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THTRFLM 3PC3 Community Outreach

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Catherine Graham


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 403

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27665

Office Hours: Wednesdays 2:00-3:00

Course Objectives:

This course will lead students through the process of working with community organizations to create dramatic performances based on grassroots perceptions and concerns. Working in collaboration with the Student Success Centre, students will gather stories and images from fellow McMaster students.  The material will then be used as a basis for proposing scenes for the 2016 version of IRIS, the Welcome Week play that is seen by most incoming first year students.

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • use participatory creative research techniques to elicit stories and images from the lifeworlds of a particular social group
  • analyze and record workshop-generated material in a form that makes it accessible to other members of a creative team working towards performance
  • propose short scenes that synthesize concerns, conditions, and values expressed in workshops in  a way that elicits further discussion of the concerns of the group they are working with
  • reflect meaningfully on the challenges and rewards of collaborating within artistic groups and with community partners as part of a creative research process

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

All readings and instruction materials are available on the course Avenue site.

All students in THTR&FLM 3PC3 must get a keycard for the Performance Lab, where they will be responsible for organizing lab sessions and workshops with community participants. Cards can be obtained from the School of the Arts office, TSH 414, upon payment of a deposit of $20, which will be reimbursed when the keycard is returned at the end of term (or later if the student uses it for other courses).

Method of Assessment:

Weekly Lab Reports: Students will post a 200-300 word report on their lab activity each week, responding to a question that is posted on the Lab Reports Discussion Board on Avenue. Students will not be able to see other students’ reports until they have posted their own.  N.B.  Attendance is compulsory at all classes and labs and students who miss classes or labs will not be able to write effective reports.

Due every Friday, starting September 25.  Value: 20% (10*2%)

Story Circle Report and Analysis: Following the instructions on Avenue, student will submit, on the Avenue Dropbox, a description and analysis of 3 stories gathered in Story Circle Workshops with community members. The report will include a summary of the story, a summary of reactions to it, and an identification of key images in the stories.  Analysis will consider the context and values embedded in both the stories and the listeners’ reactions.

Due October 18.  Value: 20%

Image Theatre Report and Analysis: Following the instructions on Avenue, student will submit, on the Avenue Dropbox,  a description and analysis of the most striking narratives generated in Image Theatre Workshops with community members.  The report will describe the evolution of the images in the workshops, the characters created, and the core points of discussion in response to the images.  Analysis will consider the transitions that structured the narratives defined by the images and participants reactions to them.

Due: November 9.  Value: 20%

Performance Proposal:  Students will create a 3-4 minute scene for presentation to community partners.  The scene should demonstrate how the issues raised in workshops might be synthesized theatrically in a way that could spark community discussion.  Students will not be graded on acting ability or technical skill, but on the kind of performance they propose to create.  Further instructions will be available in class and on Avenue.

Due: Performed on November 30.  Value: 10%

Performance Reflection:  A 500 word paper, submitted on the Avenue Dropbox, indicating what the student thinks the strengths and challenges of their group’s performance proposal are, after having presented to the class and community partners and how they think it might integrate with other proposed scenes.

Due:  December 3.  Value: 10%

Take-Home Exam:  The take-home exam will be distributed on Avenue during the exam period.  Students will have 48 hours to complete it and submit through the Dropbox on Avenue.  The exam will cover all the work done during the term, including readings, and will give students an opportunity to demonstrate how they might use the skills learned in the class in another setting.

Value: 20%

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:

The course will be divided into three units: Story Circles, Image Theatre, and Performance Proposals.  Each unit will involve analytic reading, learning facilitation techniques, plus individual and group reflection and analysis. For further information, please see the Content page on the class Avenue site.

Other Course Information:

Material generated in this class will be shared with the artistic team that creates IRIS and will serve as inspiration and base material for next year's show.  All students in the class will be credited in the IRIS program as "creative researchers."  If, for any reason, you do not want your name to appear in the program, please inform Dr. Graham as soon as possible.