4th Edition

Performance Studies An Introduction

By Richard Schechner Copyright 2020
    396 Pages 285 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    396 Pages 285 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Richard Schechner's pioneering textbook is a lively, accessible overview of the full range of performance, with primary extracts, student activities, key biographies, and over 200 images of global performance.

    The publication of Performance Studies: An Introduction was a defining moment for the field. This fourth edition has been revised with two new chapters, up-to-date coverage of global and intercultural performances, and an in-depth exploration of the growing international importance of performance studies. Among the book’s topics are the performing arts and popular entertainments, rituals, play and games, social media, the performances of the paleolithic period, and the performances of everyday life. Supporting examples and ideas are drawn from the social sciences, performing arts, poststructuralism, ritual theory, ethology, philosophy, and aesthetics. Performance Studies: An Introduction features the broadest and most in-depth analysis possible.

    Performance Studies: An Introduction is the definitive overview for undergraduates at all levels and beginning graduate students in performance studies, the performing arts, and cultural studies.

    This new edition is also supported by a fully updated companion website, offering a variety of interactive resources, teaching tools, and research links.



    Richard Schechner is a pioneer of performance studies. A scholar, theatre director, editor, and playwright, he is University Professor of Performance Studies Emeritus at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and Editor of TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies. Among his many books are Environmental Theater (1973), The End of Humanism (1982), Performance Theory (2003, Routledge), Between Theater and Anthropology (1985), The Future of Ritual (1993, Routledge), Over, Under, and Around: Essays on Performance and Culture (2004), and Performed Imaginaries (2015, Routledge). His books and essays have been translated into more than 20 languages. He is the general editor of the Worlds of Performance series published by Routledge and the Enactments series published by Seagull Books. He founded The Performance Group, East Coast Artists, and East End Players and was a co-producing director of the Free Southern Theater and the New Orleans Group. He has directed theatre, led performance workshops, and lectured in the USA, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

    Sarah Lucie is a Ph.D. candidate in Theater and Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center with an MA in Performance Studies from New York University. Her writing appears in The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics, PAJ, Puppetry International, and e-misférica. She also works as Assistant Editor for TDR and General Manager of East Coast Artists.

    "Richard Schechner’s Performance Studies: An Introduction is an extraordinary, expansive and erudite resource for scholars, artists and students alike. It can be read start to finish, as the story of how the study of performance is woven from and into intellectual history. Or it can be dipped into at any point, whether to explore possible answers to a particular question or to be provoked into thinking again, differently, about how performance (re)makes the world we live in."

    --- Sharon Mazer, Auckland University of Technology


    "A lifetime of experience and theoretical reflection has been distilled into this volume. It is a book that does much more than introduce Performance Studies (although it does do that wonderfully). In deep, concise, and up-to-date prose, Schechner offers readers an encyclopaedic and internationalist introduction to the social and cultural study of performance. There is no other book quite like this, and it belongs the shelf of every student, teacher, and practitioner of performance. I know I will be teaching from it and referring to it often."

    --- Tavia Nyong’o, Yale University


    "Comprehensively edited, and including a new chapter on social media, the fourth edition of Performance Studies: An Introduction is eminently useful in the classroom."

    -- Matt Cornish, Ohio University


    "Already in its fourth edition, Richard Schechner’s Performance Studies is still a must-read for students, encouraging them to think beyond the clearly marked boundaries of academic disciplines. It allows them to venture into the vast and open field of studies on human behavior in highly diverse contexts that are usually addressed by separate disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and cultural studies. Yet readers will not get lost but will leave the book behind with an enormously widened knowledge on human behavior and how to study it. "

    -- Erika Fischer-Lichte, Freie Universitaet Berlin


    "Now updated for our experience of "the end of humanism" (Schechner) in the 21st century, Performance Studies is even more important for thinking back on what the 20th century was all about, and for starting to share the future vision of how we may think, live, and indeed perform. This book has been where I always come back to when I need to find some intellectual, scholarly and/or artistic inspiration; it has kept telling me where I started as a performance studies scholar, teacher, and human being."

    -- Tadashi Uchino, University of Tokyo


    "Richard Schechner's work is a provocation and an offering that functions as many things to many people. Now in its fourth edition, it will continue to be a fellow traveller for practitioners and scholars alike, providing opportunities to debate, think, and propose redefinitions in an expanded field."

    -- Anuradha Kapur, Ambedkar University Delhi


    Performance Studies: An Introduction remains a vital and dynamic contribution to the study of performance in its many forms. Ambitiously expansive in scope, but focused in application, this accessible and thought-provoking text ought to occupy the reference shelf of all performance scholars and students. 

    -- Ashley Thorpe, Royal Holloway