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THTRFLM 3S06 Major Production Workshop (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Peter Cockett


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 404

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27662

Office Hours: by appointment

Course Objectives:

The students in the course participate in selected aspects of the production process, applying the skills learned in the program’s level 2 courses and developing new skills. The course will foster the dialectical connections between research, analysis and creation that are central to the practice of devised theatre and the Theatre and Film Studies program. Students will learn to engage with important social issues and develop ways to communicate their ideas to a local audience. The work will strengthen their understanding of the collaborative production processes behind creative work and the social significance of the decision-making involved. Students will learn to work collaboratively towards a common goal, defining shared ideas and production protocols. Over the course of the production, students will specialise in specific roles to develop their expertise in one aspect of theatrical production. They will be expected to complete training necessary to succeed in their speciality, either independently or under supervision of the instructor, production designers, or the SOTA technician.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


Antigone, by Sophocles, or Anne Carson’s recent translation Antigonick

Readings on Democracy and Dissent

Articles are posted under content. You should read them and let them enrich your thinking about democracy and dissent. You will not be tested on this knowledge but bringing it into your work will be noted and rewarded.

Design Readings

Students must familiarize themselves with the job descriptions from their design departments available under Content on Avenue. Each job description includes mandatory readings below


Bicat, Tina. Costume Design for Devised and Physical Theatre. Marlborough: Crowood, 2012. (Available on Kindle for $9.99)

Director (optional but advised)

Graham, Scott & Hoggett, Steven. The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre. London: Routledge, 2014.


Pilbrow, Richard. Stage Lighting Design: The Art, the Craft, the Life. (Patrick’s top choice: available through Amazon)


Fine, Daniel. “Blog: Media Design in Performance.” HowlRound ([0]=field_post_tags%3A416, accessed May 10, 2016). Please start at the beginning: “What is Media Design?” “Media Design and Dramaturgy: Creating Meaning,” “Media Design in the Rehearsal Hall Parts 1-3,”

Set and Props

Howard, Pamela.
What is Scenography? 2nd Ed. New York: Routledge, 2009 (accessible online through the library)


Kaye, Deena. Sound and Music for the Theatre: The Art & Technique of Design. New York: Focal Press, 2016. (Three editions in the library, most recent would be best but there is only one of those).

Theatre Visits

The class will go on one or two subsidized theatre visits. There will be a small cost for each student.

Method of Assessment:



  1. Health and Safety Test (5%): The students will complete a short Health and Safety test to ensure they are able to work safely in the production spaces. Only those students achieving 80% or more will be allowed to have full access to the equipment in the theatre.
  2. Competency Test (Pass/Fail): Students will be tested on their competency with the equipment necessary for their selected design specialty.
  3. First Design Presentation (10%): Each production team will present their initial ideas for the design to the group. This initial presentation will be defined by the instructor for each department at the start of term. It will involve research and the presentation of initial design options and should demonstrate an emergent understanding of design growing out of the course readings. Students should continue show command of relevant descriptors and an understanding of how the affect of design choices shapes audiences' understanding of the performance. Please consult the rubric for assessment criteria.
  4. Second Design Presentation (20%): Based on the feedback from the first presentation, each production team will develop the design for the production under the guidance of the instructor and production designer. The deadline for this presentation will vary between departments and will be indicated on the production schedule. It should show significant progress towards a final design strategy for the show that will satisfy the developing production design  protocols. The presentation might involve a workshop experiment demonstrating specific options in design, or a visual/aural presentation of potential design choices that fit with the production’s central design concept. The exact nature of the presentation will be negotiated with the instructor. Students should continue to show command of relevant descriptors and an understanding of how the affect of design choices shapes audiences' understanding of performance. Please consult the rubric for assessment criteria.
  5. Contribution to Production (30%): The student will be evaluated based on their contribution to the production. The student will be assessed on their mastery of their design specialty, the alignment of their design with the production protocols, and the student’s application to the cultural and creative objectives of the production. Please consult the rubric for assessment criteria.
  6. Final Report (25%): At the end of the term, each student will write a final reflection on the process. To prepare for this paper, it is well advised to keep a journal and to document all your work as you go. Students should show command of relevant descriptors and an understanding of how the affect, of design choices shapes audiences' understanding of the performance. The report should be formal and present arguments about decisions made connecting production choices to the objectives of the production and their impact on our audience. It can include quotations of your own journal entries and photo and video documentation of your work for the purpose of reference. An A+ report will demonstrate the depth and complexity of your personal engagement with the design process. Please consult the rubric for assessment criteria.
  7. Collaboration (10%): 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. 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 cannot begin to collaborate effectively in the class process. The grade will be split in two with one 5% assessment delivered following the first design presentation and the second at the end of the course.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


The success of any production depends on the reliability of its production team. Our classes will largely be used as production meetings and attendance in class therefore is compulsory. If you miss more than two classes, you will receive zero for participation and may be deemed to have not completed elements of the course. Students who are absent for their group presentation or the tutorial they have signed up to report on will receive a grade of 0 unless they present documentation to the Faculty office justifying their absence on that day.

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.

Deadlines for Practicum Work

Performance and presentation 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:


  1. Health and Safety Test: Thursday6, September (graded by Nov 9)
  2. First Presentations: As determined by production schedule (graded by Nov 9)
  3. Second Presentation: As determined by production schedule
  4. Contribution to Production: Feedback provided by November 19
  5. Final Report: Due on Wed, Nov 26, in assigned Dropbox
  6. Collaboration: 5% by October 10, 5% at end of term