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THTRFLM 3PR3 Text Based Devising: R & D

Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2017

Term: Spring

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Peter Cockett


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 404

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27662

Office Hours: Thursday 12-1pm

Course Objectives:

Students will be engaged with the research and planning for the department’s Fall Major production. The class will explore three early modern plays, select the play we feel is best suited for the Fall Major, and develop design and production concepts in preparation for the Fall. The class will research the background of the chosen play and explore its theatrical potential through analysis, library research, and studio experimentation. Each student will specialize in one area of theatrical production, mastering the technical skills necessary to enable effective research in a practical setting. The results of the research and experimentation will be presented in a final group performance and in a Reflection and Analysis Portfolio published in either PebblePad, Tumblr, Prezi, or any multi-media platform the student wishes to use. By the end of the course, students will have an overview of the work involved in preparing and planning for a theatrical production as a whole, and specific experience planning and preparing for one aspects of a production.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:

Women and Servants, by Lope De Vega (available in Titles)

The Roaring Girl, by John Middleton and Thomas Dekker (available in Titles)

Swetnam the Woman-Hater, author unknown (translation will be available on Avenue)

Separate texts for each design department will be assigned on Avenue

Method of Assessment:

Method of Evaluation

Competency Test                                            Pass/Fail – May 12th

Health and Safety Test                                    5% - May 7th

3 x First Impressions and Play Analysis         15% (5% each) All graded before May 31st

Performance Research Presentation              20% May 25th

Group Performance/Special Project               20% June 13th

Reflection and Analysis Portfolio                    20% June 20th

Collaboration                                                   20%

Health and Safety Test

A short answer test on the department’s health and safety policies and procedures.

First Impressions and Play Analysis

Each student will perform a first impressions and play analysis exercise for each of the plays. The process for this analysis will be laid out in a separate assignment sheet. Submitted in Avenue to Learn Dropbox.

Performance Research Presentation          

Students will work in production teams on selected scenes from the chosen play. Each group will be assigned an area of library research for the production. The Performance Research Presentation will disseminate that research to the class and present the groups design protocols for their performance. The grade for this element is based on the individual's contribution to the design presentation and the way the presentation works together to present a coherent plan for the performance.

Group Performance/Special Project

The groups will perform the scenes from the chosen play for the class. Students specializing in set design may choose to build a set model for the play. Other requests for special projects will be considered. The process for developing the performance will be laid out in a separate assignment sheet.

Reflection and Analysis Portfolio

As you work through the various projects in the class you must record your work in some other kind of multi-media platform that allows you to incorporate your reflections, images and possibly video too. Avenue to Learn’s PebblePad is one option, or Tumblr, or Prezi. I don’t mind the format but I want to see deep reflection and strong analysis coupled with visual and/or acoustic inspirations. You should use images, photographs, video and sound in your portfolios, but the writing element is important. You need to demonstrate what you have done and that you understand its significance to the development of the project. All portfolios should include relevant references to the library research on the chosen play.


Students will be assessed on their ability to collaborate effectively. Important collaborative skills include: punctuality, reliability, preparation before meetings, fulfilment of assigned tasks, bringing ideas to the group, facilitating the ideas of others, keeping the project moving, negotiating creative road-blocks and finding syntheses.

When you are in class I expect you to be working. If you are not working, you are not participating. You know what work feels like; I know what it looks like and sounds like. Sometimes the creative process stalls but the work should never stop. Blocks and obstacles are there to be overcome. I am there to help so reach out to me but never stop working at the ideas. As long as you do that, you will get a great mark for collaboration.

In this course you have many collaborators: your assigned group, me, your peers in this course, possibly even actors from outside the course, etc. It is important that you embrace the idea that all parties are members of a team working together and do not consider them competitors, dictators, or servants.

You should each also treat me as a collaborator rather than an assessor. This may seem artificial but it is crucial to your success. If you wait to share ideas until you think they will receive a good grade then the process will stall repeatedly.


You will be working in groups so failure to attend class can potentially harm the work of your peers. Attendance in class therefore is compulsory. You cannot collaborate effectively if you are not there, so if you miss more than one class, you may be assigned 0% for collaboration. Allowances may be made if you can provide a valid doctor’s note, or MSAF report.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Email Policy

It is the policy of the School of the Arts that all email communication between students and instructors (including TAs) must originate from their official McMaster University email accounts. This policy protects the confidentiality and sensitivity of information and confirms the identities of both the student and instructor. The School of the Arts' instructors will delete messages that do not originate from McMaster email accounts.

Late Penalties

Late penalty for written assignments is 2% per day or 10% per week. Assignments will not be accepted more than one week after the due date. In exceptional circumstances, a medical certificate, or the equivalent for a non‑medical problem, must be submitted to the Dean's office (CNH 112) in explanation for late assignments.

NB. Students with disabilities can receive accommodations to assist them in the completion of their assignments and exams. Please contact the Centre for Student Development for advice and for arranging assistance. The Centre can also help with essay writing, time management and procrastination problems.  Please look into their services if you feel you need help with any of these issues.

Deadlines for Practicum Work

Performance dates, once scheduled, are final deadlines and are not subject to renegotiation. “The show must go on,” except in case of University closure, immediate threat to safety, or the direction of the Instructor, Technical Director (or a designate of either).

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Tuesday May 2: Introduction to course/Discussion of Process/Selection of Specialties-Assign Groups and Design Readings/Health and Safety Test Materials

Thursday May 4: Health and Safety Test/Read Women and Servants

Tuesday May 9: Initial Impressions and Play Analysis for Women and Servants Due in Dropbox (12am)/Design Skills Development/Read The Roaring Girl

Thursday May 11: Initial Impressions and Play Analysis for The Roaring Girl Due in Dropbox (12am) Design Competency Tests/Read Swetnam the Woman-Hater

Sunday May 14: Design Papers Due in Dropbox

Tuesday May 16: Initial Impressions and Play Analysis for Swetnam the Woman-Hater Due (12am) due in Dropbox/Choose the Play/Select Scenes/Set up Performance Research Process

Thursday May 18: First Workshop Rehearsal

Tuesday May 23: Design Workshop Development

Thursday May 25: Performance Research Presentations

Tuesday May 30: Workshop

Thursday June 1: Workshop

Tuesday June 6: Workshop

Thursday June 8: Workshop

Tuesday June 13: Performance Presentations

Thursday June 15: Post-mortem