Leslie Hill and Helen Paris are Associate Professors of Performance Making in the Department of Drama at Stanford University.

The Drama Department at Stanford integrates theory, criticism, and performance. Convinced that scholarship is strengthened by direct engagement in performance, and that performance is enhanced by practitioners whose analytic skills had been honed in scholarship, the department produces more than a dozen productions each academic school year, including canonical plays, commissioned dance works, experimental projects, and the work of visiting artists.

Current Hill-Paris Courses (Stanford 2011-2012 academic year)

INSIDE STORY this course explores the connections between biology and biography in performance and art through practice-based research and readings in contemporary art and science. The course combines seminar discussions of art practices and scientific research with devising techniques in the studio. Students will generate original material using the senses, automatic writing and body memory and can work in any format – live performance, visual art or film - toward their final creative piece.

PERFORMANCE MAKING: PROCESS: A performance studio course focussed on the creative process and generating a wealth of original material for theatre, live art or visual art practices. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the relationship between form and content, to identify issues they are passionate about and to experiment with form and voice. Examples of different contemporary performance will be studied and discussed alongside studio work. Students are encouraged to reflect throughout on types of contact and communication uniquely possible in live performance, such as interaction or the engagement of the senses. The emphasis is on weekly experimentation in the creation of short works or sketches rather than on working toward a final production.

PERFORMANCE MAKING: PRODUCTION A structured performance lab in which students will develop an original solo or collaborative performance piece for theatre, gallery or site specific contexts. The course will provide weekly creative exercises and studio time for development with faculty and peer feedback. As well as presenting research and showing work in progress, students will keep a project log book in which they critically reflect on the elements of composition. Throughout the course students are encouraged to reflect on and articulate on the question: what do you want to say and how can you best say it?

CRITICAL STYLES 2: This seminar follows on from Critical Styles I in which students were introduced to the study of performance in the Stanford graduate program and to the rigors of critical writing in particular. The emphasis in the previous seminar was on the intricate connection between critical thought and the question of writing. In this sequel seminar, the emphasis will be on the overtones and undertones of critical thought in performance making and performance analysis.

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