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Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

MFA PLAYWRITING

HANDBOOK

This document supersedes previous TAPS MFA Playwriting Handbooks

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1) The MFA Playwriting Program Introduction ....................................... Page 3

2) Writing for Performance in the Broader Department and University .. Page 5

3) Graduate Admissions ............................................................................ Page 6

4) Financial Support .................................................................................. Page 6

5) The MFA Playwriting Program Course of Study ................................ Page 6

6) The MFA Playwriting Curriculum Overview....................................... Page 7

7) Elective Courses ................................................................................... Page 8

8) The Goals of the MFA Playwriting Program:

Articulation, Atelier, Action ................................................................. Page 9

9) The Writing is Live Festival ................................................................. Page 10

10) Teaching or Assisting in your Second Year ......................................... Page 12

11) Frequently Asked Questions Concerning TAPS in General................. Page 13

This handbook is addressed to current and prospective MFA students to be used as

a planning guide and reference resource throughout a student’s academic career.

Pertinent University web resources should be regarded as the primary references

for degree requirements and options. It is intended to complement the Graduate

School Handbook and students should consult the Graduate School Handbook on

university-wide policies on matters such as funding, leaves of absence, etc.

Further inquiries regarding the MFA in Playwriting should be addressed to Christina

Anderson, Box 1897, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912; email:

[emailprotected]. Inquiries regarding the Brown/Trinity MFAs in

Acting or Directing should be addressed to Jill Jann, MFA Program Administrator,

Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington Street, Providence, RI 02903; email:

[emailprotected] or see www.browntrinity.com

mailto:[emailprotected]

mailto:[emailprotected]

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1) The MFA Playwriting Program Introduction

Our MFA in playwriting is a three-year program. We are looking for students who are

committed to: the athletic development of their craft; the deep interrogation of the forms

and purposes of their art, and of the place of art in the larger world; a leaning into faithful

transformation of society through theatrical action.

Students take a strong hand in designing their own course of study; they are given

opportunities to learn and opportunities to teach as well (the process of constructing and

executing syllabi is so useful to the articulation of mission). Candidates for graduation

submit a text of their choosing representing the most thorough exercise of their guiding

experiments. This text may be a play or it may take some other shape. It is referred to

here as a thesis and it is submitted in May of their final year. These are stored in Brown’s

library system, digitally. Along the way to the final year there are multiple opportunities

for workshop and presentation.

Brown is a chief and storied site for the formation of playwrights, established to grant

broad inventive license while offering close mentorship and profound resources (in the

Department, the University, and the greater community, locally to internationally).

Alumni distinguish themselves by their professional credits, and by their collegial élan.

Brown’s resources are deep—gorgeous stores of intellectual and artistic capacity, a deep

history, a will to innovate and collaborate, outstanding libraries, a substantial array of

interdisciplinary opportunities, and students who are rightly and well authorized to

formulate and execute their own experiments.

This is a promising hour for the arts, and writing in particular. There are new, global

drives to form social groups that center on ideals (this, at the heart of performance). After

years of innovation in media technology, there is a sharp hunger for immediacy (again, at

the heart of live performance). There is a reordering of public space, physically and

virtually. After decades of important skepticism there is a new search for ways of making

meaning (and the words are expression and capture of comprehension).

We aim to afford an environment in which the student’s signal, personal voice can be

explored on its own merits, and freely offered in an atmosphere of critical trust and

exchange. Peace is the permission to be, to be in the moment. Drama, as the social

moment, is learned through the establishment of a moment’s peace assured through the

granting of meaningful permissions.

Art, particularly performance, maintains that the live moment is collective, and bears

history forward. In every creative act, the question is: how may this be held in common?

Theater grounds itself in the avowal that our reality is social, and that our excellence

achieves its quality in the give-away.

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Our curriculum is:

Civic

Chaotic

Strange

Queer

Here are some of the many ways we might think of these words. You may offer others:

Civic

Globalized is to global what leatherette is to leather. There is a community that

forms opportunistically, when individual countries don’t want to avoid

acknowledging something they’ve done, or when they want to divide the spoils of

belated virtue (credit for something they haven’t).

To gather our strength, theatrical strength, we need distinctive local behavior that

can be moved without displacing it or making a copy of it. Rather than simply

“international” with its absolving sense of no-place in patriarchal suspense: we want

graduate students who are civic, urban (in the sense of ecological); students who see

their actions linked through chaos to worldwide principles; anarchists who

recognize that anarchy, and chaos, and a forest are highly organized. Work is not

objective, privileged, isolated or immortal; it is not personal, held apart, or

inviolably bordered. It moves. It navigates landscapes without conquering them.

Chaotic

Just as we’re post national, we’re also post disciplinary. This was once understood

to be post dramatic, in the sense of post authorship/post-text. But the total loss of

disciplines, like the total loss of self, is disastrous. The world we are trying to

describe now is so richly detailed and complex that it must be viewed from all

angles at once.

We study and work in chaos: networks infinitely deep, beyond completion or full

mastery.

Strange

The language of experiment in physics has for a long time now taken up the fuzzy,

hairy, strange and tangled. Art likewise must pursue strangeness. The chief

strangeness that we can inflict, the balance to the pace and breadth of the world (the

world we must take part in), is stillness and silence. Our impractical process slows

things down, so that time is an imitation of eternity, of beautiful nothing.

Queer

Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Ignatius Loyola took architectural,

geographic, and military patterns inward, creating spiritual schema on the basis of

observed structures. This is the shift we face: network is the manifest pattern; we

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must spiritualize it and then make the internal a public and hospitable space.

Spirituality is the set of values by which one shares/distributes.

Queer can mean: A personal and demonstrated identity in contravention of logic or

domination. Art must queer the system. Even critiquing the systematic self— at

core—as with mystical thinking: we are ourselves and shared selves, selves for

others at the same time.

2) The MFA Program in the Broader Department and University

MFA students in Playwriting can easily find opportunities to work collaboratively among

scholars, actors, directors, playwrights, designers, and performance and new media

artists— in the classroom and in production. A PhD program in Theatre and Performance

Studies exists in the same building as the Playwriting Program. MFA Playwrights and

PhD students often collaborate. The Brown/Trinity MFA in Acting and Directing is

located at Trinity Repertory Company in downtown Providence, where Playwriting

students study closely with members of the Trinity Repertory Company and often devise

and perform with Acting/Directing students.

In addition, all graduate students in the Theatre and Performance Studies Department at

Brown University benefit from the flexibility of Brown’s graduate system that allows

opportunities to take classes throughout the University as well as with distinguished field

faculty. MFA programs in Acting and Directing, based at Trinity Repertory Theatre,

mean that actors and directors are being trained nearby, and opportunities for intersection

are built into the program. Interaction across departments is also possible. The

Department maintains close working relationships with the Africana Studies Department

and Rites and Reason Theatre as well as Modern Culture and Media, History of Art and

Architecture, and the American Studies and Slavic Studies and Comparative Literature

departments, with faculty cross-appointments in these departments. We also maintain

close affiliation with the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Pembroke

Center for Teaching and Research on Women. We also have a close and developing

collaboration with Rhode Island School of Design.

All of these associations make the Brown environment alive with opportunities in the

critical and performing arts and scholarship. The confluence of a variety of approaches

assures an atmosphere of debate, discovery, and overall rigor. A dynamic theatre season

at Brown and a slate of courses with significant strength in playwriting, world theatre

histories, performance theories, cultural studies, and contemporary performance allow a

student to determine the right mix of writing seminars and theatre studies and

performance studies. The libraries at Brown also provide exceptional resources for

research and house several special collections, among them the Harris Collection of

American Drama and Poetry; the Smith Collection of Conjuring, Magicana, and Popular

Entertainment Forms; the Albert-Bernard Shaw Collection; and the John Carter Brown

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library is renowned for its historical sources pertaining to the Americas, both North and

South, before ca. 1825.

3) MFA Playwriting Admissions

For graduate application deadlines please check the Graduate School website. A

statement of purpose (also called a personal statement, generally one to three pages), a

writing sample, and three letters of recommendation are requested with the application.

Also requested are complete official transcripts of all work (graduate and undergraduate)

in sealed envelopes. GRE exams are welcome but not required. All international

applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official Test of English

as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System

(IELTS) score. An undergraduate major in theatre or performance studies is not required

for admission. For questions about the application process (including GRE/TOEFL

submission, LORs, transcripts, and other technical questions), please contact the

Graduate School directly at [emailprotected]. Applications to

the MFA programs are submitted to, and managed through, the Graduate

School. Please do not email the department with technical questions or

requests to troubleshoot your online application submission. You can find

detailed instructions about the application process and some of the components

here. The application for all graduate programs at Brown can be found at

http://www.brown.edu/academics/gradschool/apply.

Further inquiries regarding the MFA Playwriting Program should be addressed to

Christina Anderson, Box 1897, Brown. University, Providence, RI 02912; email:

[emailprotected].

4) Financial Support

The program provides a financial aid package that covers tuition, health fee and health

insurance for three years of full-time enrollment. Students receive a 50% stipend during

academic Year 1 (based on a nine-month academic calendar) and 100% stipends during

academic Years 2 and 3. Students also receive a stipend for two summers. Funding is

contingent on students remaining in good standing.

5) The MFA Playwriting Program of Study

MFA students are required to take the graduate playwriting workshop in each semester of

their residency. Other classes are electives. Electives can be culled from a wide range of

mailto:[emailprotected]

mailto:[emailprotected]

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classes in playwriting, theatre studies, performance studies and the offerings of many

departments beyond the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. All

courses are selected by the student, in consultation with advisors from the playwriting

faculty. Other faculty in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies are also happy to advise

playwrights when desired.

MFA playwrights are provided continuous collaborative opportunity, in and beyond the

bounds of theater, to bring their text into space and time. If you are operating within the

conventions of a play as classically understood, your script is produced at least once

while at Brown. This is realized in cooperation with Brown/Trinity MFA actors and

directors, as well as actors, directors and dramaturgs from other areas of study in TAPS.

Productions along these lines occur during the Writing is Live Festival. Also available:

readings, self-and-peer produced events, conceptual collaborations with designers, means

to work with musicians, programmers, poets, scholars, public health workers… We

encourage you to define “play” and “production” as liberally as your impulses direct, and

we will help you to your vision.

6) MFA Playwriting Curriculum Overview

First Year

Fall Grad Playwriting TAPS2310

Directing TAPS2530

Spring Grad Playwriting TAPS2310

Elective

Second Year

Fall Grad Playwriting TAPS2310

TA Class TAPS 2300

Elective

Elective

Spring Grad Playwriting TAPS2310

TA Class TAPS 2300

Elective

Elective

Third Year

Fall Grad Playwriting TAPS2310

Thesis Prep TAPS2975

Elective

Elective

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Spring Grad Playwriting TAPS2310

Thesis Prep TAPS2975

Elective

Elective

7) Elective Courses

Students take nine electives over a three-year period with the recommended distribution:

Two craft-based writing classes, related to performance:

Screenplay, Libretto, Performance Dimensions of Text

Two history classes (one, performance based)

Two theory classes (one, performance studies based)

Two independent studies, one of which engages producing (esp. 2nd yr.)

Sample production opportunities: Pages, 6x6, Salon.

When graduate students take 1000 level courses for credit, they are expected to

complete additional work, as determined by the instructor, that advance the course

to graduate level work.

Recommended Faculty

Barrymore (Tony) Bogues

John Caley

Curt Columbus

Beshara Doumani

Thalia Field

Richard Fishman

Forrest Gander

Marcus Gardley

Spencer Golub

Carol Maso

Kym Moore

Elmo Terry Morgan

Janet Cooper Nelson

Tricia Rose

Rebecca Schneider

Patricia Sobral

Cole Swenson

Todd Winkler

Patricia Ybarra

The Africana Studies Department is very much a partner with the program; their

full array of teachers is recommended, and their space is very approachable for

special projects (they partner on Writing is Live).

Recommended Classes

LITR 1010G Cave Writing

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LITR 1150N Novella

LITR 1150B Foreign Home

LITR 1150E Strange Attractors

TAPS 1500L Acting Together on the World Stage – Ehn

TAPS 1240 Performance Historiography and Theatre History – Ybarra,

Schneider, Golub

TAPS 1380 Mise en Scene – Golub

AFRI 1110 Voices beneath the Veil – Morgan

TAPS 1500I Screenwriting – Gardley

TAPS 1280S Libretto – Gardley

Brown offers a full menu of specialty courses currently in the areas of Theatre Drama

and Performance of the Americas; European Theatre and Performance Traditions; Non-

Western Theatre and Performance; Twentieth-Century Western Theatre and

Performance; Russian Theatre and Drama; Revolution as a Work of Art; Mise en Scene;

Performance Theory; New Theories for a Baroque Stage; Ethnography and Performance;

Feminist, Race-Critical, Queer Theory and Performance; Abstraction and Resistance;

Historiography, Political Theatre and Performance, Neoliberalism and Performance;

Studies in Liveness and New Materialism; Archive Culture; Labor and Theatricality;

Subjects and Objects: Evidence as Metaphor and Constraint; Wittgenstein, Writing and

Performance; Performance Art and Everyday Life.

Our Department also offers courses in Dance Studies and practical courses in theatre and

design that some of our graduate students have found to be quite useful. These courses

offer different methodologies and discourses as well as variety in subject matter. In

addition, our diverse field faculty offer courses in Music, Africana Studies, English,

Literary Arts, Comparative Literature, Classics, Anthropology, Modern Culture and

Media, etc. There are many other relevant courses involving film studies, digital media

studies, literary theory and genre studies, religion and ritualistic performance, art history

and representation, cultural studies and political discourse, and gender and identity

politics, many of which are cross-listed and some team-taught through two departments,

indicating the openness to academic border-crossing and resource-sharing that is the

norm at Brown. Students may choose to audit an elective course, or, depending on the

Professor, may be allowed to attend without registering (sometimes called vagabonding).

Brown's "shopping period" (the period during which you can add a course without

incurring a fee) allows students to sit in on several different courses before deciding upon

a final course schedule for the semester. Please be aware pre-registration is required for

continuing undergraduate and graduate students (during the preceding April for Semester

1 and November for Semester 2), in accordance with a schedule established by the

Registrar. Students who do not preregister by the deadline will have a $15 pre-

registration fee assessed to their student account.

Students are encouraged to audit, vagabond, and produce widely.

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8) The Goals of Writing for Performance by Year: Articulation, Atelier, Action

Year One: Articulation

Writers read their own work (selections of up to 40 minutes), at a day-long

retreat with the other writers and the PhDs early in the term; this overlaps with

the general orientation to Brown and Brown/Trinity (B/T). First year PhDs

may also present on their work. First year writers-for-performance also read

ten minutes of their work in company with Lit Arts MFAs and other writers

across disciplines at Anthology Night, which takes place once a semester

(produced by Lit Arts at the McCormack Theatre). All writers-for-

performance read their work in Graduate Workshop at least twice a semester.

Writers are expected to deliver an average of one new, sustained text per

semester. Finally, all first years participate in the Writing Is Live Festival

(WIL) (see section 9). To this end, first year writers take Directing at

Brown/Trinity with Brian Mertes (Head of the MFA in Directing), in part to

build ensemble with B/T actors and directors for the sake of the WIL

processes. In your first year, you will also work with the Director of WTP to

construct syllabi for teaching in your second year (see below).

Year Two: Atelier

In this year, students move from notation into live time and space. Second

years take their work further in the WIL festival (see section 9). All

writers-for-performance read their work in Graduate Workshop at least

twice a semester. Writers are expected to deliver an average of one new,

sustained text per semester. Second year students also teach playwriting

for the Department or serve as Teaching Assistants in Department courses

(See section 10). Note: Advanced drafts of scripts are due April 13 of your

second year. These scripts will be the basis of concentrated work in your

third year.

Year Three: Action

Participation in the Grad Writing seminar is expected, including

preparatory sessions with B/T actors as per Articulations and Ateliers.

You will have a public reading with one day of rehearsal during the

Writing is Live Festival in Jan/Feb (see section 9), directed by

collaborating directors from the Flea Theater in New York (more

following), using a cast of B/T actors. Writers and B/T directors travel

together to the Under the Radar Festival, to see work and meet art-

makers. Students in their third year also participate in an Immersive

Retreat, with an acting company outside Brown/Trinity as well as a one-

week intensive with NY actors, directors, and dramaturges, in

cooperation with the Flea Theater’s resident company. There may or may

not be a public viewing in New York. The retreat takes place at the end of

April of the students’ final year. In addition to finding the text, and the

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text finding physical life, the Immersive Retreat process is meant to bring

writers into contact with potential fellow travelers beyond Providence.

Candidates for graduation submit a thesis (a text of their choosing

representing the most thorough exercise of their guiding experiments) in

May. Please see this page for more information on thesis requirements:

https://www.brown.edu/academics/gradschool/masters-thesis-guidelines.

These are also stored in Brown’s library system, digitally.

9) The Writing is Live Festival “Writing is Live” (WIL) is our annual exploration of writing in encounter with live public

exchange. It takes place in January and February of each year, though preparation

happens much earlier in the year. Public performances, events, or readings are staged so

that writers can receive feedback. WIL centers on the work of our MFA Writing for

Performance candidates, but widens out to a celebration of new writing-for-the-live

across Brown and Brown/Trinity. Our texts may take forms narrative and imagistic,

compact or durational, sited in a theater or – anywhere else. Our scripts may feature

improvisation, orature, music, dance, video… noise and hospitality and activism and any

manner of human behavior. The purpose of WIL is to bring our writers closer to an

understanding of the situations they have proposed—the behaviors they are asking for

from the co-makers (artists, audience).

For First Years in WIL:

The Articulation period focuses study on notation—the transfer of concept to

a plan that can be shared effectively among collaborators. This used to be

called a reading, but not all of our writers notate with text. Those with

choreographic impulses, say, or with a background in street protest, may

require live bodies, graphics, or social gatherings as draft elements of their

broader intention. For the WIL festival in any given year, WIL drafts are due

November 1, though conversation on possible subjects and strategies begins

prior, in Grad Workshop, starting at the top of the term. Toward WIL, Brown

provides 20 hours of rehearsal, no light cues, no props. A public presentation

of the event formerly known as a reading will take place in the Festival. The

process is as follows.

Regarding casting: first priority in casting goes to B/T actors, followed by

undergraduates, PhD’s, and the greater Brown community. Regarding budget:

there is no budget for actors from the community or for lights or props.

Regarding directors: The pieces are directed by B/T directors. Directors,

actors and spaces may not be used beyond the 20 hours. Writers have access

to three-hour workshops (preparatory sessions for the articulations) with B/T

actors and directors in the fall semester. Second and third year writers share

access. Writers must submit plans for use of the time in these workshops

before the end of September of the same Fall. Best effort is made to provide

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each writer with at least two of these workshops; there may be occasions

where writers want more or fewer. In cases where the pool of available

sessions is variable, open slots will be made available on a competitive basis

(weighing, for example, viable resources—cast size, space needs). Writers are

mentored, through the direct participation of the Head of the WFP Program,

along with WIL producer(s). The producer(s) of WIL are announced at the

start of every year. Production directors and casts are assigned by the Head of

Playwriting and the WIL producer(s), in consultation with other program

faculty.

For Second Years in WIL:

The process for WIL is much the same as the first year. Preparatory sessions

are available during the fall semester with B/T team as with the Articulation

Year. However, during January and February of WIL, second years in the

Atelier phase are given 30 hours of rehearsal and a modest budget (in the

$500 range, for sets/costume/lights). Casting priority remains the B/T team,

followed by undergrads, PhDs, or other members of the immediate Brown

family. But there may be cases where a compelling argument can be made

for the participation of the broader Providence community (as when, say, the

project centers on identities not represented by Brown or B/T). A casting

meeting with the WIL producers is scheduled for early November; the WIL

producers have final sign-off on casts, and space.

For Third Years in WIL:

Third years have a public reading with one day of rehearsal during the

Writing is Live Festival, directed by company members of the Flea

Theater in NY, and cast from B/T actors.

10) Teaching or Assisting in your Second Year

All second year MFA students in the Writing or Performance Program are awarded a

Teaching Assistantship or Teaching Fellowship through the Graduate School.

Assignments are made by the program for teaching or assisting in that year and the

student will be notified of their assignment by May 15 of your first year though they will

have begun work on syllabi prior to that date. Often students teach Playwriting One or

Playwriting Two to undergraduate students, or they assist in a course, such as Elmo

Terry-Morgan’s “Voices Beneath the Veil.” If assigned to teach their own course, they

must take a companion class offered through the Department. TAPS 2300 is an intensive

seminar in which the head of the Playwriting Program meets with students individually

and as a team, sharing in the evolutions of curricular design and practice, offering close

comment and tailored assignments (suggested readings; writing tasks). Taken in the

second year, and simultaneously with their teaching, TAPS 2300 readies playwrights for

teaching by helping them stay several steps ahead of their class. It prepares them for

service at the head of a classroom, provides them with mentorship as they conduct their

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class, and helps them assess their experience at the end of assignments and, ultimately, at

the end of the term.

11) Frequently Asked Questions about TAPS in General

a. Who provides administrative support for the program? b. What are the program facilities and services?

c. How does the department communicate (email, etc.)?

d. How are Graduate Students represented in/to the Department?

e. What if I have a Grievance?

f. What if I have a Change in Status?

g. What is the Exchange Scholar Program?

h. Is there anything the Graduate School needs me to do once I get to

campus?

i. Can I get mail at the department?

j. What about parking? Or housing?

a. Who provides administrative support for the doctoral program?

• The Staff The two members of the TAPS administrative staff you should get to know

immediately are: Jamie Tyrol, Department Manager ([emailprotected],

401-863-6718) and Jo Bynum, Academic Coordinator

([emailprotected], 401-863- 3283). Their office, Lyman 106, is the main

hub of the Department. They know a lot about the bureaucratic niceties of being

a graduate student during your years here and can answer most of your practical

questions, including those about payroll, registration, reimbursem*nts, IDs,

photocopying, mail, keys, etc. If you need keys or have facilities questions,

please contact the Facilities and Events Coordinator, Chris Redihan

[emailprotected], 401-863-6951). For more information about

our facilities and staff, please see our website.

• The Head of Playwriting

The Head of Playwriting oversees the Writing for Performance MFA program

and will be your guide and primary advisor through your entire course of study.

The Head can address questions regarding the timeline for your graduate studies

as well as TA and proctor assignments, or departmental standing and procedures.

It remains the responsibility of each graduate student to fulfill departmental

curricular guidelines, and to discuss their course selections with the Head of

Playwriting. The Head of Playwriting holds regular office hours, or you may

make an appointment by email.

• The Director of Graduate Studies The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) oversees all of the internal academic

affairs of the departmental graduate programs and coordinates the programs with

mailto:[emailprotected]

mailto:[emailprotected]

mailto:[emailprotected]

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the Graduate School. The DGS will be sure that your progress reports are

submitted and that your TAship assignments are made. The DGS holds regular

office hours, or you may make an appointment by email.

b. What are the program facilities and services?

• Faculty and Graduate Offices

Faculty offices are primarily located on the second Floor and Basem*nt Floor of

Lyman Hall. The Department’s Administrative Office is on the first floor, in

room 106. The Department Chair’s Office is also on the first floor, inside the

main office. Students serving as TAs will have access to Lyman 009 and have

priority for the use of that room as a space to hold office hours and related tasks.

It will be important for all users to coordinate schedules in making equitable use

of the room. Office hours should be reported to the Academic Coordinator, Jo

Bynum as soon as possible and posted outside the door to alert your students to

your schedule and to avoid double booking of the room. TAs for TAPS 0030 will

not be given access to Lyman 002 (“the Cave”) for office hours.

• Graduate Lounge

The grad lounge is located in Lyman 213. You will be assigned an individual

mailbox there. Only grads, faculty, and staff have key access to the lounge, so

any deliveries or notes/papers from undergraduate students should be left in the

general graduate student mailbox in the main office. Mail is delivered from the

general mailbox to personal boxes once daily by one of the graduate students. It

contains computers and a printer, as well as a small refrigerator. There is also a

telephone (401-863-3272). Please note it has no outgoing long distance or

voicemail capability, but can be used to receive calls, call on-campus or to make

local calls. Students are expected to furnish their own supplies for their

coursework and/or personal communications. Personal and research needs do not

receive administrative support such as typing, copying, etc. Please report any

technical problems with the computers in the grad lounge to our IT person, Eric

Scantlebury ([emailprotected]). Be aware that IT does not provide

support for privately owned computers or mobile devices. If the printer in the

grad lounge is out of ink, please let Jo know as soon as possible.

• Computer Clusters and Training Elsewhere on Campus

Computer clusters, scanners, and printers can also be found in Brown’s

University libraries. Training in a wide variety of software applications is

offered by of Computing and Information Services (CIS).

mailto:[emailprotected]

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• Libraries

The main humanities library at Brown is the John D. Rockefeller Library (aka

“the Rock”). Tour of the library can be arranged on request. The main website of

the Brown University Libraries is a portal to electronic research tools and

services. Brown’s library system also includes the Orwig Music Library, and

many other small, specialized collections specific to certain departments and

programs that you will get to know as you become involved with them. In

addition, Brown’s library relies on a consortium of local lenders, most

immediately the nearby RISD library and the Providence Athenaeum, which

collections Brown students can access through our on-line library catalogue,

Josiah.

The John Hay Library houses the University Library's collections of rare books

and manuscripts, the University Archives, and many special collections on a wide

variety of topics. Notable areas of strength include American literature and

popular culture, political and diplomatic history, the history of science, book arts

and graphics.

The John Carter Brown Library is an internationally renowned, constantly

growing collection of primary historical sources pertaining to the Americas, both

North and South, before ca. 1825.

The Performing Arts Librarian is Laura Stokes. Based in Orwig Music Library,

she works on collections and research in subjects covered by TAPS and the

Music Department. She maintains the Performing Arts guide (which includes

links to the Routledge Performance Archive and Jacob’s Pillow Dance

Interactive collection, among others). If you have items you would like the

library to purchase, or if you would like to have a library consultation on a

project, please let her know. Her office is Orwig 108. The best way to reach her

is via email ([emailprotected]).

Brown students also have borrowing privileges at the RISD’s Fleet Library

located at 15 Westminster Street.

Graduate students writing a dissertation or thesis or literary work are can apply

for their own study carrel. The application for this can be found on the library

website. In addition to providing you with a place to work, a carrel is useful

because you can charge limited circulation books to your carrel for longer

periods, rather than charging them to your ID card for a short loan. Books

charged to your carrel must be left on the carrel; they cannot be removed from

the library unless charged to your ID. No books may be placed on your carrel

without charging them out to the carrel at the circulation desk. Lockers are also

available for graduate student use. Keys may be obtained from the circulation

desk.

mailto:[emailprotected]

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c. How does TAPS communicate?

• Email

Most departmental announcements and much of the daily information flow are

communicated via email. Therefore, it is extremely important that you establish

your account by mid-July prior to your enrollment, that you check your Brown

email regularly, respond to requests for information or meetings in a timely

manner, and that you keep the office staff informed of any changes to your

contact information. If you wish to forward your Brown email to another email

address, you can do it immediately after activating your Brown account, but

please be aware you will need to use your Brown email and credentials to login to

computer clusters, Banner, course websites and to access the library from off-

campus. Students are urged to check their email and mailboxes regularly, as

meetings and special events may be announced on short notice.

The Department also maintains Brown email contact info and bios for all

graduate students on the website at http://www.brown.edu/academics/theatre-arts-

performance-studies/graduate-students. If you would like to submit (or change) a

bio and/or picture at any time, please contact the Academic Assistant at the front

desk.

If you are teaching or TAing in a given semester, please get in the habit of using

your Brown email addresses in all correspondence with students and also

using your Brown credentials to log into Banner (selfservice.brown.edu). The

system will not recognize you any other way and using dueling emails can cause

logistical headaches for your students and the staff.

• Listservs

There are several Department email listservs/newsletters that you will be

automatically subscribed to when you activate your Brown email address.

Subscription to TAPSGRAD is restricted to Brown TAPS grad students, grad

faculty, and associated artists. Listservs provide a forum for all kinds of

communication relevant to the TAPS grad community, including lecture

announcements, calls for papers, job and grant leads, social events, questions, etc.

You are also automatically subscribed to “This Week at TAPS”—the weekly

bulletin of upcoming events in the Department that is sent out weekly during the

Fall and Spring semesters. If you are not receiving regular departmental notices

or are unsure how the listservs should be used, please contact the Academic

Assistant. There is also a PhD listserv that you can request to be added to (it will

feature academic matters that don’t need to be circulated on the full TAPS grad

list but that, if you are interested, you can join). If you want to be added to the

TAPSPhD listserv, let the DGS know.

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d. How are Graduate Students represented in/to the department?

• Graduate Liaison to the Faculty

This person attends most faculty meetings as the representative of the interests of

the graduate students at TAPS and in communication with the DGS. This position

normally rotates annually among the Lyman Hall based graduate students and is

elected by the graduate students. In the past the position has always been filled a

doctoral student, but if you are interested as an MFA, please put yourself forward

with the other graduate students as open for selection. There is no reason a WFP

MFA can’t serve.

• Graduate Student Files

The Department maintains a file for every graduate student. Your file is a record

of your graduate career at Brown that is used to help the faculty assess your

progress and to establish internal rankings (see below). Most internal

documentation (such as funding awards from the Graduate School or Department,

the passage of language exams, etc.) will be entered into your file for you. You

have the right to view your file, and you have the right to submit documentation

to your file. It is in your best interest to make sure that all of your achievements

are documented. For example, if you receive an external grant or honor, you

should submit a copy of the award letter to your file via the Academic Assistant.

• Graduate Student Progress Reports

It is important for students to receive feedback on their performance in the

program and candid evaluations of their progress toward their degrees. At the end

of every semester, the faculty meets as a group to discuss each student’s

performance and participation in courses, their performance as a TA or proctor,

and, when appropriate, their completion of program requirements and progress on

the dissertation. During this faculty meeting each student is ranked according the

Graduate School’s status rankings of “good,” “satisfactory,” or “warning.” Areas

needing improvement are identified and concerns are voiced. Students receive

these evaluations as part of the written reports from the DGS at the end of each

semester, and are encouraged to use them as an occasion for checking in with

their advisor and the DGS about what the program’s expectations are, and how

best to meet them. Your rank in the program has a direct impact on your funding.

Graduate School funding guarantees are contingent upon maintenance of good

academic standing in the program.

e. What if I have a grievance?

Students having trouble with a faculty member should consult the DGS. The

Graduate School has adopted a University-wide grievance procedure, to which you

may turn if these less formal and local measures fail. These procedures are available

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here. If you want to discuss your situation with someone outside the Department,

contact the Dean of the Graduate School or the Ombudsperson. Note that the Chair

and the DGS are considered, by Title IX, as “responsible employees.” If matters of

potential sexual harassment or abuse are brought to the Chair or the DGS’s attention,

he/she is legally bound to report them. The Chair or DGS can direct you to

confidential interlocutors if you prefer.

If one of your students complains about your teaching and you cannot resolve the

problem yourself, you should consult with the course supervisor or faculty evaluator. If

the issue cannot be resolved at that point, you should take the matter to the DGS. In

cases where there is some disagreement between you and the faculty member or

between either and the DGS, the Chair will review the evidence, discuss the matter

with everyone involved, and report his or her conclusions in writing to you. If you are

dissatisfied with the outcome of this process, you are always free to pursue the

Graduate School’s grievance procedures.

f. What if I have a change in status?

Any changes in a student’s status (leave of absence, withdrawals, part-time, changes in

degree program) should be sent in writing to the DGS. The DGS in turn submits

notification of any change to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the Graduate

School. For more on leaves and other status changes please consult the Graduate

School handbook. Material about readmission after a leave (including childbirth

accommodation, family leave of absence, personal leave and medical leave) can be

found there as well.

g. What is the Exchange Scholar Program?

Brown participates in an Exchange Scholar Program that enables advanced graduate

students to study for one or two semesters in the graduate school of participating

institutions, including the University of California at Berkeley, Brown, the University

of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. The exchange provides

graduate students with the opportunity to draw upon the particular strengths of the

exchange institution and to explore their discipline from a different perspective.

Courses taken and research conducted with faculty members at one of the institutions

above will be registered on the academic record and official transcript at Brown.

Students are eligible to be Exchange Scholars only after completing an academic year

of study in a doctoral degree program at Brown. To participate in this program, you

must maintain full enrollment at your home institution and remain an active student

while studying as an exchange scholar at the host institution. The host institution will

charge for student health services if that is not included as part of tuition; the student

may purchase either school’s student health insurance. Students with external

fellowships can continue that support away from Brown; students may hold a TA

position at Brown while studying at Harvard. The program has also benefited students

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whose advisors are on sabbatical or have taken a new position at one of the

participating institutions. More information can be found on the grad school website

at http://www.brown.edu/academics/gradschool/exchange-scholar-program.

Cross-Registration at Harvard University: There is a long-standing agreement between

Harvard and Brown to allow cross-registration of graduate students in courses in the

Faculty of Arts and Sciences only without paying tuition to the host institution. To do

this, you must get the appropriate forms from the Registrar’s Office and obtain the

signatures of the director of each graduate program and a dean from each Graduate

School. If the student wants to take an entire semester’s course work at Harvard, he or

she should enroll in the Exchange Scholar program. Ordinarily, this option is only

recommended for more advanced students.

h. What does the Graduate School need me to do once I get to campus?

Please make sure to look over the New Student Checklist that the Graduate School

maintains. This includes state and federal tax paperwork, which, if neglected,

will prevent you from being able to register for classes or receive your stipend.

If you have any questions about any of these requirements, please ask the

Department Manager or the Academic Assistant at the front desk in the main office.

i. Can I get mail at the department?

The Department mailing address is: Department of Theatre Arts and Performance

Studies, Box 1897, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912. The physical address of

Lyman Hall is 83 Waterman Street, Providence RI 02912. All mail sent to the

Department goes first to the general graduate mailbox in the main office. It is delivered

to graduate students’ mailboxes in the grad student lounge by whichever graduate

student checks the mail first on any given day. All regular mail (USPS) should be sent

to (your name) at Box 1897, although your routine “domestic” mail (bills and

correspondence) should be sent to your home address whenever possible. The

mailroom refers to both department and box numbers when sorting mail. Therefore, the

use of a complete address is recommended. Packages from other courier services (i.e.,

UPS, FedEx) may be sent to (your name) at the Waterman Street address. It’s a good

idea to give either the Department Manager or the Academic Assistant a heads up if

you are having a package delivered.

j. What about parking? Or housing?

• Parking

Parking on streets near TAPS is metered during weekday business hours (until

6pm) and heavily monitored by the police. Free on-street parking near campus is

possible, but one must usually look several blocks from Lyman in order to find it

and it’s usually restricted to two-hour blocks. There are Brown-maintained

parking lots for which a permit can be purchases but the wait lists can be very

long, sometimes years long. Meter readers are aggressive and efficient, and it is

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almost certain that improperly parked vehicles will be ticketed. It is difficult and

expensive to park near campus on a regular basis and is discouraged.

Alternatively, Brown offers free transportation too all full-time

students/faculty/staff with a Brown ID on any bus or trolley operated by RIPTA,

Rhode Island’s public transportation system. Zipcar also operates several lots

around campus. There is also a campus 24-hour shuttle service. Consult the

Transportation Office at 401-863-3157 for more information.

• Housing

Housing is a matter of personal preference; however, you should be aware that

there are several resources you may find helpful in making your living

arrangements. The Brown graduate community listserv, GSBB-L, is often used

to exchange information about available or desired housing. (Subscription works

on the same model as our departmental listserv.) The Graduate School itself

offers limited on- campus housing for grad students (See Graduate School

website). You may also wish to consult with the University Auxiliary Housing

office, which maintains a housing bulletin board on campus as well as online.

Craigslist.org is also a very helpful resource. Please check the Graduate Student

Council Website for more information.

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