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THTRFLM 3OP6A Performance Space

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Multiterm

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Patrick Brennan


Office: L.R. Wilson Hall 2015

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 20379

Office Hours: Tuesday10:30 to 12:30 and Sunday 10:00 until 20:00 All by appointment in person or by Skype or phone.

Course Objectives:

Course Description
Students will explore the contribution of design, production and stage
management to theatrical production through studio exercises and work on
department productions.

Learning Outcomes
1. An understanding of management processes and roles in the performing arts.
2. An understanding of theatrical space, light and acoustics.
3. Develop skills in critical analysis and visual communication.
4. Develop skills in making a reflective record of participation.
5. Develop self and group motivation, negotiation and collaboration in relation
to specified tasks and deadlines.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Recommended Texts (but not required) Each student will identify resources that are relevant for their production focus under the suggestion of the tutor. Generally, the student will not be burdened by this as we will make use of existing digital resources. 

  • Character Costume Figure Drawing: Step-by-Step Drawing Methods for Theatre
  • Costume Designers by Tan Huaixiang
  • Devising Theatre: A Practical and Theoretical Handbook by A. Oddey
  • Sound and Music for the Theatre, Third Edition: The Art & Technique of Design
  • Deena Kaye and James LeBrecht, Focal Press
  • Stage Lighting Design: The Art, the Craft, the Life by Richard Pilbrow
  • Stage Management by L. Stern and A. O’Grady
  • What is Scenography by PAMELA HOWARD

Method of Assessment:

Methods of Instruction
1.  A team of students will be assigned to work closely with students in TH&FLM 4AO6 supporting the production work in the capacity of stage managers, production managers, and assistant designers. In first term, students will assist and support the development of the production through workshops, design presentations and scene presentations with student from 4AO6. In the second term, students will present their short performance piece to the public. Rehearsals for this production will begin in first term.
2.  Research, interpret and produce - RIP analysis - Through discussion
and short lectures we will look at the practice of developing analytic
approaches to the emerging productions. We explore the different needs
within each design and managerial department as well as the common
overlap in production.

3.  Workshops focused on technical skills

4.  Tutorial sessions supporting the production and rehearsal of the assigned
Theatre an Society: Performance Project.

5.  Five packets use to share reflection on process and research during each term. Timing will depend on the completion of particular stages. Each packet will receive a reply packet from the instructor suggesting further research or new direction which will be considered and reported on in future packets.


First term

Personal Production Plan 5% September 22nd, 2015

Health and Safety quiz Pass/Fail online on or before November 15th, 2015

Lab test - lighting, sound and video 2% October 5th, 2015

Packet One - Report on workshopping, design notes and research, and production plan for scene experiment. 10% October 19th, 2015

Packet Two including reflection on scene presentation design notes and draft models or drawings 18% November 22rd, 2015

Second Term

First draft Performance January 30th and 31st 5%

Final Production 25% Mid March Date pending group assignment

Final personal production report and reflection of years work 5% Due one week after you production week.

Collaboration and three progressive  “Packet” reports 30%  packet due dates P3 Jan 24th, P4 Feb 7th P5 Feb 29th, 2016

In general, assessment will focus on three main aspects of your participation in this course:

1. Commitment - Commitment shown in your engagement with the course through its duration and in the fulfillment of practical assignments: how regularly do you attend? Do you undertake required preparatory work for classes? Do you contribute to discussion in a relevant way? Do you seek clarification of areas you do not understand? Do you collaborate constructively with fellow members of the class in carrying out practical projects?

2. Learning objectives - Does your participation show that you have understood the work of the course and acquired an appropriate competence in the skills addressed by the course? Are you able to implement them in practice? Are you creative in your application of them? 

3. Written account - A response to, the work you undertake: does this show insight into the process in which you have been engaged and the way it relates to the practices investigated in the course? Does it provide evidence of a capacity to engage critically with the material of the course and to be self-critical in your assessment of your own achievements in practice? Does it show signs of appropriate application of learning from elsewhere in your curriculum? 

Your work and participation will be graded to the extent that it demonstrates:

A + 90-100: Excellent

  • Regular and highly engaged attendance and excellent collaboration with other members of the class
  • Thorough understanding of the skills addressed by the course and well developed competence in applying them
  • Completion of the required project to a high degree of skill and creativity
  • An ability to analyze the practice in question in a critical manner and to assess one's own practice in a way which identifies well what has been achieved and the source of any shortcomings in the work.

A, A-, (80- 89): Very Good

  • Regular engaged attendance and constructive collaboration with other members of the class
  • A very good understanding of the skills addressed by the course and a developed competence in applying them
  • A reasonably skillful and creative completion of required project work 
  • An ability to analyze the practice in question in a critical manner and to assess one's own practice competently

B+, B, B-,(70-79) : Good

  • Regular attendance and satisfactory capacity to collaborate with other members of the class, but irregular level of engagement and preparation
  • Some understanding of the skills addressed by the course, and a degree of competence in applying them
  • Satisfactory project work but some deficiencies in skill and inventiveness
  • Critical analysis which is satisfactory but limited, and an insufficiently rigorous self-assessment

C+, C, C- (60-69): Satisfactory

  • Regular attendance, but irregular level of engagement and preparation and/or problems in working with others
  • A basic understanding of the skills addressed by the course and competence in applying them, but few signs of you absorbing them at any deeper level
  • A solid effort made to fulfill the aims of the project, but the work fails to address these fully or is executed in a shoddy manner and shows few signs of imaginative engagement with it
  • Critical analysis and self-assessment which are fairly shallow or carried out in a way which suggests a low level of commitment to the work of the course

D+, D, D- (50-59): Weak

  • Erratic attendance and levels of engagement and preparation and/or you make little active contribution to group work
  • An adequate understanding of the skills addressed by the course and competence in applying them, but little evidence of you absorbing them at any deeper level
  • Some effort made to fulfill the aims of the project, but the work is executed in a shoddy manner and shows few signs of imaginative engagement with it
  • Critical analysis and self-assessment which are shallow and carried out in a slipshod way which confirms a lack of genuine commitment to the work of the course

F 0-49: Very Poor

  • Irregular attendance and lack of engagement with the work or the group leading to few signs that you have acquired an understanding of the skills addressed by the course, let alone competence in applying them; this is coupled with an incapacity or unwillingness to analyze the deficiencies in your work in a serious, self-critical fashion.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

1. Attendance is mandatory for all classes and labs. Please arrive promptly to all classes, labs and related meetings.
2. Late assignments will loose 5% a day for a maximum of 20 days.
Students who consistently ignore instruction and policy regarding safe practice in the theatre, performance LAB and workshops risks expulsion from this 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:

Organizing Topics
•Managing within a devised process
•Forms and format for Stage and Production Management
•Financial Management
•Scheduling for the Performing Arts
•Event Management
•Human Relations within an Artistic Context
•Heath and Safety and the role of the supervisor
•Professional pathways and standards

Technical Topics
•Lighting technology and Control systems
•Sound technology and Control systems
•Video technology and Control systems
•Scenic design practice
•Lighting design practice
•Sound design practice
•Projection design practice
•Costume design practice
•Forms and format for scenographic practice

Other Course Information:

See further information regarding schedule and project placement on Avenue. We will communicate through Avenue email and general announcements will be made in the new section.