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About Us

Overview

The Department of Performing and Media Arts leads students from all disciplines through artistic and scholarly explorations of live performance forms, such as theatre and dance, and mediated forms, such as cinema and television. Students are challenged to think creatively, critically and historically about the world around them as they identify and interpret the power of image, sound, gesture and movement and cultivate their own artistic and academic voices.

Christopher Reeve

History

Building on the legacy of Cornell faculty who pioneered the field of theatre studies, PMA faculty and students are taking the next steps in this evolution. Signaled in part by our change from Theatre, Film and Dance to Performing and Media Arts in 2012, our research and creative work has forged new modes as we find fresh ways to produce work across disciplines and at the sites of contact among cinema, media, dance, theatre, performance art, installation and more.

Academics

We are proud to offer popular courses like “American Cinema,” “Television,” and “The American Musical,” and also more intimate instruction in filmmaking, acting, dance technique and design. Students from across campus come to PMA to combine critical and creative inquiry with gesture, movement, vocal expressivity and material application, directly informing their career successes, no matter their chosen path. Those who chose to major or minor in PMA achieve the highest honors. Our alumni include

  • Tony, Emmy, and Oscar winners
  • Pulitzer winners
  • Tenured faculty at top research universities.
Theatre Inclusion

Faculty

Our faculty’s strengths span the spectrum of expertise in the performing and media arts, with accomplished researchers and industry professionals building a robust curriculum.  Actively creating important artistic and scholarly works in theatre, dance, film, television and new media, PMA’s faculty have been nominated for and won top honors from the Pulitzer Prize in Drama to the leading book prizes conferred by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Diversity and Inclusion

Our vision is vitally transnational, reflected for instance by coursework in “Global Cinema,” “Global Dance” and “Global Stages.” It is also work focused on issues of ethics, law and social justice, demonstrated by efforts like those of our many faculty and students who are leaders in prison studies or in prison theatre at Cornell and beyond. We engage the world around us through our work and fully believe in the arts’ social, political and cultural impact on local and global problems.