What is implied when we refer to the study of performing arts as 'drama', 'theatre' or 'performance'? Each term identifies a different tradition of thought and offers different possibilities to the student or practitioner. This book examines the history and use of the terms and investigates the different philosophies, politics, languages and institutions with which they are associated. Simon Shepherd and Mick Wallis: * analyze attitudes to drama, theatre and performance at different historical junctures * trace a range of political interventions into the field(s) * explore and contextualise the institutionalisation of drama and theatre as university subjects, then the emergence of 'performance' as practice, theory and academic discipline * guide readers through major approaches to drama, theatre and performance, from theatre history, through theories of ritual or play, to the idea of performance as paradigm for a postmodern age * discuss crucial terms such as action, alienation, catharsis, character, empathy, interculturalism, mimesis, presence or representation in a substantial 'keywords' section. Continually linking their analysis to wider cultural concerns, the authors here offer the most wide-ranging and authoritative guide available to a vibrant, fast-moving field and vigorous debates about its nature, purpose and place in the academy.