MA in Performance Studies

Programme Description

MA in Performance Studies at AUD is a unique programme and the first of its kind in India. In the present context of globalized culture and its products to study it in transition and to reconnect with the society, Performance Studies has been established as a discipline in many renowned universities. ‘‘Performance Studies’’ is an interdisciplinary field of research that draws on the social sciences, the humanities, art and theatre. It focuses on the pervasiveness of performance as a central element of social and cultural life, including not only theatre and dance but also such forms as rituals and practices of everyday life, avant-garde performance art, popular entertainment, sports, political demonstrations and potentially any instance of expressive behaviour or cultural enactment. Thus, the programme aims to contribute to the development of engaged scholarship in the field with a unique perspective given the rich and varied experience situated in and informed by the culture and heritage of India. This program allows the students to develop a unique critical thinking in the field of performance, which can be further implemented in their own practice

Programme Objectives:

  • Help students in locating performance in the varied contexts in which it operates
  • Help them appreciate the multiple dimensions of performance – as social phenomena and as an area of knowledge
  • Help students to develop analytical skills and independent thinking to interpret performances and foster research, which is informed by a strong social quotient.
  • Enable students to read and comprehend academic literature relevant to performance studies
  • Help students to develop a deeper understanding of both theories in and practice of performance art, through multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Programme Structure

It is a two year course with two semesters each year. A semester is of 16 weeks duration. The students should register for a minimum 16 credits each semester and need to earn 64 credits to complete the Programme. They may register for more credits on payment of extra fees. All the students of SCCE need to take three common foundational courses, one each in the first three semesters, for 12 credits in total. They should also take four Elective Courses offered by the School or any other School in the University, one each in all the four semesters, for 16 credits in total. They need to take seven compulsory Core Courses from their respective discipline for 28 credits in total. Their MA dissertation work and display in the final semester will earn them eight credits.


The Foundation Courses, common to all students in the School, provide them with exposure to key texts in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies. The Elective Courses offered in the School explore interdisciplinary grounds of all the four programmes.

The Core Courses draw upon Theories of Performance, which provides an overview of various theories of performance, both modern and pre-modern and across the globe. It places emphasis on the theoretical developments in contemporary times especially in the context of inter-/multi-disciplinary approaches such as the Avant Garde, Post Dramatic, Digital and Internet Performances. History/Historiography of Performance, envisaged as an attempt to look at the history of performance breaking away from the linear model of historical studies. Aurality and Movement in Popular Performance is about understanding the realms of the ‘aural’ and of ‘movement’ in and as popular performance in the contemporary period, as the bearers of creative processes embedded in the social and historical context of modernity. Performance as Research, conceptualises performance as research in itself rather than separating and focusing on research as a background of/ backdrop to performance practices. Reading/Decoding Performance imparts tools to critically review and interpret various kinds of performance.

Course Requirements

Each course has its specific set of requirements which are spelt out during the orientation programme where the courses are presented. The requirements may consist of regular attendance and classroom participation, written assignments of different lengths, classroom presentations, take-home exams, diarised observations and so on. There are no term-end exams written without books under supervision.

The completion of the programme successfully and meritoriously will depend on the completion of the required number of courses, voluntary participation in all activities of the School, writing and presenting a dissertation at the end of the second year.


Semester I

Semester II

Semester III

Semester IV

Foundation Course – I

Foundation Course – II

Foundation Course – III

Core Course – VII

Aurality and Movement in Popular Performance

Elective – I

Elective – II

Elective – III

Elective – IV

Core Course – I

History and Historiography of Performance I

Core Course – III

History and Historiography of Performance II

Core Course – V

Performance as Research


Core Course – II

Theories of Performance I

Core Course – IV

Theories of Performance II

Core Course – VI

Reading and Decoding Performance



Monsoon Semester (for Semesters 1 and 3)


Body in the Perfrmative Matrix


Theories on the Avant-Garde


Space and Spectatorship


Lineages of the Contemporary


Visuality: A Historical Overview


Modern Indian Theatre and Contemporary Performances


Winter Semester (for Semesters 2 and 4)


Sensorium: Building and Debris


Modernism: Imprints of the Political


Post Colonialism: Literature and Arts


Aesthetics and Social Stratification


Art and Social Movements


Performance Making: Exploring Body, Space, Sound Objects and Media




Critical Theory


Cultural Studies


Theories on Marginality



The minimum eligibility criterion is an undergraduate degree in any discipline with pass marks (or equivalent grade) from a recognised University. It is necessary that the candidates have reasonable exposure to the historical and formal elements of the art of performance and a keen interest in the critical analysis of performance. Candidates appearing for the final year examination of a degree can also apply.

Candidates appearing for the final year examination of a degree can also apply.


Fee Structure

Tuition Fees: Rs. 20,960 per semester (Rs. 1310 per credit)

Extramural Interface Cost: Rs. 5000 per year

Caution Deposit: Rs. 5000 (One-time, Refundable)

Student Welfare Fund: Rs. 500 per semester

If a student opts for extra credits an additional fee of Rs. 1310 per credit has to be paid.

*Partial/full fee waiver and scholarships are available.

Admission Procedure

Total number of seats: 14

Selection is based on an entrance test and an interview.

Reservation norms of Government of NCT of Delhi will apply.

Admission Updates

Online Application Form