University of Hawaii at Manoa Library


Theater and Dance


The Department of Theatre and Dance offers BA, BFA, MA, MFA, and PhD degrees. The MA candidate in Theatre does research in theatre history, theory, criticism, or dramatic literature; the thesis may be in western theatre, Asian theatre, theatre for children, or dance. The MFA program emphasizes creative/performance work in directing, playwriting, design, or dance, in Asian and Western theatre and dance, or theatre for children. The PhD degree is awarded for work in theatre history, theory, or criticism in three areas: western theatre, Asian theatre, or comparative Asian-western theatre. The Asian theatre academic and production program is deemed one of the outstanding university-based programs in the world. The University of Hawaii offers the only PhD in Asian theatre in the United States.

The theatre focus of the department includes such activities as direction of the innovative theatre, Kumu Kahua, which serves as a vehicle for local playwrights and editorship of the Asian Theatre Journal. In addition, theatre carries a large community outreach program. The Children's Theatre reaches thousands of students annually, and has participated the State Department of Education's summer program in Excellence in Basic Education.

The dance focus of the department, until 1989, was divided between the Music and Theatre departments. The program offers the BA with a focus in either dance ethnology research or western dance research. A BFA in dance theatre is also offered. Graduate degrees include the MA in dance focusing on research in western dance or dance ethnology; or the MFA in dance for students concentrating on western dance choreography. Other activities include the editorship of the Dance Research Journal, an internationally distributed publication. The program is considered unique with its offerings in dance ethnology and Asian and Pacific dance.

Theatre and dance courses are cross-listed with the Departments of English, European Language and Literature, Indo-Pacific Language, Music, Political Science, Sociology, Speech, and Women's Studies. Theatre students also find relevant courses in such areas as art, architecture, Asian language and literature, ethnomusicology, engineering, anthropology, and education.

The department's Asian theater program is affiliated with the Association for Asian Performance. The dance program is affiliated with the American College Dance Festival Association and the Council of Dance Administrators.


The library selector works cooperatively with other selectors in areas such as English and American literature, anthropology, women's studies, communications, art, photography, music, and the Asia and Pacific area collections to insure that relevant materials supporting the program are being acquired. There is coordination with the Wong AV Center for the acquisition of film, video, and sound recordings to enhance and supplement the theatre and dance curriculum. Materials dealing with dance kinesiology, sports medicine and dance therapy, as well as the technical aspects of acoustics, lighting, cinematography, etc. are funded by the Science and Technology unit. Arrangements have been made for the English literature selector to fund dramatic literature of the pre-Ibsen period.


Language: English is emphasized, but works in other languages, particularly German, French, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese are considered. Where material is primarily a visual presentation, as in collections of stage set designs, pictures of costumes, etc., language is of lesser importance. Materials in Asian, Pacific, and Russian languages are referred to the respective area collections.

Chronological: No limitations. Historical studies of dance, drama and stagecraft are acquired for ancient theatre to the present.

Geographic: Emphasis is placed on the United States, Great Britain, Asia and the Pacific for drama, theatre technology, and film; however, any dance ethnology studies in areas such as Africa or the Middle East are also collected.

Date of Publication: No limitations, but emphasis is on current material for the technical aspects of theatre productions. Retrospective titles, especially those showing historical development, are collected.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected: Books, primarily in hard copy, including reference sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, directories, indexes, and compendiums of reviews; periodical publications relevant to theatre and dance and their related areas; chronological records of performances, scripts including a selective collection of promptbooks and acting editions; recommended and requested dance notation scores; selective dissertations; proceedings of major theatre and drama and dance societies and organizations; videotapes, films, sound recordings and other media are acquired upon faculty request; ephemeral materials, playbills, etc. are not actively acquired unless they pertain to performances in Hawaii or the Pacific or are suitable for inclusion in an archival or manuscript collection; upper level textbooks, especially in applied areas such as dance notation, choreography, production or costume are all acquired. All formats may be collected, including electronic, print, and microform. Microforms are acquired as needed, depending on availability of other formats and preservation concerns.

Electronic Format: Electronic resources include indexes, databases, reference tools, e-books, and so forth. Networked electronic access is preferred for full text journal literature and for indexing and abstracting. Electronic resources may be available in a number of formats, including online, CD-ROM, or other digital storage formats.

Treatment: Biographies and a variety of other secondary works related to drama, film, dance and technical production; histories, criticisms, and techniques of the dramatic arts; published materials dealing with particular companies, theatres, or performers; dance and plays in the English language, in the original, or in translations; techniques related to all aspects of dance; popular treatment, except selectively for "how-to" manuals and juvenile materials.

Major Microform Holdings: Three Centuries of English and American Drama and Bibliography of American Culture, 1493-1875.

Compiled by: Theodore Kwok

Date: July 2008

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