Theatre Studies

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Theatre Studies is one of the broadest and most encompassing terms used by scholars and training institutions to refer to the study of the theory, history and practice of drama, theatre and theatrical performances in relation to their literary, physical, psycho-biological, sociological, and historical contexts. An broad and interdisciplinary field, it usually encompasses such matters as the philosophy, anthropology, aesthetics, politics and semiotics of performance.

The term is often also found in a range of combinations, such as Drama and Theatre Studies or Theatre and Performance Studies. Other, slightly more arcane, terms include "dramatics", "dramatology", "theatrology", even the rather clumsy "theatre science" (from the German Theaterwissenschaft presumably), etc.

A large number of South African training institutions have adopted the term to refer to the academic/theoretical courses in drama, theatre and performance.

Predictably, the Dutch and Afrikaans versions of these terms follow the Germanic example and include Dramakunde, Dramatologie, and Teaterwetenskap.

A related concept and term is Theatre Research (Teaternavorsing in Afrikaans), which refer broadly to academic and scientific study of all aspects drama, theatre and performance. Often seen as a sub-section of the broader terms Theatre Studies.

See also Performance Theory and Performance Studies.


Teaterwoordeboek, Butterworth, 1977

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