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About Dramaturgy

Dramaturgy is the study of theatre, broadly defined. Research topics range from textual analysis of drama from antiquity to the present day and the study of the theatre’s politico-cultural context, to the applications of theatre in educational and developmental contexts. The theatricalproces and performance is the key focus of the programme’s teaching and research. Performance is approached from both historical and aesthetic perspectives.

The research environment

The Dramaturgy Programme  at  has a strong tradition of focus on contemporary and innovative forms of theatre. At the same time, the programme also encompasses the investigation of the theatre’s historical dimension.

The Dramaturgy Programme has close ties to the contemporary theatre scene, and elements of the practice of theatre are involved at all stages of its students’ studies. In addition to teaching and research at the programme,  researchers typically teach at drama schools and participate actively in dramatic productions, for example as consultants and theatrical advisers.

The practice-oriented focus of the Dramaturgy Programme has other applications as well: the programme develops concepts for how artistic production processes can be applied in  non-artistic creative processes. The programme’s research thus makes dramaturgical knowledge and strategies accessible to business, culture and the theatre itself.


The Department of Dramaturgy at Aarhus University is excited to announce that Mads Thygesen will from 1 June 2023 join the department as our new Associate Professor in Theatre Practice and Production Dramaturgy.
Mads holds a PhD in Dramaturgy from Aarhus University and played a central role in the accreditation of the performing arts educations in Denmark. After being Rector of The Danish National Academy for Playwrighting, he was Rector of The Danish National School of Performing Arts from 2015-2021. He is currently Professor in Dramaturgy at Oslo National Academy of the Arts.

Mads says: “ It is a great honor to be able to follow in the footsteps of my old mentor Erik Exe Christoffersen and I am looking forward to work with all of the students and professors to further develop the research expertise in theatre practice and production dramaturgy.

My initial interest in theatre practice and production dramaturgy was shaped through my studies with some of the “local” pioneers of the research field (Exe Christoffersen, Torunn Kjølner, Janek Szatkowski, Ida Krøgholt) who supervised me as a student and supported my research in the early stages of my professional career. Encouraged by their creative attitude and critical thinking, I worked – parallel to my BA/MA-studies and PhD-research from 1995 to 2009 – as a lighting designer, performer, theatre director, voice-teacher, and dramaturg both locally and internationally. Most of my subsequent work as a teacher, researcher, and educational leader has been focusing on the way in which dramaturgical theory and theatre practice can inform each other and have a strong impact on our understanding of art education and its relations to the professional field of the theatre.

The new position as associate professor in theatre practice and production dramaturgy is the perfect opportunity for me to return from my long and challenging journey into the world of art education with new knowledge and perspective on the field of dramaturgy. In my mind, there is no more inspiring task than creating sustainable educations for a new generation of courageous, ambitious and reflexive students. I will work hard to further the collaborative atmosphere of the department, and I hope to inspire the students in the coming years, so they will finish their education in dramaturgy with practical and theoretical knowledge which can inspire them for a professional career and a lifetime of dramaturgical research.”

New research groups and project:

In 2020, the department started the new research group “Paradigms of Dramaturgy: Arts, Institutions and the Social”, based within the interdisciplinary research centre “Cultural Transformations”. Also, Aarhus Universitets Forskningsfond supports a four year research project in the department, “Reconfiguring dramaturgy for a global culture: Changing practices in 21st century European theatre” (2020-2023)”. The department is now joint partner within the European Theatre Research Network, together with the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama/University of London and the University of Kent.  

“Mobilizing Dramaturgy”: A new PhD Cotutuelle Scheme with the Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University (UK)

As part of a new Faculty-wide partnership agreement between Aarhus University and Coventry University, we are now inviting applications as part of the Faculty of Arts-Graduate School’s Open Call for a Faculty scholarship to the cotutuelle scheme “Mobilizing Dramaturgy”. Successful candidates will undertake a collaborative doctoral research programme under the supervision of academic experts from both universities, enrolling at Aarhus University and spending one year at Coventry University in the UK. Click here for further information and deadlines.