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About the Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies

Director's Message:

The Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) proposes to teach Dance and Theatre performance as modes of critical inquiry, creative expression, pedagogy and public engagement. We see performance as a public forum for contemporary ideas, allowing us to test and debate the central concerns of our time in a space that is at once critical, emotional, and collective. 

Through performance training and research, we aim to produce graduates with expanded analytical, technical and imaginative capacities. As a public institution, we place diversity and inclusion at the centre of our teaching, performance-making and public programming.

Our curriculum will range from the classics to the contemporary with Africa as the central theme; it will cut across the traditional theatrical, dance and drama disciplines; it will span all corners of the globe while being cognisant of our place in Cape Town, South Africa and using the site of performance to deepen UCT’s critical education in the Humanities.



Drama Section Head's Message:

"Located in the heart of South Africa's beautiful Mother City and built on a proud tradition of excellence, the CTDPS is committed to nurturing individual creative and academic brilliance within the context of a vibrant local and international performing arts community" ~ Associate Professor Geoffrey Hyland, Head of Drama.

The Drama Department (now The Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies) has a long tradition of graduating actors, theatre-makers, teachers and theatre practitioners. The centre offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in theatre making and performance. All courses offered combine a stimulating range of practical and theoretical studies, which include acting, voice, dance, theatre making, stagecraft, production, directing and theory options.

The CTDPS' resource unit, the Little Theatre is located on the Hiddingh Campus of the University, in the heart of Cape Town's 'cultural precinct' and near the loci of the film and television industry. The centre has beautiful premises on the Hiddingh Campus, a well-stocked library and access to the Little Theatre (270 seats), the Arena Theatre (80 seats), the Bindery Lab (90 seats) and other flexible performance spaces in the Hiddingh Hall, Playroom and Rehearsal Studio.



Dance Section Head's Message:

Dance studies at the Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies (formally the School of Dance), University of Cape Town (UCT), has been dynamic. The curricula has transformed from its longstanding tradition of strictly training classical ballet dancers and teachers. Into a more expansive  dance training program that nurtures diverse bodies and movers in dance performance, choreography, dance teaching, and research within an academic context. Considered one of the foremost schools of dance on the African continent, the University of Cape Town  has the proud distinction of being one of only three higher education institutions in South Africa offering undergraduate and postgraduate studies in dance.

The undergraduate and postgraduate dance programs  embrace both the theoretical and the artistic. They prepare students to find and shape a personal and critical artistic voice in contemporary dance performance through a range of dance techniques, including contemporary, release, African contemporary, contemporary ballet, as well as different choreographic approaches. Our program of study, also offers a dance teaching stream that seeks to establish a firm pedagogical foundation for aspiring dance teachers and facilitators of dance.

Dance studies, like many other disciplines in the Southern African academy also must forge its response to what has become a global call for ‘decolonisation” of the curriculum. In what may seem like a rather unsettling time for students and academics, we are challenged to question, rethink, or even re-imagine curricula content, pedagogy, learning assumptions, and outcomes, to embrace diversity and African indigenous modes in our embodied practices. It is within these currents that we harness opportunities to explore new ways of knowing, being and becoming in dance. New ways that can  encourage us to think about dance from different contemporary perspectives and to understand the relevance and role of dance studies in South Africa in the here and now.

In 2018, a new development is set to commence. The School of Dance and the School of Drama at the University of Cape Town will merge to become one entity.  The partial rationale being increased support for postgraduate supervision and research in dance, an important need at this time to secure the position of dance in academia. The merger is also aimed at increasing opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations between dance and drama, leading to a broader and more enriching study of the two disciplines.

Transformation and change can be difficult, yielding fears and anxiety. Yet in the currents of rethinking and re-imagining the study of dance in academia, chaos, uncertainty, and risk-taking,  do not emerge as forces to be feared but as necessary states for creative ingenuity to flourish. Our new 2018 dance program is designed to enable students to experience dance through both interdisciplinary and discipline specific lens within the frames of performance, pedagogy, theatre-making, research and scenography.

In studying dance at the UCT Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies (CTDPS), you’ll be a part of our inspiring creative community. You will have the chance to interact and collaborate with other creative arts students such as actors, directors, visual artists, musicians, and theatre-makers.