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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Peter Cockett


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 404

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27662

Office Hours: TSH 511, Wednesday 12.30-1.20pm, or by appointment

Course Objectives:


Course Description

This course provides program students with the opportunity to synthesize skills and ideas developed in their first two years in practical laboratory projects. Working collaboratively, students will create a series of productions to be presented to the public in the second term.

Course Objectives

The students will collaborate in small groups to produce a short piece of theatre that addresses a specific social issue, experiments with specific artistic forms, and/or addresses a particular theory of performance or production. The students’ approach will be experimental and the production work treated as research. This course will deepen student understanding of 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 master techniques needed to communicate their ideas to a local audience. The work will strengthen their understanding of the production processes 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. Within their groups, students have the opportunity to specialise in specific roles in order to develop their expertise in one or more aspects of theatrical production.


Method of Instruction

Students will be assigned to a collaborative group at the beginning of term that will include students in this class and students in 30P6. The students from TH&FLM 3OP6 will support the production work in the capacity of stage managers, production managers, and assistant designers. At the start of term, they will engage in activities that will help define the objectives and production protocols of their projects, receiving feedback from their peers and their instructor. From these opening exercises, the students will develop their production over the course of the first term and present it to the public in the second term. Each group will be assigned a member of the Theatre and Film Studies faculty who will work as external adviser on their project, consulting with the group once during its development and providing written feedback on their final production. In the second term, students will present their short performance piece to the public and participate in a peer review process.


Rehearsal Attire

As this is mainly a studio course, students should wear appropriate rehearsal attire (i.e., loose, comfortable clothing and footwear) to class


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). It is also crucially important that deadlines arising from production schedules are met. Failure to perform duties on the assigned day(s) will result in a grade of zero for that assignment.


In the event of the cancellation of the entire run of the Honours Performance Series due to university closure, the run will be re-scheduled by arrangement with the student director, the SOTA technician and the Course Instructors of THTR & FLM 4A06 and 3OP6.


If performing a published text, it is the student’s responsibility to assist SOTA in gaining the rights for the performance of their chosen play. They must make initial calls to establish the name of publisher who controls those rights and then pass the publisher’s contact information on to Rose Mannarino by 31st October


Health and Safety

All students must received instruction from the SOTA technician including a tour of the theatre introducing them too all safety hazards and the necessary precautions needed to decrease the possibility of injury to themselves or others.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Course Materials



Articles and books specific to research projects of each student


Theatre Gargantua, in the Performance Lab, T-13, Saturday 21st September, 9.30-1.30pm

Theatre Visit

Theatre Gargantua's The Sacrifice Zone, November 22nd at the Factory Theatre, Toronto


Course Website

The Avenue to Learn (Avenue) e-learning website for this course can be accessed at

To log on, enter your Mac User ID and password. 

·    Avenue User ID = your MAC ID User ID (eg: if your muss email id is:; then your Avenue username is: janed)

·    Avenue Password = your MAC ID password

Click on the tab “Courses” at the top of the page and choose “2013 Fall (T1) THTRFLM 4A06: Theatre and Society: Performance Project

The Avenue site contains many resources that will be useful for this course including a production schedule, research materials, and links to useful web resources. It is the main communication site for the course and will contain all time-sensitive announcements as well as discussion areas and chatrooms. Please consult the site at least once a day and use it to develop group and class collaboration. The Avenue site should be the PRINCIPAL VEHICLE OF COMMUNICATION for your group. Your participation and production grades will be partly determined by the number and quality of your postings in discussion groups. Computer facilities are available in Humanities computing labs T

Method of Assessment:


Method of Evaluation

Research Poster (Individual)                                      5%

Visual World of the Play Presentation (Group)          5%

Thesis Statement                                                         5%

Scene Experiment                                                       10%

Scene Presentation Report                                          10%


All of the above completed before March 5th


Honours Thesis Project

Production                              35%

            Reflection Paper                     15%                

Collaboration                                      15%


Research Poster (Individual Assignment)
At the outset of the process each student will conduct library research and present their group with four articles and books on their topic that they feel would be valuable to the process. The group will select one article/book each and create a research poster on that material. 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 group's creative process. Students should provide two photocopies/printouts of the article.


Project Thesis Statement (Group Assignment)

Each group will write a project thesis statement of no more than three sentences that clearly articulates the artistic and social intent of the show. This statement should inform every stage of the process going forward and act as the touchstone for future artistic decisions. It may be revised later to meet new directions. Your work will in part be assessed on the degree to which it fulfills the intentions articulated in this statement.


Visual World of the Play Presentation (Group Assignment)

Working in their creative groups, students will collect visual material relevant to their show and present it to the class. Each student will arrive in class on September 19 with material for the collage and the collage will be assembled as a group. The presentation will help them to define the visual world of their play. Items in the presentation might include original sketches and art work, cuttings from magazines or newspapers, fabrics or other materials, photographs, images or video taken from films, TV or the internet. The material can be presented to the class on Bristol board, via digital projection, or be a mix of both media. This presentation will be a vital step in the creation of set and costumes.


Requirements for Design (Ungraded)

At various points in the class process groups will be asked to articulate their ideas and needs for the set, lights, costume, sound and multi-media for the 30P6 set designers.


Scene Experiment (Group Assignment)

Working with their new cast, each group will present a scene or scenes from their show. All production elements should be integrated into this presentation. The scene work should grow out of the workshop presentation. It can take a discursive approach presenting options for discussion and inviting critique. The class will provide feedback on the experiment that will help the group further develop their ideas.


Scene Experiment Paper (Individual Assignment)

Using the feedback from their peers as a starting point, students will analyze their scene experiment, demonstrating their understanding of the complexities of the relationships between their production choices and the cultural purpose of their work. The paper should address the writing, acting, sound and lighting design (and multi-media). This paper will serve as a diagnostic test of the student’s ability to write about production exercises in an effective way. 3-4 pages.


Honours Thesis Project: The Production (Group Assignment)

The grading system for each student will be depend on their area of specialization within the project and will be negotiated with the instructor. Productions will be assessed on clarity and complexity of expression, precision and creativity in execution of technical resources, and the social impact of the issues raised. The grade will take the development of the show from inception, through skeleton script, first draft of script, draft performance, to the final staging in the Robinson.


Final Reflection Paper (Individual Assignment)

Following the post-mortem and written feedback from the Theatre and Film faculty, all students will write a six-page paper analyzing the process and the way their production met or failed to meet with the objectives expressed in their thesis statement. The paper is DUE one week after receiving feedback from the instructor.


Collaboration (Individual Assignment)

In this course you have many collaborators: your assigned group, your supervisors, students from 30P6, your peers in this course, your actors, 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. This is especially important with students from 30P6.


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. I have decided not to grade the following assignments: design presentations for all departments, skeleton script and draft performance. You will be penalized on collaboration if you do not deliver these items on time but you will not be graded. I hope this will encourage you to make provisional decisions in a timely manner that we can then revise and refine as the show develops.


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 5% assessment delivered following the scene presentation and the second at the end of the course.


There a numerous deliverables in this course that are not assigned a grade. The expectation is that these assignments are completed on time in order to enable the work of the 30P6 students and keep the production schedule on track. Failure to meet any of these deadlines will result in the group or individuals losing .5% of their collaboration grade. Deliverables include attendance at the Theatre Gargantua workshop and the performance of The Sacrifice Zone, presentation of research options, presentation of ideas for sound, lights, set, costume, presentation of skeleton script draft, the finalized skeleton script, first draft of the script, the draft performance, and periodic peer assessments.


Grading of Group Assignments

In all group assignments, I will consider the contributions of each individual to the team effort. It is impossible for me to monitor all activities but each of you should be careful to come prepared to class, to meet all deadlines, and be fully engaged with the development of the creative and intellectual ideas behind your show. If I ask you direct questions, if you are prepared and working hard, you should be able to answer them constructively.


Self-Assessment and Group Assessment

At various stages of the process you will be asked to assess your own work within the group and the work of your group members. We are keen to foster more professional conduct in our students and feel it important to reflect on the collaborative practices of each group.



You will be collaborating with each other and with students from 3OP6. Failure to master the skills taught in this course will have significant impact on your peers and the general public. Attendance in class therefore is compulsory. If you miss more than three classes, you will receive a 0 for participation unless you provide the Faculty office with justification for your absence.




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 file. The FILENAME should include your surname followed by the name of the assignment, eg. cockett_sound.doc, would be my analysis of the sound presentation. 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 individual essay.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

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.

Topics and Readings:

4A06: Course Activities and Deadlines (2013-2014)


Sep 5: Introduction to Course – Self-assessments. Beginning of group work.

Sep 10: Presentation of Research Options – selection of articles/books for review

Sep 12: Demonstration of new technology in the Robinson involving 30P6 and for 4A06

Sep 17: Presentation of Individual Research Posters (4A06)

Sep 19: Bring all visual inspirations to class for Visual World of the Play Exercise.

Sep 21 (Saturday): THEATRE GARGANTUA WORKSHOP 9.30-1.30pm

Sep 24: Presentation of the Visual World of the Play Poster and Project Thesis

Statement (4A06)

Sep 26: Group self-assessment. Production teams finalized

Oct 1: Developing the Skeleton Script

Oct 3: Presentation of Draft Skeleton Script (4A06). Auditions.

Oct 8: Casting discussion/decisions

Oct 10: Scene Development Workshop

Oct 15: Scene Experiment Development. Draft Scene Submitted (4A06)

Oct 17: Scene Experiment Development

Oct 22: Scene Experiment Development/Discussion of Ideas for Set

Oct 24: 4A06 students will deliver basic requirements for the set design.

Friday, October 25th: Scene Experiment Night, 5pm-11pm

Oct 29: Scene Experiment Post-Mortem

Oct 31: Mid-Term Recess

Nov 5: Presentation of Final Skeleton Script (4A06)

Nov 7: Script and Set Development

Nov 12: Script and Set Development

Nov 14: Set Model First Prod Week Presentation (30P6)

Nov 19: Script and Set Development

Nov 21: Set Model Second Prod Week Presentation (30P6)

Nov 22 (Friday): Theatre Visit - Theatre Gargantua's The Sacrifice Zone at the Factory Theatre

Nov 26: Script Development

Nov 28: Set Model Third Prod Week Presentation (30P6)/Script Development

Dec 3: Draft Scripts Submitted (4A06)


Winter Break


Jan 7: No class

Jan 9: Final Set Model Presentations – NO EXTENSIONS

Jan 14: Group Work

Jan: 16: During Class (30P6 and 4A06): 12.30-2.20pm: Sound and Lighting Teaching in Robinson

Jan 21: Group Work

Jan 23: During Class (4A06 and 30P6): students training in the Robinson 

Jan 27 to 31: Prep Week for Draft Performances in the Robinson – stage managers, sound designers and lighting designers all have access to the space, with technical support – scheduled for specific times between 9am-11pm around student schedules

Feb 1 and 2: Draft Full Performances in the Robinson – scheduled over the weekend

Feb 4: Group Work

Feb 6: Production Meetings

Feb 11: Group Work

Feb 13: Production Meetings



Feb 25: Group Work

Feb 27: Production Meetings

Mar 2-7: Production Prep Week - stage managers, sound designers and lighting designers for all shows given limited access to the space, with technical support – scheduled for specific limited times between 9am-11pm around student schedules. You MUST schedule times and stick to those times

Mar 8 and 14: First Production Week

Mar 18 and 20: Second Production Week

Mar 25 and 27: Third Production Week

Apr 1: Production Post-mortems

Apr 3: Production Post-mortems

Apr 8: Class Post Mortem

Other Course Information:


Phone: 416 727 1654 (DO NOT USE OFFICE PHONE)

Course Website: