Centrality of Performance

The Interpretation & Performance Studies program is grounded in the creative and scholarly examination of the performing act. We believe that performance, whether based on broad culture, aesthetics, or everyday life, is the creative and expressive basis for understanding human action and interaction.

Students will develop an understanding of human interaction as it is expressed in a variety of communicative, mediated, and performance contexts. Students will choose an area of concentration related to their interests with the goal of enhancing critical thinking, sound analysis, and dynamic expression. 

Our Academic Programs


Students of Interpretation & Performance Studies designate their major as Communication, Media & Theatre Arts Comprehensive (BA). This degree reflects the intrinsic interdisciplinary nature of the Interpretation & Performance Studies field. Students select a foundational course in each of five programs of the school of CMTA.

Core Subjects include:

  • Applied Drama & Theatre for the Young
  • Digital Media & Cinema Studies
  • Communication
  • Interpretation & Performance Studies
  • Theatre Arts
  • Voice & Articulation (required)

Students will then choose a primary and secondary area of concentration (or two primary areas) related to their curricular/professional interests and goals. Their WI (Writing Intensive) course must correspond to the primary area of concentration.  

An articulation agreement with Washtenaw Community College exist as well. A minor in Communication Media and Theatre Arts Comprehensive is available for students in any major.


Graduate students have two options:

  1. Theatre Arts with a concentration in IPS [MA]
  2. Communication with a concentration in IPS [MA]

These concentrations are situated within the respective Communication-based or Theatre-based disciplines. Both engage theoretical and applied work reflecting broad notions of performance that include traditional aesthetic and nontraditional texts. 

Student Activities and Involvement

6 Figures

Members of the Playback Theatre Company have performed and conducted workshops for numerous groups in southeast Michigan. Many of these were youth centered, like Ozone House, Girl Scouts, Gear Up and EMU College for a Day, while others were for EMU events, including MLK Day, and organizations like the Intercultural Competency Institute and the Faculty Development Center. The company also travels, and has appeared in the Midwest, Arizona and Canada.

Performance Hours

The Interpretation and Performance Studies program hosts monthly celebrations of performance that give students and faculty an opportunity to share a range of work unlike anything else offered on EMU's campus.

Performance Hours span traditional and non-traditional forms of presentation: slam poetry, puppetry, original music, painting, comedy routines, readings of literature, performance art, personal narratives, and even performance of text messages and tweets.

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Contact Us

Dr. Anita Rich

Program Director

714G Pray-Harrold


[email protected]