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Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2014

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Peter Cockett


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 404

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27662

Office Hours: By Appointment

Course Objectives:

Students will be engaged with the research and development for the department’s Fall Major production. Next year’s show will be a variety show that addresses the topic of success in our culture. The class will define the topic with more clarity and explore its theatrical potential through library research and studio experiments. By the end of the course, the class will have developed material for the show and defined the structure of the show and developed a potential set design. Each student will specialize in one area of theatrical production, mastering the technical skills necessary to enable effective devising. By the end of the course, students will have an overview of the work involved in researching and developing a theatre project devised from scratch.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:

Assigned articles and chapters available through Avenue to Learn and at the library. Details to follow with Research Presentation assignment.

Method of Assessment:

Method of Evaluation

My Dreams Exercise                   Pass/Fail – May 8th

My Objectives Exercise               Pass/Fail – May 8th

First Impressions                         Pass/Fail – May 8th

Competency Test                         Pass/Fail – May 8-13th

EOHSS Training                           Pass/Fail – May 13th

Health and Safety Test                  5% - May 13th

Research Presentation                 15% Due May 15th/Graded before May 23th

First Presentation                          20%

Second Presentation                     20%

Final Paper                                    20%

Collaboration                                 20%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

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).

Late Assignments:

Late penalty for written assignments is 5% per day, calculated from the beginning of your tutorial time, or 25% per week unless the student has a justified absence from the University.  After one week, late papers will not be accepted, except in the case of a justified absence.

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. 

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

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.

Other Course Information:


My Dreams Exercise

Each student will perform an in-class exercise designed to prompt self-reflection in relation to core issues in the play. The exercise should be recorded and posted in the assigned Dropbox.

My Objectives Exercise

Each student will perform an in-class exercise designed to prompt self-reflection in relation to core issues in the play. The exercise should be recorded and posted in the assigned Dropbox.

First Impressions

Each student will perform a first impressions exercise for play and record it in their Learning Portfolios.

Competency Test

Each student will be tested on basic technical competency for either lights, sound, multi-media, costume, props or set design.

EOHSS Training

Every student must complete EOHSS online training modules: Slips, Trips and Falls, Fire Safety Training and Office WHMIS. The completed forms must be submitted to the instructor at the third class of term.

Health and Safety Test

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

Library Research Project

Each student will research a specific aspect of our topic, finding a relevant article in a scholarly journal, an essay in a collection of articles, or a chapter in a book in addition to research from other sources. The student will write an abstract of the article and select three key quotes that will communicate the scholar’s understanding to the class and inspire the creative process. The research should be presented on Bristol board with relevant images. The intention of your work should be to deepen and broaden our understanding of our topic and inspire your classmates (and your professor) to engage passionately with the issues. Students should provide two photocopies/printouts of the article.

First and Second Presentations

The nature of these assignments will be dependent by the research material produced in class and will develop out of the devising process. They will both be collaborative group exercises and involve class performance. Each student will be responsible for a particular element of design, working as part of a complete design team. The presentations will be negotiated collaboratively. Students that wish to perform may perform; students who do not wish to perform do not have to. Students may also aZchoose to develop the set design for the show.

Final Paper

Your final paper should analyze the class work and present a persuasive argument for the further development of the production. A strong paper will have a powerful influence on my creative process as I prepare for the Fall major production. All papers should be submitted in a drop-box on Avenue-to-Learn. The filename of your paper should be: “yoursurnamename_3PR3_paper.doc”


In this course you will have many collaborators: your assigned groups, your peers in other groups and myself. 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.

Students will be assessed on their ability to collaborate effectively and will be given a mid-term grade that assesses their performance in this capacity. 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. On-line discussion forums will be a key factor in my assessment. If you do not engage with your groups online, then I will presume you are not engaging with the work outside of the classroom. If you do not speak during class discussions, then you are cannot begin to collaborate effectively in the class process.

The grade will be split in two with one 10% assessment delivered following the first  presentation and the second at the end of the course.

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 participation.


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. 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.