TDPS Speaker Series

The TDPS Speaker Series presents a diverse range of lectures and conversations with artists and scholars from across the fields of theater, dance, and performance studies.

All events are free and open to the public. To receive event announcements, subscribe to our email list.

Event sponsors include the Patrick Finelli Keynote Speaker Series, Berkeley Arts+Design, and many other campus partners.


Upcoming Speakers

The Fall 2021 Speaker Series will take place online.

Asa Benally, Costume & Fashion Designer

Designing for the Indigenous Theater

Monday, November 1, 2021

Register for the Zoom event

Asa Benally is a Drama Desk nominated costume designer. He was raised in Big Mountain, AZ, on the unceded lands of the Navajo Nation. His grandmother, a traditional Navajo weaver, and his father, a silversmith, fostered his love and appreciation for art and design. His mother, of the Cherokee Nation, a professor and writer, expanded his love of academia and the arts.

"AI Sensorium" by Kinetech Arts

Second Nature: Embodying our Technological Systems

Monday, November 15, 2021

Register for the Zoom event

Bay Area dance companies Kinetech Arts (co-directed by Daiane Lopes Da Silva and Weidong Yang) and Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts (co-directed by Sheldon B. Smith and Lisa Wymore) will be in conversation talking about their years of experience working within the intersection of dance and technology. Kinetech Arts will share their extensive experience making experimental, community-based works that bring engineers into the same rooms as creative makers and dancers. Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts will discuss their ongoing interest in artificial intelligence and improvisation.


Event Recordings

Mary Kathryn Nagle, Playwright & Attorney

Sovereignty in the Courts, and Sovereignty on Stage

Mary Kathryn Nagle (attorney, playwright, and citizen of the Cherokee Nation) discusses the connection between addressing the systemic erasure of Native voices in the arts, the fight to restore tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction in the courts, and safety for Native women.

Gabrielle Civil, Performance Artist

Experiments in Joy: A Black Feminist Trajectory

In this dynamic artist talk, Gabrielle Civil discusses her own trajectory as a Black feminist performance artist, highlighting key collaborations and inspirations, and promoting Black feminist joy as a creative practice.

Woman in red shirt embracing elder man in blue sweatshirt wearing headphones

Against Isolation: Pandemic Connections through the Arts

The 2020 pandemic scattered us into disconnected spaces, interrupting our physical interactions along with our art-making. Responding to these times, performance makers Erika Chong Shuch and Amara Tabor-Smith have each created intimate connections within their communities of artistic practice, among isolated elders and individuals.

Anne Anlin Cheng and Kevin Quashie

Racialized Embodiment & Political Life Beyond Resistance

Anne Anlin Cheng is Professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University and affiliated with the Program in Gender and Sexuality and the Committee on Film Studies. Kevin Quashie is a professor in the Department of English at Brown University who teaches Black cultural and literary studies.

Amy LaViers | Dancing with Robots: Expressivity in Natural and Artificial Systems

Dancing with Robots: Expressivity in Natural and Artificial Systems

Movement seems to encode information. How does this work? We know that animals, including humans, use the motion of counterparts to produce coordinated, social behaviors. But how do we resolve the discrete measures of communication and information theory with the continuous laws of motion and mechanics?

Isabel Allende, Chilean Author

The House of the Spirits: Isabel Allende in conversation with Caridad Svich

Author Isabel Allende and Caridad Svich, theater-maker and playwright, discuss The House of the Spirits in its may iterations: novel, play, and the staged performance by the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, directed by Michael Moran at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Playhouse. Michael Moran moderates.