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THTRFLM 3PR3 Text Based Devising: R & D (C01)

Academic Year: Spring/Summer 2019

Term: Spring

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Peter Cockett


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 404

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27662

Office Hours: Tuesday 2-3pm

Course Objectives:

Students will be engaged with the research and planning for the department’s Fall Major production. The class will explore three contemporary Canadian 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 Portfolio that documents, analyzes and critiques the work, 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 aspect of a production.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Please purchase copies of the plays from Playwright’s Canada Press. There are cheap PDF copies that can be delivered immediately via email. Please do not share copies. Playwrights do not get paid enormous amounts of money and depend on sales of their playtexts to support themselves and their families. The links below will take you to the specific plays. You can buy them on Amazon too if you want hard copies. This is just the cheapest route.

Lac/Athabasca by Len Falkenstein (

carried away on the crest of a wave, by David Yee (

Bang Bang, by Kat Sandler (

Separate texts for each design department will be assigned on Avenue

Method of Assessment:

Method of Evaluation

Competency Test                                              Pass/Fail – May 21st

Health and Safety Test                                      5% - May 9th

3 x First Impressions and Play Analysis           15% (5% each) All graded before May 24th

Performance Research Presentation                20% May 25th

Group Performance/Special Project                  20% June 13th    

Portfolio                                                             20% June 23rd

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.

Design Research Presentation    

Details of this assignment will be given a separate sheet.

Group Performance/Special Project

The final presentation will be a performance of scenes that experiment with the design ideas generated by the research process. 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.

Portfolio - Reflection, Documentation and Critique

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 and especially you need to demonstrate you can critique your own work. 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:

Written Assignments

All written work MUST be submitted on the course website via Avenue to Learn. Wherever possible, papers should be attached as a MICROSOFT WORD, or PAGES file. The FILENAME should include your surname followed by the name of the assignment, eg. cockett_3PR3_sound.doc, would be my analysis of the sound presentation. Failure to do so will result in a 5% penalty on you paper. Any papers submitted as PDFs will not receive written feedback. When developing your written work, students should clearly identify ideas and information that were generated in group discussion or contributed by another group member and distinguish these from material they themselves have generated for the Portfolio.

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:

See Avenue to Learn

Other Course Information:

Work Attire

As this is mainly a studio course, students should wear appropriate attire for work, i.e., loose, comfortable clothing for rehearsal, and old clothes and strong shoes if working on lights or set.

Health and Safety

Students should always take care not to endanger themselves in the process of performance. The Performance Lab’s rules of conduct must be obeyed at all times. Any students needing to introduce staged violence to a scene, including the throwing of any object may do so only after consultation with the instructor.