University of Calgary

Bruce Barton

  • Professor
  • Director - SCPA

Research Interests


Currently Teaching


Bruce Barton is a performance maker and research/creation scholar located in Calgary, Alberta. His stage and radio plays have been produced across Canada, celebrated with regional and national awards, and anthologized. He works extensively as a director, playwright, dramaturg, and designer with numerous devising and intermedial performance companies across Canada and internationally. He is also the Co-Artistic Director (with Pil Hansen) of Vertical City, an interdisciplinary performance hub they co-founded in 2007.


Bruce’s interdisciplinary orientation runs deep: he holds two Honours Bachelor degrees, one in Literature and one in Visual Arts from the University of Guelph. His Masters degree, also from the University of Guelph, is in Drama, and he received his Doctorate in Theatre and Film from the University of Toronto. Between 2001 and 2014, Bruce taught performance creation, dramaturgy, intermedial performance, and practice-based research at the University of Toronto, where he also served as the Director of the undergraduate Theatre and Drama Studies program and Associate Director of the Graduate Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. In January 2015, Bruce became the first Director of the newly formed School of Creative and Performing Arts (Dance, Drama and Music) at the University of Calgary, where he also teaches Performance-Creation and Practice-as-Research.


As the Director of the University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts, Bruce has worked alongside the School’s accomplished faculty and staff to provide both strong and extensive discipline-specific programming and a range of new interdisciplinary opportunities, including a set of core and elective undergraduate courses in interdisciplinary theory and practice and a new interdisciplinary graduate specialization.


Bruce has published in a wide range of peer-reviewed and professional periodicals, including Performance Research, TDR, Theatre Journal, Theatre Topics, Theatre Research in Canada, and Canadian Theatre Review. He is a former general editor of Theatre Research in Canada and has several times been issue co-editor of Canadian Theatre Review (“Theatrical Devising,” “Memory,” “Dance and Movement Dramaturgy”). He has contributed articles to numerous international essay collections and is the author or editor/contributor of seven books, including Performance as Research: Methodology, Knowledge, Impact (2017),  At the Intersection Between Art and Research (2010), and Collective Creation, Collaboration and Devising (2008).


Bruce’s research and creative practice increasingly extend beyond national borders through collaborations with leading scholars and practitioners, particularly in the area of immersive and participatory performance practices, aesthetics, and ethics. He is a co-convenor of the Performance as Research Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR/FIRT) and the Artistic Research Working Group of Performance Studies international (PSi). He is also on the Board of PSi as that organization’s first Artist Relations Officer, as well as a founding member of the Artistic Research Study Circle of the Nordic Summer University (NSU). He is also the founder and co-convenor of the “Articulating Artistic Research” Seminar at the Canadian Association for Theatre Research, which he began in 2012. Bruce has also been a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada for over 20 years.


For an up-to-date CV and descriptions of past and current research projects, please visit my personal website at


For more information about our performance company Vertical City’s productions, collaborators and processes, check out our company website at




  • Dramaturgy (Text-based and Physical Performance)
  • Performance Creation and Devising
  • Practice-Based Research
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Intermediality in Theatre and Performance



Bruce has been teaching since 1988, as a sessional instructor at the University of Guelph, McMaster University, University of Prince Edward Island, and Dalhousie University, and as a faculty member at Memorial University of Newfoundland and University of Toronto. Between 2001 and 2014, Bruce taught performance creation, dramaturgy, intermedial performance, and practice-based research at the University of Toronto with the undergraduate Theatre and Drama Studies program and the graduate Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies.

Since joining the School of Creative and Performing Arts, Bruce has taught Performance Creation (DRAM 360, 460 and 560) in the division of Drama, as well as the Interdisciplinary courses SCPA 290 and 399.

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