Imagining a Music-Theatre Curriculum in North America

JHI Working Group active in 2019-2020


Music-theatre is "a type of performance in which theatrical actions are created by music-making". In music-theatre performance, "the physical and gestural elements inherent in the music-making are the action, and there is no... separation between stage and instrumental ensembles, nor are there dramatic roles." (Heile, 2016) While there are thriving indie, sound-art, and music-theatre communities throughout North America and Mexico, there has yet to be a university program dedicated to its academic and performance study. This working group brings together scholars, composers, and practitioners whose interests in the fields of music, theatre, performance, and sound converge at the point of music-theatre. We will trace the evolution of music-theatre in North America, with the goal of generating a long-term plan to establish the University of Toronto as a collaborative centre, whether curricular or departmental, for contemporary music-theatre.


Faculty, University of Toronto

  • Daniel Bender, UTSC Historical & Cultural Studies
  • Jacob Gallagher-Ross, UTM English & Drama
  • Marla Hlady, UTSC Arts, Culture & Media
  • Norbert Palej, Faculty of Music

Faculty members outside University of Toronto

  • Shahrokh Yadegari, composer and sound designer, UC-San Diego
  • Sandeep Bhagwati, Director, Matralab, Concordia University
  • Bruce Barton, Director and writer, University of Calgary

Graduate Students, University of Toronto

  • Jonathan Smith, Faculty of Music
  • Tyler Cunningham, Faculty of Music
  • Joyce To, Faculty of Music
  • Sarah Robbins, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
  • Julia Mattias, Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies

Artists and Professionals outside University of Toronto

  • Alyssa Ryvers, Toronto composer
  • James Harrison Monaco, NY storyteller/writer/musician
  • Jerome Ellis, NY composer/improviser/theatre artist
  • David Schotzko, Toronto percussionist and artistic director of Array Music
  • Carol Gimbel, Toronto violist and artistic director, Music in the Barns
  • Greg Oh, Toronto pianist and curator
  • Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster, Toronto actor and director