Amateurism Across the Arts Conference

Hosted by the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley, Amateurism Across the Arts is an exploration of vernacular, popular, fannish, kitsch, informal, self-taught, user-generated, and DIY production in music, architecture, literature, the visual arts, dance,  and new media– especially in relation to raced, classed, and gendered notions of value.  How do the implicitly skilled “arts” rupture and reorganize themselves around hierarchies of taste?  And how can critical race and feminist/queer scholarship account for “hobbyist” — that is, extra-institutional, self-organized, or improvised — modes of cultural production and circulation?  If amateurism has been traditionally disavowed in modernist and avant-garde historiographies, it is at the same time persistently—even obsessively—invoked, and is hence inextricably woven into those discourses.
The symposium asks how the “high” and the “low” are porous constructions by looking at the ways that these charged terms have been deployed and dismantled across several artistic disciplines, particularly as we examine the alternative economies and systems of distribution that attend such forms of making. While it has become commonplace for “fine” artists to recruit untrained participants into their practices, it is vital to acknowledge that many non-professional forms of making grow out of necessity and survival. In addition, though “amateur” is frequently used as a shorthand for the unpracticed and/or uninteresting, this conference seeks to understand its connections to its root word amare: a complex outgrowth of critical investment, pleasure, and love.

Schedule of Events

9:30am: Door Open to the Public

10:00: Welcome by ARC Director Julia Bryan-Wilson

10:20: Self-organized student hip-hop dance performance

10:30-12:30: Street Modernists: Urban Undoings of High and Low

“God is Beautiful and He Loves Beauty”
Talinn Grigor, Professor of Art History, University of California, Davis

“Modern and Vernacular—How Brazilian mid-century architecture problematizes this inherent contradiction”
Fernando Luiz Lara, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, University of Texas

Response by Greg Castillo, Associate Professor of Architecture, College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley

12:30-1:30: Lunch Break

1:30-3:30: Self-Made: Cultural Production Outside of Industry

“Piracy and Fandom: DIY Media Distribution”
Abigail De Kosnik, Associate Professor, Berkeley Center for New Media and Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies, University of California, Berkeley

“Post-autonomous literature in Latin America: the radical art of poverty”
Cecilia Palmeiro, Professor, Contemporary Latin American Cultural Studies, NYU in Buenos Aires and National University of Tres de Febrero

Response by Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Latin American Literature & Culture, Spanish and Portuguese Department, UC Berkeley

3:30-3:40: Self-Taught Student Music Performance

3:45-5:45: Everyday Avant-Gardes and Non-Elite Evaluations

“Kenner und Liebhaber Revisited: ‘Advanced’ Music and Sound since 1950”
Benjamin Piekut, Associate Professor, Music, Cornell University

“Kaisik Wong: Extravagant Appropriation”
Marci Kwon, Assistant Professor, Art & Art History, Stanford University

Response by Stephanie Syjuco, Assistant Professor, Art Practice, UC Berkeley

5:45-6:15: Student DIY Couture Fashion Show, hosted by Derrick Duren (Arts + Design Student Committee)

6:15-7 Reception

Amateurism Across the Arts is an event hosted by the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley, and co-sponsored in part by the Townsend Center for the Humanities, University of California Humanities Research Institute, Judith Butler’s Maxine Elliot Endowed Chair Funds, the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, and the Berkeley Center for New Media. Additional support is provided by Departments of MusicHistory of Art, Spanish and Portuguese, Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, Critical Theory, the Center for Race & Gender, and the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies.

New Play Reading Series: “Left Unfini–” by toshi pau

Comedy, drama, romance, tragedy. Noise, silence, intimacy, enmity. Whatever you want, nothing you can have. Everything you need, maybe not what you want. A distant future… or perhaps a distant past? Follow the lives of three friends who go abroad to three different places, looking for something —anything— to keep their dreams alive. But what happens when dreams die? Join us for this reading of the new play “Left Unfini–,” and be sure to stay for a discussion with the playwright.

Don’t dreams always seem to make sense, even when they don’t? Don’t you ever feel like you can do anything? Doesn’t it feel liberating? And yet, sometimes oppressive? How do we truly know when we are dreaming? When does it start? When does it end? Do I dream of being a butterfly? Or am I a mere butterfly dreaming of being human?

⁃ Zhuangzi

toshi pau is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at U.C. Berkeley, and a co-director of the New Play Reading Series for the 2017-2018 academic year. His interests as a new playwright revolve around the possibilities of language and non-language in theater, meaning and the absence/construction of context, and disturbing preconceived notions of reality.

Little Russians (Student Workshop)

Little Russians is a TDPS Workshop (work-in-progress) presented by undergraduate Lana Cosic.

In 19th century Little Russia, an elderly couple’s peaceful, predictable daily routine begins to unravel, revealing the fantastical dysfunctionality of their world. Inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s “Old World Landowners” and the Greek myth of Baucis and Philemon, this original play examines how long-lasting relationships last and evolve, and the power of simple events to disrupt daily life’s cyclical patterns. 

New Play Reading Series: “Tourist Trap” by Marie Yuen

It’s Cantonese meets culture shock the day Laura arrives in Hong Kong. But that’s okay for this ABC (American-Born-Chinese) because when dinner with a local friend turns into a mad dash about town, Laura’s game on for anything: from black pepper steak set meals to dancing with drunken bankers and a Canadian who may (or may not) be a Gurkha. Tourist Trap: A play for the hopeless adventurer in all of us.

About Marie Yuen: 
Trained at Chicago Dramatists Workshop, the Theatre Building Chicago Musical Writer’s Workshop and Artistic New Directions with Jeffrey Sweet (NY), Marie’s short one-acts Silk Scarf and My Father’s Father were produced by North Avenue Productions in 1996. A 20-minute version of Too Many Cooks (Book: Marie Yuen, Lyrics: Julie Pedersen, Music: Jill Marshall-Work) was workshop produced by Theatre Building Chicago in 2000 and in 2005 she was commissioned by Scott Foresman Publishing to write Dreams Come True and The Boy Who Would Be Famous for their 2007 Reading Series: Readers’ Theatre Anthology (for elementary school students). In 2007, Marie wrote and executive produced Wingmen (a pilot about 5 Asian American men living in Chicago) which was a finalist and runner-up at the 2007 Chicago Comedy TV Pilot Competition and which screened at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre in July, 2007. Most recently in 2012, a 10-minute excerpt from her play “Autumn Moon” was produced as part of A-Squared Theatre Workshop’s sold-out run of “My Asian Mom.” 

Onstage, Marie has appeared: twice in The King & I (Hong Kong and Chicago); as a platinum blonde tap dancing angel named Virtue in Anything Goes (Chicago); and as Tommy the Cat in Dick Whittington and His Cat (Hong Kong). Backstage she has stage managed for YAMA Works (Hamlet), the Pintig Cultural Group (Nanay Isog and her Children) and offstage she’s been a script reader for Victory Gardens Theatre (2004) as well as a Box Office Associate & House Manager for Lifeline Theatre (2001-2005). 

Winner of the 1993 South China Morning Post/Radio Television Hong Kong Short Story Competition for “The Audition” and the1998 Dalan Award by CITA for Excellence in Acting, Marie has a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from the University of Illinois-Champaign/ Urbana and is a past copywriter for BBDO Hong Kong. She has been a member of the Dramatists Guild of America since 2000.

The New Play Reading Series brings outstanding new and in-progress work by up-and-coming and established playwrights to the UC Berkeley campus. In the monthly New Play Reading Series, new plays are read by TDPS students, followed by a discussion with the playwright. This event is sponsored by the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies.

Exploration of Forms Movement Workshop: “Afrobeats Party Dance Workshop” with Nkei Oruche


Part of the Public Movement Workshop Series 
No dance training required to participate.
$5 for UCB Participants (with ID); $10 for general public  per workshop — cash or check
No need to RSVP; simply show up ready to move.

From Lagos to Bahia, London to Kinshasa, Lome to Port-Au- Prince, Luanda to Kingston, experience movements and music from urban African Diaspora’s clubs and parties. This workshop will explore basic to advanced moves of Afrobeats dance styles, while incorporating techniques and movement from other genres including Ndombolo, Kuduro, Afrohouse and Dancehall.

Nkei Oruche is an Igbo-Nigerian performer, educator, and producer specializing in street dance and music styles from Africa and her Diaspora. As a choreographer, dancer and performer she has enthralled audiences from street corners, to house parties to the stages of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Oakland Museum of California, Yoshi’s SF, Dance Mission Theater, the Independent, the Mezzanine and the California Academy of Sciences. Nkeiruka has performed with Magic System, Les Twins, Amara Tabor-Smith, Zakiya Harris & Elephantine, MJ’S Brass Boppers, and is currently a front-person for Gbedu Town Radio, a live ensemble of dancers and musicians covering Afro-diasporic street and club music. In 2016, she directed Bacchanal de Afrique-Til’ Dance Do Us Part, a tongue-in- cheek dance-theater piece narrating urban African life stages via
a soundtrack of Afrobeats, Azonto, Turf, Second-Line, and Dancehall, against a narrative of Black empowerment.

Currently, Oruche is focused on expanding and sustaining grassroots change-making and community resiliency through the production, performance and embodiment of art and culture. She is a co-founder of BoomShake, a community organization that uses street drumming as a tool for cultural survival and social justice, and the artistic director of Afro Urban Society, a meeting place for urban African art, culture and people.

Exploration of Forms Movement Workshop: “Protean Progressions” with Sherwood Chen


Part of the Public Movement Workshop Series 
No dance training required to participate.
$5 for UCB Participants (with ID); $10 for general public  per workshop — cash or check
No need to RSVP; simply show up ready to move.

This warming and dynamic training offers a torrent of movements across and through the floor to challenge kinesthetic, motor and sensorial awareness—riddled with imagery and sense memory—as we individually and collectively test limit, drive, scale, fun, rigor and rhythm. 

Sherwood Chen has worked as a performer with artists including Anna Halprin, Xavier Le Roy, Amara Tabor-Smith, Min Tanaka, inkBoat, Sara Shelton Mann Grisha Coleman and l’agence touriste. He has lead movement workshops and trained companies internationally in studio and in natural and urban landscapes in places including Ménagerie de Verre, Oficina Cultural Oswald de Andrade, Independent Dance / Siobahn Davies Studios, Earthdance, Centro Nacional de las Artes, Chez Bushwick and Dock 11. For over twenty years, he has contributed to ongoing Body Weather research initiated by Tanaka and proponents at large.



Restroom for Customers Only is a TDPS workshop (work-in-progress) written, directed, and starring undergraduate John Hildenbrand. 

Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again.” Entirely true and unembellished, Restroom For Customers Only is an autoethnographic display of a 50-year-old man who has traveled the nation in search of a home and finally found one as a UC Berkeley student.

EXPLORATION OF FORMS: “When I Choose to Explain the Curve of My Path” with Brontez Purnell


Part of the Public Movement Workshop Series 
No dance training required to participate.
$5 for UCB Participants (with ID); $10 for general public  per workshop — cash or check
No need to RSVP; simply show up ready to move.
Please wear loose and comfortable clothing.

In this movement/word workshop we will explore the interface of Brontez’s first two artistic loves—dance and writing. In moving through the world of dance—a body based practice that often forgoes the use of speech—the mode of physical expression is emotive—to express with gesture where words may fail. In this workshop we will explore/investigate/deconstruct the inescapable world of movement and the written word. Please bring a note book and pen.

Brontez Purnell has been publishing, performing, and curating in the Bay Area for over ten years. He is author of the cult zine Fag School, frontman for his band The Younger Lovers, and founder and choreographer of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company. Formerly a dancer with Gravy Train!!!, a queer electro indie band that gained national prominence in the mid-2000s, Purnell’s other prominent artistic collaborations include his supporting role in the queer independent feature film, “I Want Your Love” (dir. Travis Mathews, 2012). He was a guest curator for the Berkeley Art Museum’s L@TE program in 2012, awarded an invitation to the 2012 Radar Lab queer arts summer residency, honored by OutMagazine’s 2012 Hot 100 List and 2013 Most Eligible Bachelors List, and most recently won the 2014 SF Bay Guardian’s Goldie for Performance/Music.


Join our dance community! TDPS is looking to cast dancers for the TDPS Fall Choreography Showcase: Solos + Duets. This showcase features choreography by TDPS students, and is directed by acclaimed choreographer and TDPS Professor Joe Goode.

Please come to the audition ready to move!

To be cast, dancers must be able to commit to rehearsals Thursdays 2-4 PM.
Dancers will enroll in Theater 146A for 1 credit.
Performances are December 7 and 8, 2017 and are open to the public. There will be two performances each night, one at 5:00 PM and one at 8:00 PM; it will be decided at a later point which dances go on which program.


Berkeley Dance Project 2018  features new choreography by Katie Faulkner and James Graham. James Graham’s collaborative piece explores gender identity, self-understanding, and how we present ourselves in the world, while Katie Faulkner’s multimedia dance work builds imaginative connections between stories of metamorphosis, surreality, and the supernatural. 

No sign up necessary. Dancers, please arrive dressed and ready to move at 6:00 PM. 

Additional information is available under the  “Productions | Auditions” tab of the TDPS Callboard. Please read details. 


**Please note this new format: Berkeley Dance Project will be created in the fall and performed in February.**


The Carter Sisters is a play about the sisterhood of Tiana and Lorraine Carter as they grapple with the recent death of their mother through their artistic practices—Tiana through her spoken-word poetry and Lorraine through her playwriting.  However, offstage, their relationship is stifling and combative. As they work to reconcile their relationship, their estranged father is released from his 20-year stint in prison and wants to become a part of their lives again.

Join us for a reading of the play The Carter Sisters by Lashon Daley, followed by a discussion with the playwright Lashon Daley, and the director, Malika Saramaat Imhotep. 

Lashon Daley has been writing since she was young girl. After earning her MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, Lashon moved to New Orleans for several years.  During her time there, Lashon discovered the joys of storytelling, sparking her interest in folklore and community stories. After the death of her mother in 2013, Lashon found that performing spoken-word poetry evoked the part of her mother that lived on in her: her voice, her face, and the movements of her hands.

Lashon’s passion has continued to fuel her work as a writer, especially of children’s literature and poetry. She is a 2014 Callaloo Fellow and a 2015 UC Berkeley Chancellor Fellow, where she is working towards her PhD in Performance Studies. Lashon’s work has appeared in O, The Oprah MagazineStorytelling Magazine; and Underwater New York. An active performer, Lashon makes her home in Oakland, California. The Carter Sisters is her first play.

The New Play Reading Series brings outstanding new and in-progress work by up-and-coming and established playwrights to the UC Berkeley campus. In the monthly New Play Reading Series, new plays are read by TDPS students, followed by a discussion with the playwright. This is sponsored by the Townsend Center for the Humanities in conjunction with the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies.

Open Auditions – “Metamorphoses”

Audition information, including show description, casting details and production schedule are available under the “Productions | Auditions” tab of the TDPS Callboard. Please read all the details and then sign up for a time using the link provided.



New Student and New Transfer Student Open House

TDPS invites new students and new transfer students to an open house. Meet Michael Mansfield (Undergraduate Academic Advisor) and Lisa Wymore (TDPS Chair) to ask any questions you may have during this special Orientation Week event.


TDPS Undergraduate Welcome!

Are you an incoming student interested in learning more about TDPS? A current TDPS student? A transfer student? 

Join TDPS from 4:30-5:30 PM on August 22, 2017 on the Zellerbach Playhouse stage for conversation, cookies, and connection with the TDPS community. Meet faculty, staff, and fellow students to learn about the department and hear what’s new!


With dance pieces touching on topics from consumerism, to the connection between love and death, and the linking of freedom to oppression, the Fall Choreography Showcase 2017 highlights the work of emerging choreographers. Under the direction of choreographer and TDPS professor Joe Goode, TDPS students present original solos and duets. Come see the next generation of dance artists!

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING CHANGE: Rather than two performances each evening (5:00 & 8:00 PM), as previously scheduled, there will now be ONE performance each evening at 7:00 PM.

Tickets are free, but a reservation is required. Please complete the entire purchase process to “buy” a $0.00 ticket.



Cal Students, Staff & Faculty, & Seniors: $10. ID required.
General Admission: $15

Written by David Ives
Directed by TDPS Students

TDPS presents an evening of one act comedies drawn from the collections of award-winning playwright David Ives and directed by TDPS students. Ives’s offbeat sketches mix the witty and the wise-cracking, the surreal and the satiric, the poetic and the perplexing. The evening will include: 

Time Flies – directed by Angelina Steshenko
English Made Simple – directed by Ceylan Ersoy     
The Universal Language – directed by Tanvi Agrawal
Sure Thing​ – directed by Carmel Suchard 


Cal Students, Staff & Faculty, & Seniors: $13 online presale, $15 at the door. ID required.
General Admission: $18 online presale, $20 at the door.


Written by Dipika Guha
Directed by Christine Nicholson
November 16-19, 2017// Zellerbach Playhouse

Sometimes, the business of beginning a new world involves forgetting the old one. But when you forget your wife to marry a ballerina with an artificial spine…and the ballerina forgets you to marry your fashionable wife…and then they both fall in love with the mechanic…suddenly, the ordinary rules of love are impossible to follow. Dipika Guha’s wryly poetic and playful comedy Mechanics of Love questions the laws governing who and how we love, and the cost of making sense of it all. TDPS presents this fast-paced, four-person production in an intimate in-the-round configuration on the Zellerbach Playhouse stage November 16-19.

Mechanics of Love features choreography by Chloe Chan, scenic and costume design by Annie Smart, lighting design by Jack Carpenter, and sound design by Emily Fassler. The cast includes: Jade Moujaes, Ciclady Rodriguez, Baela Tinsley, and Marcus van Duren.

“I think the show reveals how exhilarating and terrifying it is to find and fall in love, and how difficult it is to maintain a relationship, how hard it is to juggle ‘having it all’ at the same time that you are trying to discover what “it all” actually is, and, after making that discovery, what it means to let “it” go, whether that be from desire or necessity.” 

-Director Christine Nicholson

About Playwright Dipika Guha

Dipika Guha was born in Calcutta and raised in India, Russia and the United Kingdom. She is a Hodder Fellow at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University for the year 2017-2018 and was the inaugural recipient of the Shakespeare’s Sister Playwriting Award with the Lark Play Development Center, A Room of Her Own and Hedgebrook. Her plays include Yoga Play (South Coast Repertory Theatre, KILROYS LIST ’17),  The Rules (SF Playhouse), The Art of Gaman (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor ’16, KILROYS LIST ’16, Relentless Award Semi-Finalist), I Enter the Valley (Theatreworks New Play Festival, Southern Rep New Play Festival), Mechanics of Love (Crowded Fire Theatre, Two by For, NYC) and Blown Youth (published by Playscripts). Most recently her work has been developed at Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Roundabout Underground, McCarter Theatre’s Sallie B. Goodman Residency, New Georges, Shotgun Players, the Sam French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, Southern Rep, 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and the Magic Theatre amongst others. Dipika has been the recipient of several residencies and fellowships including the Djerassi Residency Program, the Hermitage Retreat, Ucross, SPACE at Ryder Farm and a Dramatists Guild Fellowship. She is an alumnus of Ars Nova Playgroup, the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, the Women’s Project Lab and the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. She was recently a visiting artist at the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School, is a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco and a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. MFA: Yale School of Drama under Paula Vogel. Dipika is currently writing on American Gods, the series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel for Starz.   

Read our interview with Dipika Guha.


Cal Students, Staff & Faculty, & Seniors: $13 online in advance, $15 at the door. ID required.
General Admission: $18 online in advance, $20 at the door.

Featuring choreography by Katie Faulkner and James Graham
February 15-24, 2018 // Zellerbach Playhouse

Berkeley Dance Project 2018 features new choreography by Katie Faulkner and James Graham, as well as several TDPS students. James Graham’s collaborative piece explores gender identity, self-understanding, and how we present ourselves in the world, while Katie Faulkner’s multimedia dance work builds imaginative connections between stories of metamorphosis, surreality, and the supernatural. 


Cal Students, Staff & Faculty, & Seniors: $13 online in advance, $15 at the door. ID required.
General Admission: $18 online in advance, $20 at the door.

Written and Directed by Philip Kan Gotanda
Playhouse Production
April 20-29 // Zellerbach Playhouse

When Lord Rosanjin dreams the demon Kitamura is coming to kill him, his horror is so profound that he hires two bodyguards to defend him against his own hallucinations. But are they who they appear? And what of the icy, repressed Lady Zuma and his petulant daughter Otsu? Something rots in the House of Rosanjin. For this mythic fever dream, Gotanda—revisiting one of his early works—collaborates with choreographer Katie Faulkner to weave a high and low brow tale of how love kills love.


Cal Students, Staff & Faculty, & Seniors: $13 online in advance, $15 at the door. ID required.
General Admission: $18 online in advance, $20 at the door

Written By Mary Zimmerman
Directed by Chris Herold 
October 13-22 // Zellerbach Playhouse

Tales from Ovid come to magical life—in all their playful, passionate, savage, elemental glory—in Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses. In this visually fantastic world where the human and the divine collide, such familiar figures as Poseidon, King Midas and Eurydice share universal stories of love, hope, loss, betrayal and transformation.


Dumb Puppy is a mystery play for the 21st century, for the United States, taking place in the future when the surveillance state has overstepped its bounds domestically. The play is elliptical, filtering through the mind of K, a mother in Lawton OK, and revolving around a mashup of a salon weekend at Marie Antoinette’s Hameau de le Reine meets Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory meets Studio 54 meets Johnny Depp’s filmography.

Join us for a reading of the play Dumb Puppy by Elizabeth Spreen, followed by a discussion with the playwright. Presented by the Contemporary Drama Working Group.

E. Hunter Spreen is a writer and independent theater artist. Elizabeth enjoys exchanging ideas with artists, makers and thinkers across disciplines. Her work includes performance, communal gatherings, facilitated investigations, broadsides and experimental texts. Her work has been developed and/or produced by Crowded Fire, Playwrights Foundation, Shotgun Players and Paducah Mining Company. She is currently developing The Laurette Taylor Experience, a time-based immersive game, and Dumb Puppy, a play cycle that will include three full length plays and a series of shorter performance events. She is a playwright in residence with Playwrights Foundation’s four year Resident Playwright Initiative. Work includes Split the Stick, Dumb Puppy, The West is Won, Care of Trees, six/eleven, This World Is Not My Home and ElectrOphelia. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Contemporary Drama Working Group brings outstanding new and in-progress work by up-and-coming and established playwrights to the UC Berkeley campus. In the monthly New Play Reading Series, new plays are read by TDPS students, followed by a discussion with the playwright.This is sponsored by the Townsend Center for the Humanities in conjunction with the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies.

Director + Choreographers’ Meet and Greet // FALL 2017

PLEASE NOTE: This event will continue as scheduled. Attendees are encouraged to enter through the west doors by Durham.

TDPS wants YOU to come out and audition for Fall 2017 productions! If you’re interested in participating in or learning more about these upcoming productions, attend the Director Meet & Greet, hosted by your TDPS Liaisons, where you’ll have a chance to meet the directors & choreographers and hear about their show firsthand.

Artists in attendance:
• Chris Herold // Director of Metamorphoses (Playhouse)
• Christine Nicholson // Director of Mechanics of Love (Studio)
• Katie Faulkner  // Choreographer for Berkeley Dance Project 2018
• James Graham // Choreographer for Berkeley Dance Project 2018
• John Hildenbrand // Author of Restroom for Customers Only (Student Workshop)
• Lashon Daley // Organizer of  The New Play Reading Series
Peter Glazer // Faculty advisor for Spring 2018 Studio One-Acts (announcing an opportunity for students to apply to direct!)

Each director/choreographer will speak briefly about their show and what performers they are looking to cast, followed by a Q&A, plus time for students to talk individually with directors and choreographers.  We will have coffee, juice, and donut holes on hand for the reception!!!

TDPS GRAD RACE – First Year Performance Studies Graduate Student Showing

TDPS GRAD RACE is created and performed by the first-year Ph.D. in Performance Studies cohort: Caleb Luna, Tonika Sealy-Thompson and Toshi Pau. There will be a reception following the showing. 

This is a free event, but please make a reservation using the ticketing link. 

This will be a fragrance-free event, so please refrain from wearing scented products. If you would like more information about scents and alternatives, please reference this document.


Director’s Showcase

Our annual showing of scenes by students in our Stage Directing class, guided by Christopher Herold. This two-day event is one of the best opportunities to see the hot new talent coming to the theater scene.


Program A (Performances: Thursday, May 4 at 2:00 pm and Friday, May 5 at 7:00 pm)

Reefer Madness: Directed by Elizabeth Mathis
Private Lives: Directed by Jordan Don
Sor Juana: Directed by Isabel Cruz
Mother F@#ker With The Hat: Directed by Sam Peurach
The Constant Wife: Directed by Lila Mullins
Almost Maine: Directed by Elizabeth Woolf

Program B (Performances: Thursday, May 4 at 7:00 pm and Friday, May 5 at 2:00 pm)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Directed by Claire Pearson
The Nether: Directed by James Aaron Oh
Wash and Dry: Directed by Alex Parkin
Bent: Directed by Cameron La Brie
Letters Home: Directed by Beatrice Hadjipateras Dodgeon
Wit: Directed by Hanah Chang



Cal Day 2017 TDPS Events

UC Berkeley

CalDay is UC Berkeley’s annual open house to welcome the community, prospective students, current students, kids and families. For complete information about the day, please visit the Cal Day website. Events hosted by the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies are as follows:

Making Networks: A Dance Theater Workshop
10:00 Am – 11:00 AM  
Bancroft Dance Studio 

TDPS presents a workshop by choreographer Krista DeNio that includes a physical warm-up, ensemble-building exercises, and “making” (bringing creative ideas into choreographic action). Content will be drawn from “NETWORK,” the Berkeley Dance Project (BDP) piece choreographed by DeNio about networks of communication among cells–in bodies, prisons and plants. Attendees will receive a discount to the BDP performance (running April 20–29 at Zellerbach Playhouse). DeNio is an interdisciplinary choreographer and artistic director of kd>>moving ground.

Honors Projects and the Artistic Research Process
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
44B Dwinelle Hall 

Four undergraduate students in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies discuss aspects of their recently performed original works, including inspiration, research, rehearsal and performance. Heather Brown discusses choreographing and performing her original dance piece “Bodies of Color”; Sy Jordan discusses writing and directing the new musical “Love and Pride”; and Linda Girón and Madison Wackerman discuss writing and directing their respective workshops, Memoria del Silencio and The Othello Project.

Playwright’s Showcase

Performance Thursday, April 27 will be at Hearst Field Annex – D23 Acting Studio. 
Performance Friday, April 28 will be in Room 7. 

Students in Philip Kan Gotanda’s playwriting class present readings of their work. 

Berkeley Book Chats with TDPS Professor Abigail De Kosnik

Berkeley Book Chats
Rogue Archives Book Cover
Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom
Abigail De Kosnik

The task of archiving was once entrusted only to museums, libraries, and other institutions that acted as repositories of culture in material form. But with the rise of digital networked media, a multitude of self-designated archivists—fans, pirates, hackers—have become practitioners of cultural preservation on the Internet. These nonprofessional archivists have democratized cultural memory, building freely accessible online archives of whatever content they consider suitable for digital preservation.

In Rogue Archives (MIT Press, 2016), Abigail De Kosnik, associate professor in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies and the Berkeley Center for New Media, examines the practice of archiving in the transition from print to digital media. She focuses on the genres of “remix culture” and fan fiction, both of which are grounded in a conception of mass culture as an archive from which individuals can redeploy content for their own creation.

After an introduction by Mark Griffith (Classics), De Kosnik will speak briefly about her book and then open the floor for discussion.

The Othello Project (TDPS Workshop)

The Othello Project is a TDPS workshop (work-in-progress) written and directed by undergraduate Madison Wackerman.

The Othello Project is a devised piece consisting of student experiences, references to the text, and character investigation to examine harmful societal tropes in the white patriarchy in Shakespeare’s Othello that persist today. This piece uses personal accounts and contemporary references to contextualize Shakespeare’s “classic” play in modern America, exploring present-day intersectionality of race and gender. Please join us as we present and discuss this collaborative investigative piece.

The Evolving Role of Theater in the 21st Century featuring ACT Artistic Director Carey Perloff

The Evolving Role of Theater in the 21st Century

As today’s culture is heavily influenced by more popular, commercial forms of art and entertainment, how do we keep a classical culture alive in the new world? Theatre is often seen merely as a traditional art form, a concept existing independently from the issues of the outside world. However, as A.C.T. artistic director and award-winning playwright Carey Perloff suggests, the theater should serve as “connective tissue” between the stage and the real world (LA Times). Perloff will explore from both a local and national perspective some of the pressing issues in American theater today, including the role of theater in regards to technology, politics, and diversity. Come join us this Tuesday, March 21st at 6pm.

Presented by The Berkeley Forum in partnership with the UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies.

The event is subject to the standard event policies listed on our website (


Paradise is a stage adaptation of Dante Alighieri’s Paradiso, the third poem in his Divine Comedy. No, wait, Paradise is a play about the failure to adapt Dante Alighieri’s Paradiso for the stage as a stoner rom-com which takes place under the shadow of fascism. Or if not fascism, Guelph-ism. Okay it’s both and something else. A play about love, beauty, death, fear, rage, and the paradisial places (fake and real) in which we make our lives. 

Join us for a reading of the play Paradise by Brandon Brown, followed by a discussion with the playwright. Presented by the Contemporary Drama Working Group.

Brandon Brown’s most recent books are The Good Life (Big Lucks) and Top 40 (Roof).  His work has appeared recently in Fanzine, Art in America, The Best American Experimental Writing, The Felt, and Open Space.  In 2012, Small Press Traffic included his debut play, Charles Baudelaire the Vampire Slayer as part of their annual Poet’s Theater. He is also the author, with J. Gordon Faylor, of two volumes of Christmas poems, most recently A Christmas Reckoning. In 2018, Wonder will publish a new full length book, The Four Seasons.

The Contemporary Drama Working Group brings outstanding new and in-progress work by up-and-coming and established playwrights to the UC Berkeley campus. In the monthly New Play Reading Series, new plays are read by TDPS students, followed by a discussion with the playwright.This is sponsored by the Townsend Center for the Humanities in conjunction with the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies.


The annual TDPS Alumni Panel will take place on Thursday, March 16 from 5:00 – 6:30 PM in Durham Studio Theater. Learn about the professional paths and opportunities that await you after graduation, from a diverse panel of Alumnni.

Following the alumni panel, attendees are invited to join the panelists for dinner (provided) and extended conversation, and then the 8:00 performance of Love and Pride (ticket required).


To RSVP for dinner, please select “Going” on the Facebook event. To purchase a ticket for the show, visit Love and Pride.

List of Panelists:

Jonathan Amores, ’09  | Digital Marketing Coordinator at Shorenstein Hays Nederlander
Beryl Baker, ’09  | Operations Manager at Bay Area Children’s Theater,
Lorri Holt, ’75 | Professional Actress in bay area for 30 years
Barry Horwitz, ’70’s |  Theater Reviewer, curates, retired English and Drama professor at Saint Mary’s College
Elkhanah Pulitzer, ’95 | Opera and Theater Director, Artistic Curator for SF Opera Lab, a new innovative R and D programming division for intimate scaled works
Joy Regullano, ’11 | Actor and YouTuber who has appeared on Supernatural, House of Lies, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Lauren Selman ’06 | Publicity Logistics Coordinator for Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Actor, Director, Film Producer, Founder of Reel Green Media.



Fireflies (4F)
It’s twilight time.
And the small, winged things–
like spiders and roaches and fireflies–
have begun to stir and search for light.
Will Then-Self find hers before she dies?
Or will Now-Self find other ways to survive?

Fireflies is an exploration of one girl’s longing and search for intimacy through the lives of insects.  Join us for a reading of a new work-in-progress by Philana Omorotionmwan, followed by a discussion with the playwright. Presented in partnership with the Townsend Center Contemporary Drama Working Group.

Philana Omorotionmwan is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The daughter of a Louisiana Creole mother and a Nigerian father, Philana began writing as a way to articulate her experience of growing up as the “other” in this place. She graduated from Stanford University where she majored in English, dabbled in spoken word, and began writing plays under the mentorship of Cherríe Moraga. Her play Before Evening Comes has been developed as part of the 2016 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and the 2016 Br!nk New Play Festival. Her ten-minute play “Dis Da Hood” is currently a finalist for the 2016 Heideman Award. Production of Philana’s short plays includes “The Settlement” (Ensemble Studio Theatre) and “Black Boys Don’t Dance” (Manhattan Theatre Source). From 2010-2011, Philana was a PlayGround SF company playwright. In 2011, she studied playwriting as the recipient of the Walker Scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA and a participant in the Kennedy Center’s Summer Playwriting Intensive. She has also studied poetry at Naropa University as a guest student in the Summer Writing Program, and her poems have appeared in New Delta Review and African American Review. Philana is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. Visit her website at

The Contemporary Drama Working Group brings outstanding new and in-progress work by up-and-coming and established playwrights to the UC Berkeley campus. In the monthly New Play Reading Series, new plays are read by TDPS students, followed by a discussion with the playwright.

Staging Grounds: Camp and the Asian Female Body in Contemporary Dance

Maura Nguyen Donohue shares her choreographic focus on the site of the Asian body as a staging ground for complex cultural, racial, and gendered projections in American culture by discussing her 2011 dance work, strictly a female female. She will share how the deployment of a camp aesthetic allows her to destabilize gender norms and traditional concert dance audience/performer relationships. strictly a female female is a 2011 mashup of Asian themed musicals/operas and (mostly) 80s rock.


About Martha Nguyen Donohue:
Maura Nguyen Donohue is Associate Professor of Dance at Hunter College/CUNY and faculty fellow for the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. She has been making experimental performance works in NYC for over 20 years. Her work has been produced by Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts), Roulette, Danspace Project, Performance Space 122, La MaMa, The Asia Society, Mulberry St. Theater, the West End Theater, and has toured across the US and to Europe and Asia.

Organized by: The Institute of International Studies Interdisciplinary Faculty Program on Gender and the Transpacific World, Center for Race and Gender, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, Department of Ethnic Studies, and the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies


Part of the Public Movement Workshop Series (4 Sundays)
No dance training required to participate.
$5 for UCB Participants (with ID); $10 for general public  per workshop — cash or check
No need to RSVP; simply show up ready to move.

The Orisha are deities found in the Yoruba-spiritual tradition known as Ifa in Nigeria, Candomblé in Brazil, and Lucumí in Cuba.

Join us for a rare opportunity to learn sacred Lucumí songs for the Orishas Yemaya, Oshun and Oya,  and the significance of these important deities,  from renowned singer, educator and Orisha priest, Bobi Céspedes. Accompanied by live drummers, Bobi will lead participants in singing to the mothers of the Ocean, River and Wind.

An ordained Yoruba priestess, singer Gladys “Bobi” Céspedes was born in Cuba, but has lived in the U.S. since emigrating in 1959. She currently lives in San Francisco where she co-founded the progressive Latin/Cuban group Conjunto Céspedes in 1981 with her nephew Guillermo Céspedes. Her spiritually charged lyrics also inform her collaborations with percussionist Mickey Hart, as well as her 2002 solo album Rezos.



Part of the Public Movement Workshop Series (4 Sundays)
No dance training required to participate.
$5 for UCB Participants (with ID); $10 for general public  per workshop — cash or check
No need to RSVP; simply show up ready to move.

Please wear loose and comfortable clothing.

The Feldenkrais Method is a wide ranging system for understanding how human beings function and learn how to learn, using the body as the primary laboratory. In this workshop we will explore how bodies in motion and at rest work. Learn to truly experience – from the inside – how different parts of your body move and work together. Discover how very subtle changes can fundamentally alter and refine all the movements you do – from sitting at your desk, to carrying groceries, to double pirouettes, to standing on your head – and can increase awareness, release inefficient patterning, tension and pain, and increase flow. Feldenkrais can be a wonderful opportunity for dancers working in any style to bring greater understanding of how their body is constructed, as well as greater ease and articulation, into the execution of their movements. However, this pathway of exploration is equally open to movers in all walks of life, including martial artists, athletes, armchair warriors and couch potatoes, as all of us are included in the set of those who have bodies and move them in the course of their everyday lives, and perhaps would like to find more ease or fluidity in how we navigate our way through our lives.


Mary Armentrout is an experimental choreographer, performance artist, videographer, teacher, curator, and the director of the Mary Armentrout Dance Theater.  She is also a Feldenkrais Practitioner.  Her artwork and teaching practices explore the ways Feldenkrais insights into the mind-body continuum offer rich resources for embodied artmaking.  She calls her genre-mixing works performance installations, and one of her site-specific works recently won an Isadora Duncan Dance Award.  Her work has been presented throughout the Bay Area, as well as across the US and the UK, Europe, and China.  She also organizes the Dance Discourse Project, an on-going series of artist-curated discussions of the Bay Area dance scene, and co-curates performance at The Milkbar in Richmond.



Part of the Public Movement Workshop Series (4 Sundays)
No dance training required to participate.
$5 for UCB Participants (with ID); $10 for general public  per workshop — cash or check
No need to RSVP; simply show up ready to move.

How do we honor the roots of the African American dance aesthetic? Can we trace and physicalize the form? Celebrate, and use movement to connect, the histories and future of the black dance aesthetic through Soul Line (African American line dancing) and the emerging expressions of Gospel and Afro-House.


Rashad Pridgen is a dance artist, somatic educator (CMT-SE) and teaching practitioner & performer. His recent works include: selected artist with The Future Soul Think Tank: “What Will Soul Look Like in 2038?” presented at Yerba Beuna Center For The Arts as the creative director of Translating Global Street Dance: A Media & Dance Presentation, performer in The Ed Mock Project conceptualized by Amara Tabor-Smith, choreographer for singer Sila (2010 NAACP Winner of The Outstanding World Music Award) music video “Super African”, theatrical dance work with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company “Chapel Chapter” San Francisco, Ronald Brown/EVIDENCE and Nick Caves “Soundsuites”, teaching artist & performer with The Rennie Harris Illadelph Legends Festival, appearance at The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2010 with Jacinta Vlach/Liberation Dance Theater and commissioned choreographer with The Question Bridge Project: Black Males to create a dance installation at the Oakland Museum 2012. Rashad teaches his unique dance style afro house hop in the Bay Area and beyond.


MEMORIA DEL SILENCIO is a TDPS Workshop (work-in-progress) written by undergraduate Linda Girón.

MEMORIA DEL SILENCIO EN EL PAÍS DE LA ETERNA PRIMAVERA is an original play that explores the relationship between memory and trauma, and how these wounds can leave a mark that flows deeper than blood. In the land of eternal spring, there’s a town where the population of ghosts outnumber the living, nearby villages are disappearing and roses grow larger than cattle; here, la familia Noguera face the boundaries of love when tested by the realities of life— aging, war and illness.


Performance Roundtable: Embodied Knowledges in Ritual Processions, The Cypher and Festivals



This open research roundtable presents new work in performance studies from interdisciplinary scholars on processions, cyphers and political formation in popular fiesta. The conference begins with a reception for guest speakers, followed by a roundtable conversation with brief presentations and Q&A. Faculty, graduate and undergraduate students with research interests in fiesta, carnival and popular performance including hip hop and street dance are encouraged to attend.

This event is free and open to the public thanks to generous support from the Hellman Faculty Fund, the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies and the UC Berkeley Townsend Center Performance in the Americas Working Group.

Please RSVP to

Presenters include:

Dr. Zoila S. Mendoza (UC Davis)
Prof. Mendoza is Professor and Chair of the Native American Studies department at UC Davis and author of several publications including Shaping Society through Dance: Mestizo Ritual Performance in Andean Peru (University of Chicago Press, 2000), and Creating Our Own: Folklore, Performance and Identity in Cuzco, Peru (Duke University Press, 2008); including her recent film, The Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i: The Walk Experience (Berkeley Media 2015).  

Dr. Imani Kai Johnson (UC Riverside)
Prof. Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the department of Critical Dance Studies at UC Riverside whose research interests include African diasporic ritual cultures, popular performance, and Hip Hop. She has published articles in Alif, Women & Performance, and the Cambridge Companion to Hip Hop. Johnson is currently working on a manuscript entitled Dark Matter in B-boying Cyphers: Hip Hop in a Global Context.

Dr. Angela Marino (UC Berkeley)
Prof. Marino is an Assistant Professor in the department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. Her research includes festivals, popular performance, and intersections with campaign politics and social movements. Marino co-edited Festive Devils in the Americas (2015), and is currently working on her manuscript Populism and Performance: Fiesta Politics in the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela (forthcoming with Northwestern University Press in Spring of 2018).