Students in a dance studio
Challenging students to think creatively, critically and historically


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.

Student performance

Learning Goals

Through their involvements in PMA, students will develop the following:

  • The capacity to engage aesthetic categories and develop language for critical discussion
  • Creative and critical skills in performance and media
  • Understanding by study and through experience the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of creative work
  • Understanding how creative work is made
  • A deepened historical knowledge of inter-cultural traditions on a global scale
Christopher Reeve


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.


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.
Bruce Levitt with students


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.

PMA Events

Sep 22
Friday 03:00 PM
Sep 28
Thursday 07:30 PM


Schwartz Center for Performing Arts Black Box Theatre
Sep 29
Friday 05:00 PM


Schwartz Center for Performing Arts Black Box Theatre
Sep 30
Saturday 02:00 PM


Schwartz Center for Performing Arts Black Box Theatre
Sep 30
Saturday 07:30 PM


Schwartz Center for Performing Arts Black Box Theatre
Oct 03
Tuesday 05:00 PM