Theatre & Performance

At the School for the Contemporary Arts, we study performance making as a world building art practice; as a frame for encountering the past, present, and future; and as an open question we ask through rigorous studio experimentation: What can performance do? Why make performance now? What is the future of live performance? At SCA, we empower students to collaborate across disciplines, become versatile artists, and expand the wildly dynamic fields of theatre, performance, and live art. 


Applications for 2024 are now open. For more information, please visit HERE.

Program Information

Theatre & Performance BFA students explore a broad range of genres and forms, including devised theatre, live art, and social practice. Our program deviates from traditional theatre training by experimenting with contemporary processes of performance making, unconventional narrative styles, expanded dramaturgy, experimental forms, new media, and creative research. We examine how the fundamentals of performance—time, space, body, text, movement—help us stage our burning political questions, enact necessary social interventions, and advance the broad aesthetic fields of contemporary art. Our studio and hybrid studio-seminar courses serve eight core-curricular groupings:


Live Acts

Our Live Acts studio courses offer students a wide variety of experimental, interdisciplinary, topical, and formally specific techniques and concepts rooted in liveness as central to the medium of performance. Past topics: Ordinary Acts, Failure, Queer Acts, Persona Making. CA 151, 152, 251, 252.


Across these studio courses, the ‘body’ is examined and deployed as a primary material for devising contemporary performance. Past topics: Body Art, Endurance Art, Durational Performance, Butoh, Physical Theatre. CA 254, 255. 


With a focus on the experiential production of space in and through performance making, students research, experiment, and create original art works in response to specific environments. Past topics: site specificity, immersive forms, staged ecologies. CA 256, 356.


As two successive courses taken over one year, our Social studio courses provide upper level students with an introduction to a spectrum of creative strategies and practices that engage a wider public and consider political and social issues. Past topics: Collaboration, Participation, Social Practice, Activist Performance. CA 354, 355.


These hybrid studio-seminar courses offer students a variety of historical and theoretical topics related to the fields of theatre studies, performance studies, and contemporary art, with a specific focus on research-creation. Past topics: Histories and Theories of Avant Garde Performance, Between Theatre & Performance, The Postmodern Body, Postrdamatic Theatre. CA 257W, 357W.


A student-led, hands-on, laboratory for the creation of collaborative and public facing performances. CA 253.


Each year, a faculty member leads students through two courses of creative research as related to their unique artist practice.  The first serves as a pure research and creation period, and the second continues that research, then culminates in a public facing performance and/or event. CA 350, 450.


Over two consecutive courses, fourth year students review and develop their emergent performance practice into a final Capstone Project. By asking students to integrate research-creation methods the broad range of techniques from their interdisciplinary studios, this pair of courses provides a platform for final year students to critically and creatively articulate their individual methodologies for contemporary performance and create a public facing performance or event. The Capstone Projects are designed to help students develop a professional portfolio of creative work, and to reflect on broader issues of professionalization, before entering any number of creative fields and industries available to contemporary performance makers. CA 451, 452.

To see detailed descriptions of the program, please visit the Academic Calendar. For more information about the Theatre & Performance Area, please contact Professor James Long (Performance Area Coordinator):


What makes this program different from your average theatre program? 

As a Theatre & Performance program housed within a contemporary art school—and as the only program of its kind in Canada—our curriculum emphasizes experimental performance making over traditional theatre or actor training. Through rigorous studio experimentation and live performance practice, our students gain the practical, technical, conceptual, and professional skills necessary to establish themselves as contemporary artists. By ‘performance makers,’ we mean artists who work with the primary materials of performance [time, space, body, text, movement, social relation] to create unique, aesthetic, and socially engaged live events. From start to finish—and guided by our faculty of interdisciplinary, working artists—our students are responsible for the research, creation, and poetic-critical reflection of their artworks. Past interdisciplinary work created by students have included devised, ensemble creations inspired by dramatic texts; socially engaged media interventions addressing political issues; movement based solo works inspired by the culinary arts; live-cartoon puppet shows mixing clown and punk; experimental drag comedy by invented artist-personas; and so much more. We invite the strange, the weird, and the unknown into our processes so that, collectively, we can carve out future paths for the study and practice of contemporary theatre and performance. While performance making at the SCA might include aspects of more traditional theatrical practice, our core curriculum draws from a diversity of disciplines and techniques, including performance art, social practice, contemporary dance, new media, sound art, visual art, and beyond. 

What can I do with a BFA in Theatre & Performance?

BFA graduates from the Theatre & Performance program have gone on to act in film and television; create new contemporary works of performance that have toured around the world; design commercial video games; release music records; publish experimental writing; produce national and international festivals; run not-for-profits; secure teaching positions in universities, colleges, high schools, and elementary schools; establish professional theatre companies—the list goes on and on. When you complete your degree in Theatre & Performance, you will be equipped with a skill set that allows for further study and/or immediate collaboration in the professional art world. Our pathways towards professionalization focus on what’s important to you and your creative trajectory; by the fourth-year in our program, you’ll have developed a professional, creative portfolio of work-to-date that will make you immediately competitive for opportunities post-graduation. Further, the skills gained through our curriculum are easily transferable to any number of outside professions as well: creative-critical thinking and problem solving, dynamic and ethical leadership, efficient management of complicated timetables and workflows; presence and confidence for public speaking; and so much more. Please see our Alumni Highlights below for a sense of what our graduates have accomplished post-graduation. 

Will I have opportunities to be on stage? 

Absolutely. The Theatre & Performance BFA is designed to provide students with opportunities to stage their own work as well as collaborate on productions with faculty and invited artists, both local and international. It’s also worth noting that ‘on stage’ could also mean a whole variety of performance types. ‘On stage’ in our program can mean the traditional arrangement of audiences in the dark and performers up under the lights; on stage can also mean work out in public places, museums and galleries, within local communities and neighborhoods, protest and activist spaces, filmed and digital spaces, and work out in nature. It is one of the aims of our program to expand what ‘on stage’ might mean and to explore the infinite possibilities of who, what, and where our audiences are. 

What does being part of an interdisciplinary program actually mean?

Being part of an interdisciplinary program means we encourage collaboration across all the disciplines at the SCA. Practically, this means many of our classes are also open to students from the Music, Visual Art, Music and Sound, Film and Art, Performance and Cinema Studies programs. As a Theatre & Performance major, you will have opportunities to make new works of performance with people with a variety of interests, skill sets, and histories. Contemporary performance is an ever expanding interdisciplinary field and we want to give you as many opportunities to experience that kind of work as possible so you can be a multifaceted artist upon graduation.

Is there financial support available to Theatre & Performance BFA students? 

Yes! There are a number of scholarships, awards, and bursaries available to all students at the SCA. For more information, please visit:  

Alumni Highlights

Amanda Sum, T&P BFA ‘20

Top: The Portrait Sessions | Bottom: New Age Attitudes: Live in Concert (2023). Photo by Reagan Jade.

"I went to SCA to study Theatre & Performance, and at the time was holding music making as a hobby outside of school. The nature of the program allowed me to pick and choose courses that helped bridge my interests that extended beyond theatre in the context of performance making. Currently I am balancing my theatre and music practices, both on their own, and allowing them to coincide and extend further into dance and film. It is thanks to SFU and the SCA that I have the tools and community to bounce between multiple disciplines."

Derek Chan, T&P BFA ‘10

Top: Derek Chan | Bottom: Eat My Heart Out (2022). Photo by Kim Ho.

"My training at SFU’s SCA was exactly what I needed at the time. The varied training in devised theatre & new work creation showed me what was possible beyond traditional prosceniuim, 'well-made' theatre. As a maker of performances, the program at SFU equipped younger me with a lot of the skills that I needed in order to become the well-rounded artist that I am today."

Samantha Walters, T&P BFA ‘22

Top: Samantha Walters | Bottom: Order of the New Hyphae (2023).

"I never thought of myself as an interdisciplinary artist before I studied performance-making at the SCA. The program introduced me to artists and methods that enriched and broadened my understanding of performance, and challenged me to take my practice seriously. I graduated not only with work that was ready to be presented and toured professionally, but with confidence in my artistic voice."

Milton Lim, T&P BFA ‘21

Top: photo by April Leung | Bottom: asses.masses (2023). Photo by: Francisco Castro Pizzo.

“My experiences at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts are the foundations of my artistic practice. There, I learned to develop and analyze work across a variety of disciplines and I happily joined a robust community of artists who are some of the leading voices in performance creation, both locally and nationally. More than anything else, my time at SFU fostered an insatiable appetite for original artistic creation that continues to drive my work today.”

Arthi Chandra, T&P BFA ‘20

Top: photo by Chelsey Stuyt | Bottom: Antigonick (2023). Photo by: Rose Tavormina.

"My training through the SCA laid the foundations for how I work. I learned the necessity of multi-disciplinary artists, of new models of collaboration, of expanding my understanding of performance and creation. I learned how to see myself as an artist, and found agency in my work as a theatre-maker." |

Alexa Fraser, T&P BFA ‘18

Top: photo by Simone Chnarakis | Bottom: Gestural Symphony No.1 (2022)

"SFU SCA provides the alchemy of being able to dive so deeply into devising, acting as the empowered net of creating one's own work. Encountering contemporary methods of creation, storytelling, problem solving, aesthetics and fellow artists has forever challenged and inspired my relation to an art form I have been immersed in for most of my life. I am excited for my artistic chapters to come."

Conor Wylie, T&P BFA ‘13

Top: Conor Wylie | Bottom: A Wake of Vultures, K BODY AND MIND (2022).

"SCA provided me the unique experience of collaborating with other theatre students, but also dancers and choreographers, sound artists, filmmakers, visual and new media artists—collaborators I still work with today. The program also offered me the unique opportunity to create work from both the inside and outside: giving me the tools to generate work in an embodied and playful way as a performer, while also honing my compositional and critical sensibilities as a director and writer. This duality laid the foundations for my professional practice."

Pedro Chamale, T&P BFA ‘10

Top: Pedro Chamale | Bottom: Peace Country (2023).

"At SFU I was able to follow artistic curiosities while experimenting in a supported environment. Through different classes and projects I was able to meet many future collaborators. Having the ability to explore what it is to be a theatre creator while making theatre in school was so fruitful and a major reason as to why I now do what I do."

Keely O'Brien, T&P BFA ‘16

Top: Keely O'Brien | Bottom: Perfect Strangers (2023). Photo by: Erik Pinkerton.

"Completing a BFA in Theatre & Performance at SFU was a wonderful experience for me and invaluable in getting a start as a professional artist. I can trace many of my current collaborators and colleagues back to relationships that started there. The program's emphasis on interdisciplinary practices, making work from scratch with whatever resources you have, and not being afraid to get weird helped me find my artistic voice and community."

Jay Dodge, T&P BFA ‘96

Top: Jay Dodge | Bottom: Photog (2012).

"Working in an interdisciplinary program was instrumental in my approach to making art. My time at SFU/SCA quenched a thirst in me that I didn’t know I had. We started Boca del Lupo before we even stepped out the door with an eagerness to make a kind of work inspired by collaboration and difference, a kind of work that sidestepped the ingrained hierarchies of colonial performance practice in favour of collective creations that gave voice to all the creators involved."

Andrea Donaldson, T&P BFA ‘02

Top: Andrea Donaldson | Bottom: The Queen In Me (2023). Photo by Dahlia Katz.

"Training at SFU's School for Contemporary Arts prepared me to be a multi-hyphenate artist capable of forging my own path both as a theatre creator/director and as an artistic director. I am eternally grateful that in that most critical moment in shaping my future self, that I was able to be in a program that was so wild, expansive and empowering."


The Theatre & Performance area develops and presents many events throughout the academic year, from 'black box' experiments to larger 'mainstage' productions. Keep track of what we're up to on the SCA's Events page. Also, our faculty and instructors are also often busy with projects and performances away from the SCA, as well. Check the SCAs weekly-updated News page to find out what they're up to.

Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre

Designed as one of Vancouver’s largest black box spaces, the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre is a site for contemporary dance, theatre, concerts and other performances. The venue features a balcony on three sides with flexible seating below that can be arranged in the round or in a more conventional setup – or even no seating at all. The Assembly Area is connected to the theatre by a retractable guillotine door that can also serve as a stage with a proscenium arch.

Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre


Visit our Undergraduate information page to find out about the application process and timeline for the SCA Theatre & Performance area.


Erika Latta

James Long

Ryan Tacata