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About the School of Performing Arts

The School of Performing Arts is the creative heart of the University. We actively pursue our passions as performers, actors, composers, songwriters, directors; all the while linking our professional practice activities to our research and teaching.

Our mission is to engage in high-quality professional practice, research, and research-informed teaching in the many specialised areas on offer.

Music, theatre performing arts and dance are a very important part of our lives: studying these subjects enriches any student’s university course and opens the door to lifelong enjoyment. If you want to learn how to express yourself and communicate with others, work in a team, solve problems creatively and gain discipline-specific knowledge, then study with us!

We are committed to fostering an academic environment that is open, inclusive and respectful, with excellence in all activities.

Find out about our research activities and publications.

Go to our academic staff profiles.

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The School of Performing Arts' new centre and redeveloped teaching and performance spaces

Te Korokoro o te Tūi: Otago's new Performing Arts centre

Te Korokoro o te Tūi (the voice-box of the Tūi) incorporates nine purpose-built studios – including a two-storey recording studio – flexible teaching and performance spaces, and communal areas for students to collaborate and showcase their work within a learning environment.

The industry-leading two-storey studio is equipped for recording everything from small orchestras to solos, and for teaching contemporary and rock music performance.

Performing Arts Studio and Suite image

The ground floor of the two-storey main studio houses the main control room, two isolation booths for recording and the main recording space – capable of accommodating an orchestra and of hosting performances for an audience of more than 100.

A gantry around the upper interior walls can be used to hang microphones, lighting, video screens, and speakers, and will have positions for cameras.

The other studios and teaching/practice rooms are on the first floor.

Design elements for the new centre

Cultural engagement with Ngāi Tahu conceived a narrative of birdsong and each studio space has a distinct colour scheme based on the feathers of individual native birds.

Innovative design features include ‘floating’ concrete floors and 780 bespoke wall-mounted timber boxes to safeguard the acoustic integrity of the recording spaces.

Performing Arts Studio and Suite interior image

Redeveloped teaching and performance spaces

Parts of the first floor of the western end of the neighbouring University of Otago College of Education Music Block have been renovated. The new spaces include a flexible Theatre and Music studio, a smaller teaching room, a guitar lab, four music and theatre rehearsal/practice rooms, a workshop and spaces for storing instruments and equipment.

Sharing video, data and audio

The teaching room, music practice room and studios can be routinely linked simultaneously to share video, data and audio – or just some of those spaces can link, or they can all be busy with different uses. The community, and commercial groups, can also apply to use these spaces.

The redevelopment provides more opportunities to collaborate on teaching, research performance, and production across the school and with the College of Education through the shared premises.

Collaborations with the wider University and the local community are also possible, through shared use of the new facility, as well as nationally and internationally through easy access to ultra-fast technology.