Headlong Performance Institute


Headlong Performance Institute (HPI)
is an intensive Philadelphia semester in hybrid performance founded and taught by working artists, including the artistic directors of Headlong. HPI students train, create, perform, and see work in the heart of Philadelphia’s vibrant and internationally-known performance scene. HPI students benefit from professional mentoring through our “Life of the Artist” series, and also earn a full semester of 300-level undergraduate credit through our partner institution Bryn Mawr College.


Each day includes technique classes, improvisation and composition work, and time for rehearsal. All of this work is grounded in a study of the history of contemporary performance with frequent trips to see live work in and around Philadelphia including a full slate of programs in the Fringe Arts Festival in September.


We emphasize long lines of research organized around showings and low-key performances so that the work evolves and changes in a process of gaining deeper insight into the questions you explore. Each HPI class forms a tight-knit, cooperative community of inquiry and exploration in an intensive environment that includes six to nine hours a day of learning and creating together.


A typical HPI class include artists who:

  • Come from performance backgrounds in dance and theater — some from liberal arts background and others from conservatory training.


  • Come from training in other disciplines too — like visual art, music, science, humanities, social research and activism.


  • Are undergraduates and “post-bacs”—folks who are already in the world making and exploring. (Undergrads attend as part of a semester-away option receiving a full semester’s worth of credit through our partner institution Bryn Mawr College.)


  • Are “post-bacs”—folks who have graduated and/or are already in the world making and exploring.


  • are between 20 and 30 years old but often include artists in their 30’s, 40’s and older.