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THTRFLM 3S03 Major Production Workshop

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Peter Cockett


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 404

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27662

Office Hours: Monday 10.30-11.20am

Course Objectives:

The students in the course have the opportunity to participate in all aspect of the production process, applying the skills learned in the program’s level 2 courses. 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 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 in order to develop their expertise in one aspect of theatrical production. They will be expected to complete training necessary in order to succeed in their speciality, either independently or under supervision of the SOTA technician. All students will have the opportunity to work as assistant directors for specific scenes.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


Yee, David. Lady in the Red Dress, (Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 2010)– available at Titles (and yes you need to buy this edition)

Workshops and Theatre Visits

Details to be confirmed. The Theatre Visits will be compulsory and there will be a cost attached. Workshops will most likely be optional.


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.     Initial Design Presentation (20%): Each production team will present their initial ideas for the design to the group. This initial presentation will involve research into past productions and should demonstrate a strong understanding of the course readings and the objectives of our productions. It should present the director (me) with a series of design options intended to satisfy the production protocols established at the start of class. The presentation might be a workshop experiment demonstrating particular options in design, or a formal 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. The presentation should reveal how the production options would create an affect that would serve the social and artistic objectives of the production.  

3.     Final Design Presentation (20%): Each production team will develop and present a final design for the production, building from the group's reaction to the Initial Design Presentation. This presentation should also demonstrate a strong understanding of the course readings and the objectives of our productions. It should present the director (me) with a final design for the show that will satisfy the production protocols established at the start of class. The presentation might involve a workshop experiment demonstrating particular options in design, or a formal 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. The presentation should reveal how the affect of the production options would serve the objectives of the production – making the important connection between design and meaning.

4.     Contribution to Production (20%): The student will be evaluated based on their contribution to the production. The student will be assessed on the basis of the quality of their work, its impact on the production as a whole, the student’s professionalism and the student’s application to the cultural and creative objectives of the production. The effectiveness of the students' work as assistant directors will contribute to this assessment.

5.     Final Report (25%): The student will submit a final report as a reflection of the entire term and production, offering insight on the entire experience. Its primary focus should be how the production choices made served, or did not serve, the objectives of our production. How did the artistic choices work to make meanings new and old? 

6.    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. 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 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.

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: Thursday 10th, September

2.     Initial Design Presentation: Thursday 30th, September

3.     Final Design Presentations: Tuesday 8th and Thursday 10th October

4.     Contribution to Production: As determined by production schedule. Feedback provided by November 21st

5.     Final Report: Due on Wed, Nov 27, in assigned Dropbox

6.     Collaboration: 5% by October 4th, 5% at end of term

Other Course Information:

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 passwordClick on the tab “Courses” at the top of the page and choose “2015 Fall (T1) THTRFLM 3S03: Major Production Workshop

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 boards. 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 TSH 206 and TSH 209, or the CIS labs in KTH B121.

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 OPEN OFFICE file, not a pdf or Pages. The FILENAME should begin with your surname followed by the name of the assignment, eg. cockett_1pres.doc, would be my analysis of the first 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.


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.


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.

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 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).