Performance Creation Concentration

The Performance Creation Concentration, offered in Goddard’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts (MFAIA) program, is designed to provide a learning context that blurs lines between authored, collaborative, and interpretive models of performance.

Goddard’s approach to performance creation is unique. By assembling a learning community of artists working in theater, dance, music and sound, spoken word and other oral forms, hybrid performance practices, digital performance, and the intersection of performance and technology (including film making), we’ve established a context in which students can work across boundaries that too often limit an artist’s practice. The concentration is designed to capitalize on Goddard’s low-residency model, allowing students to build their performance practice in their home communities and, through the use of technology, to establish working partnerships with students, alumni, and faculty across the world.

The concentration is available to students who attend residencies at the Vermont campus.

Request more information from an Admissions Counselor.

The Faculty

Students completing the Performance Creation Concentration are able to work with all Vermont-based MFAIA faculty members, but are required to work with concentration advisors for at least two semesters.

In the 2017-2018 academic year, concentration advisors include:

Peter Hocking is an interdisciplinary artist, primarily working in visual arts, writing, and community practice. As a faculty advisor he works closely with performance creators to explore and articulate the visual and social context of their work.

Gale Jackson is a poet, storyteller, writer and teaching artist. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for her work in griot traditions, worked for many years in university, public and community education, and as a lecturer, performer, researcher and librarian.

Andrea Parkins is a sound artist, composer and electro-multi-instrumentalist who also makes/arranges objects and images.

Rachael Van Fossen (lead faculty coordinator) is a theatre and interdisciplinary artist and teacher with a focus on collaborative practices in socially-engaged performance. Her current research focuses on a theatre of encounter, and its potential to build relationship across different life experiences and values.

Learn more about our faculty.


Twice a year, at the start of each semester, students who enroll in the Performance Creation Concentration attend an intensive eight-day residency at the College’s Plainfield, Vermont campus. Residencies are a rich time of exploration, connection, and planning.

The Plainfield campus in central Vermont is about a 15-minute drive from Montpelier, the capital of Vermont, and an hour from Burlington, one of Vermont’s largest cities.

Low-Residency Model

At the start of the semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency in Vermont, followed by 16 weeks of independent work and self-reflection in close collaboration with a faculty advisor. Goddard pioneered this format nearly a half century ago to meet the needs of adult students with professional, family, and other obligations seeking learning experiences grounded in the real-world.

Residencies are a time to explore, network, learn, witness, and share with peers, staff, and faculty. Students work with advisors and peers in close-knit advising groups to forge individualized study plans that describe their learning objectives for the semester.

Working closely with their faculty advisors, and supported by fellow learners, students identify areas of study, personal goals, relevant resources, and avenues to achieve these goals. Students also attend and are invited to help organize workshops, keynote addresses, celebrations and other events intended to stimulate, inspire, and challenge.

This low-residency model combines the breadth of a collaborative community with the focus of personalized learning, enhanced by insightful exchanges with a faculty advisor.

Concentration Requirements Summary

Students who successfully complete the concentration will receive a concentration notation on their final transcript.

In addition to fulfilling (or as a means of navigating) the existing MFAIA degree requirements, the concentration requires students to:

  • Engage with the concentration for a minimum of four semesters of the five-semester MFAIA program.
  • Build significant creative work each semester, through direct production, experimental explorations, and research.
  • Develop 45-50 critical resource annotations and 9-12 short critical reflection papers.
  • Develop three critical essays.
  • Complete a thesis.
  • Participate in at least two collaborative learning opportunities and a sequence of residency workshops.
  • Demonstrate significant engagement with artworks, performance, and theory beyond one’s existing cultural experience.