About Theatre and Film Studies
What we do
We study theatre and film as performing arts and as cultural processes in order to provoke a more direct understanding of ourselves as participants in, and as performers and consumers of, culture.
Our approach is interactive and interdisciplinary, incorporating literary, historical, aesthetic, philosophical, psychoanalytic and socio-political theories from the twin perspectives of the artist and the spectator/reader, through the experiences of doing and watching as well as through the processes of intellectual inquiry and research.
Students are encouraged to work both as scholars and as artists at all levels: to read and think and write, but also to create, to act and direct and edit.
Ideally, students study both theatre and film, as these disciplines have in common various theories of genre, representation and performance, as well as the practices of acting and directing.
Theatre and film studies courses integrate theory and practice, with performance and digital film work serving as grounds for scholarly writing and all research having the potential to provoke artistic experimentation.
Theatre and Film studies are recognised university subjects that have been developing in Europe and the United States since the 1950s and are traditionally united in departments around the world. This trend is now reflected in other New Zealand universities, with Canterbury on the forefront.
The Department began with the introduction of the first interdepartmental (INCO) courses in Drama in 1979.
In 1988, the Drama Programme was instituted with the introduction of the first BAs in Drama into New Zealand, followed in 1996 by the inauguration of the first postgraduate degree programme in Drama.
In 1997, the Department of Theatre and Film Studies was formally established, and in 2001, we instituted Te Puna Toi (Performance Research Project NZ), with ongoing links to the Centre for Performance Research (Aberystwyth, Wales), as a way of facilitating staff and student investigations into theatre, film and performance; Te Puna Toi serves as the programme's site for developing archives, for bringing artists and scholars to Christchurch and hosting events such as Performance Studies International Conference in 2003, and for providing the New Zealand Film Archive’s only public viewing facility (VACCESS) in Christchurch.