Office: 375 Santa Teresa Street, Roble Gym, Rm 149
Mail Code: 94305-8125
Phone: (650) 723-2576
Web Site:

Courses offered by the Department of Theater and Performance Studies are listed on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site under the subject codes TAPS and DANCE.

Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Theater and Performance Studies

The mission of the undergraduate program in Theater and Performance Studies is to provide a strong, non-conservatory program that joins the study and practice of performance within the context of a liberal arts curriculum. The department gives students a strong grasp of historical, cultural, and practical contexts in which live performance develops. With close faculty contact, department majors pursue areas of interest that may include acting, directing, writing, dance, devised theater, design, stage management, performance theory, and cultural studies. During the senior year students complete a senior project as part of fulfilling the 60 units required for the major.

Mission of the Graduate Program in Theater and Performance Studies

The mission of the graduate program in Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) is to educate students who work on the leading edge of both scholarly and performance practice. The Ph.D. program includes the study of critical theory, dramatic literature, performance theory, theater history, and performance making. Graduate students complete a program with a rigorous study of critical theory, textual history, elements of production (directing, acting, choreography, writing, and design) and embodied research.


Emeriti: (Professors) Jean-Marie Apostolidès (TAPS; French and Italian), Harry Elam, Michael Ramsaur, Alice Rayner, (Associate Professor) William S. Eddelman, (Senior Lecturer) Patricia Ryan, (Senior Lecturer) Connie Strayer

Chair: Matthew W. Smith

Director of Graduate Studies: Diana Looser

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Branislav Jakovljevic

Professors: Jennifer DeVere Brody (TAPS, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity), Branislav Jakovljevic, Peggy Phelan (TAPS, English), Rush Rehm (TAPS, Classics), Matthew W. Smith (TAPS, German Studies)

Associate Professor:  Young Jean Lee, Diana Looser, Jisha Menon (Center for South Asia, Stanford Global Studies)

Assistant Professors: Samer Al-Saber, Michael Rau, Aileen Robinson

Professor (Teaching): Janice Ross

Senior Lecturer: Becky Bodurtha, Aleta Hayes

Lecturers: Rotimi Agbabiaka , Kathryn Amarotico-Kostopoulos, Nina Ball, David Bresenham, Jane Casamajor, Matt Chapman, Kara Davis, Diane Frank, Stephanie Hunt, Mikéah Jennings (Mohr Visiting Artist), Alex Ketley, Daniel Klein, Laxmi Kumaran, Anton Pankevich, Richard Powers, Ronnie Reddick, Amanda Reid (Mellon Fellow), Lisa Rowland, Raissa Simpson

Artists-in-Residence: Amy Freed, Amara Smith

Director of Finance and Operations: Beth McKeown

Student Services Officer: Katie Dooling

Administrative Associate: Janet Pineda

Production Staff: Daniel Cadigan, Jane Casamajor, Lindsay Martens, Brendon Martin, Kenny McMullen, Heather Patterson Miller, Stefanie M. Okuda, Paul Strayer, Emma Vossbrink

Graduate Advising Expectations

The Department of Theater and Performance Studies is committed to providing academic advising in support of graduate-student scholarly and professional development. When most effective, this advising relationship entails collaborative and sustained engagement by both the adviser and the advisee. Advising expectations should be periodically discussed and reviewed to ensure mutual understanding. Both the advisee and the adviser are expected to maintain professionalism and integrity throughout this important relationship.

Faculty advisers guide students in key areas such as selecting courses, designing and conducting research, developing of teaching pedagogy, navigating policies and degree requirements, and exploring academic opportunities and professional pathways.

Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship, proactively seeking academic and professional guidance and taking responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements for their graduate program.

At the start of the first year in the program, students are assigned a faculty adviser based upon common research interests. The adviser’s role is to serve as an intellectual adviser and professional mentor to their graduate students, to understand the academic and non-academic policies that pertain to graduate students, and to prepare students to be competitive for future employment.

In the fourth year, Ph.D. students consult closely with their Academic Council faculty adviser to form a dissertation committee. Together, the student and the adviser determine which members of faculty comprise the dissertation committee. The formation of a dissertation committee is a required part of the dissertation prospectus milestone. At this time, the student must decide which faculty will fulfill the following dissertation committee roles:

  • Principal Dissertation Adviser: The principal dissertation adviser provides guidance and direction to the doctoral student’s research, as well as evaluation of the student’s progress. As a mentor and a role model, the dissertation adviser plays a critical role in the student’s development as an academic researcher.

  • Dissertation Reader: Dissertation Readers participate in the dissertation defense. They read and evaluate the final version of the dissertation, and offer their comments and suggestions for revisions.

Further information about the roles and responsibilities of the dissertation committee can be found in GAP 3.3.1 and GAP 8.4.1.

Advisers and advisees are expected to meet quarterly, perhaps more frequently during exams and milestones. There may likely be variation of meeting frequency, depending on the individual adviser and advisee. Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship, proactively seeking academic and professional guidance and taking responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements for their graduate program. Students are also encouraged to consult with the Director of Graduate Studies and the student services officer as needed.  

Students are encouraged to communicate and meet frequently with their adviser. It is important to set expectations with your adviser and to revisit those expectations periodically. VPGE has a number of helpful advising resources, including an advising workshop, as part of their professional development programs.

Students wishing to change their adviser may do so. Contact department staff for more information.

For a statement of University policy on graduate advising, see the Graduate Advising section of this bulletin.