engage in diverse practical tasks and experiments that take into critical consideration what is public, when and how, while you will conceptually interrogate different modalities of attendance and spectatorship that are at work in the performing arts.

Level Fall Spring Summer
1   HUMPES11: Introduction to Performance  
2* HUMPES21: Composition and Dramaturgy in Performance    
3 HUMPES31: Engaging the Public through Performance    

* it is adivised to follow Humanities Lab course

Richard Hinam

  • Theatre
  • Writing for Performance
  • Community Arts
  • Site-specific Performance

Konstantina Georgelou

  • Dramaturgy
  • Critical Theory
  • Dance and Performance Theory
  • Artistic Research

Marisa Grande

  • Dance and Voice improvisation
  • Contemporary Dance
  • Somatics
  • Site-specific performance

Tjitze Vogel

  • Double Bass, Jazz
  • Music composition and documentation
  • Improvisation
  • Intercultural musical research
Contact person

Dr. Konstantina Georgelou is the Performance Fellow at University College Utrecht. Office: Muntstraat 2A, Room 1.36, 3512 EV Utrecht