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2016-17 Courses

We encourage all incoming students (and returning students who are still doing course-work) to set up a meeting with our Associate Graduate Director, to consult on program requirements and course options. If you would like to set up a time, please email: Antje Budde at gc.graddrama@utoronto.ca or schedule an appointment 

Fall 2016/Spring 2017 Course Schedule (scroll down for course descriptions)

2016/17 Cross Listed Courses-Graduate

Reading and Research Courses

Our departmental policy regarding reading or research courses is the following:

1. Students can take up to one Y or two H reading/research courses during their studies in our program, including previous MA reading/ research courses.

2. Generally, students who take two H reading/research courses should choose different topics for those and change instructors with a new H course. Exceptions can be made on a case to case basis pending approval of the department’s director or associate director. However, this will not happen on a regular basis.

In order to request a reading/research course you need to do the following:

1. Write a proposal for such a course

2. Find an instructor who is willing to take you on as a student for such a course on the basis of your proposal

3. Submit your proposal (after revisions by your instructor) along with the filled out form “Request reading/research course” and a tentative reading list. Make sure, that you and the instructor agreed on the number, deadlines and grade value of the course assignments. Make sure that you provide information about the frequency of meetings with your instructor (i.e. bi-weekly 2 hrs, weekly 1 hour, monthly four hrs)

4. Sign the form, get the signatures of your instructor and finally the signature of the associate director (after approval you can be enrolled by our graduate administrator). Always check the SGS deadlines for course enrolment.

Graduate Courses 2016-2017

Course Descriptions


DRA1001HS Concepts and Issues in Theatre History and Historiography
Prof. N. Copeland
Winter/Spring, Tuesdays 1-4

“Theater historiography means the study of the foundational assumptions, principles, and methodologies that determine how theater history is written. To practice theater historiography means to look beyond the record of “what happened” to analyze how and why such records are constructed.” Theater Historiography: Critical Interventions, ed. Henry Bial and Scott Magelssen (Ann Arbor: U Michigan P, 2010)

This course will explore theatre history and historiography through recent scholarship on the topic. A variety of methodologies will be considered, among them, archival research, oral history, microhistory, and performance as research. For the major assignment, students will undertake historical research related to projects of their choice. Ph.D students should plan to connect their research for this course to their dissertation topic.

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DRA1011HF Traditions of Performance Theory (Req’d PhD 1)
Prof. Nancy Copeland
Fall, Thursdays 2-5

A survey of theories of drama, theatre, and performance in the European tradition from the Greeks (Aristotle and Plato) to the 19th Century. This course is required for all incoming PhD candidates.

DRA1012HS Twentieth Century Theatre and Performance (Req’d PhD 1)
Prof. Tamara Trojanowska
Winter/Spring, Wednesdays 2-5

This course will familiarize students with major theoretical and practical developments in European and North American theatre in the twentieth century, and with selected current trends in performance theory and practice. Theorist-practitioners to be studied include Stanislavski, Brecht, Artaud, Meyerhold, and Grotowski. Topics include the avant-garde; gender and queer theory and performance; post-colonial and intercultural theatre; post-dramatic theatre; intermedial performance; and site-specific performance. Readings, and some other course materials, will be available on-line through the UTL catalogue or Blackboard.

Evaluation:  leading class discussion; weekly responses; research paper. This course is required for all incoming Ph.D students
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DRA2011HS Theatrical Performance and Reception
Prof. Jacob Gallagher-Ross
Winter/Spring, Tuesdays 4-6

This seminar is at once an immersive survey of the current landscape of Toronto performance and an intensive workshop in critical writing. We’ll attend at least 6-8 productions and events during the semester; the schedule will be set at our first meeting. (Please bring your suggestions! We’ll tailor the schedule to students’ research interests.) We may also supplement our agenda with video screenings. Our lens will be expansive: we’ll endeavour to parse the broad spectrum of live art in Toronto, from Mirvish mega-musicals to experimental theatre, and contemporary dance to museum installations. We’ll sample the international offerings at the World Stage festival, and delve deeply into the local scene.

The goal of the course will be to sharpen students’ ability to analyze performance events: to situate careful, close readings in illuminating theoretical, aesthetic, and historical contexts, and to do so in lively (and publishable) prose.

Students will refine their writing practice by working in a variety of scholarly and popular genres reflecting today’s variegated critical landscape: the blog post, the twitter take, the capsule review, the artist interview, the journal review, the long-form essay. Readings in theory and criticism will frame performances and provide models for written work. Throughout, we’ll emphasize writing and critical inquiry as modes of engagement with a performance scene and an artistic moment—dramas of ideas performed in public.

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DRA3901HS Dramaturgy in Indigenous Performance
Prof. Jill Carter
Winter/Spring, Mondays 6-9

This survey course explores the complex, varied and, sometimes, troubled interface between place and contemporary Indigenous performance in North America. Tribal languages, ceremonies, and lifeways have traditionally been understood to emerge from a particular landscape—to, indeed, be directed by that landscape—and to constitute an embodied “performance” of relationship between a community and the lands that sustain it.  Environmental degradation, urbanization, mass relocation, and the necessary transindigeneity that characterizes the contemporary practices of devising, producing, designing and performing have complicated these relationships, requiring Indigenous artists to push back against the infrastructures that contain and constrain them that they may, thereby, “effectively dismantle the myth of terra nullius by revealing the land as an object of discursive and territorial contention, as well as an ‘accumulative text’ that records in multiple inscriptions the spatial forms and fantasies of both settler and indigenous cultures” (Gilbert & Tomkins, Post Colonial Drama, 156).

The course will offer the opportunity to interrogate and experientially engage with a broad range of Indigenous and non-Indigenous theories of place, to explore the subtle relational shifts between Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories through the “window” of contemporary performance and new media projects, and to interact with some of the artists who embody these shifts within their creations. Students will be required throughout the term to lead a seminar and to complete a research project of their own design. Practice-based research models will be encouraged.

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DRA3902HF Theatre of the Real
Prof. Jenn Stephenson
Fall, Fridays 10-1

As David Shields notes in his manifesto Reality Hunger, “every artistic movement from the beginning of time is an attempt to figure out a way to smuggle more of what the artist thinks is reality into the work of art” (3). It is the job of the artist to reflect and to comment on the real world and to use real-world materials to make that reflection as accurate as possible. In the 21st century, a prevailing trend in this quest to represent reality is the attempted inclusion of unmediated real-world elements in the work, where these elements perform as themselves. We can see this notion at work in autobiographical self-performance, in the staging of non-actors, in site-specific performance, in immersive performance. This course will examine the theoretical underpinnings of our current fascination with authenticity and the real, and apply these critical models to a variety of contemporary reality-based Canadian performances.

DRA3903HS Modern Drama’s Environments
Prof. Alan Ackerman
Winter/Spring Wednesdays 10-1

This seminar will situate Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov in the context of environmental humanities, with a coda devoted to Beckett’s post-apocalyptic Endgame.  Our premise is that dramatic texts attend to physical space and the biology of actors.  Focusing on late-nineteenth & early-twentieth century drama, we will investigate how this work engages with the material world and is reshaped by theory, imagination, and techne, reconnecting modern drama with the living earth.  In recent decades, theatre practitioners have expanded settings and physical structures of performance in “environmental” theatre, but theatre has always been environmental.  Modern dramatists, attuned to radical changes in their “natural” environments, advocated the renewal of the theatrical environment as integral to renewing the drama.

DRA3904HF History of Modern Canadian Theatre Design and Production at the Drama Centre
Prof. Paul J. Stoesser
Fall, Tuesdays 12:30-2:30

This course examines the fifty year history of theatre design and production at the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama in view of its founding policy of informing historical, theoretical, and dramaturgical pedagogy with practice which has imbued its scholarship with excellence and established it the pre-eminent graduate program in the country.  Now as the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies this policy remains fundamental to these principal features of our evolving discipline.  Our primary course objective which draws on the Centre’s rich archive of design documents and imagery including production artifacts will also admit an investigation of innovative directions, developments, and initiatives in future student productions.

This illustrated lecture course will include site visits to our production facilities – the Robert Gill Theatre, Luella Massey Studio Theatre, and Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse as well as Hart House Theatre – and will involve the detailed examination of each physical plant and its related production systems.  It will also comprise student presentations of topics ranging from archival research of our rich production record to dramaturgical analysis of our prompt books spanning five decades.  Since no single comprehensive writing on this topic exists, assigned contextual reading material will consist of background sources in the field of design theory, production techniques, and to a limited extent, architectural planning. A final paper on a mutually agreed subject from the course is required. Student materials developed in this course will likely be included in a variety of commemorative displays and events curated for the Centre’s Fiftieth Anniversary.

DRA3905HS Tears and Laughter: Theories and Practices in Asian Performance
Prof. Xing Fan
Winter/Spring, Thursdays 10-1

What does “Asian performance” embrace, on page and on stage? How do practitioners in Asian cultures define and accomplish aesthetic pursuits? When do “traditions” begin and end in their cultures? And, how do Asian classical performances relate to contemporary experiments in a global age? In Asia, theatre, dance, and music are real-life events through which participants celebrate the happiness, joy, coincidence, misunderstanding, crisis, and/or pain, in both the secular and the sacred worlds. Asian performance contributes to breathtaking and colourful practices, and unique and inspiring aesthetics. This course invites students to explore foundational theories in Asian performance, to integrate hands-on experience in their aesthetic analysis, and to conduct further research based their own academic interest.

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DRA3906HF Adaptation
Prof. Alan Ackerman
Fall, Wednesdays 10-1 in the Luella Massey Studio Theatre, 4 Glen Morris Street

Adaptation, a term of art and biology, raises questions about origins, evolution, and what brings art to life. Like the word performance, adaptation refers to a product and a process. It prompts artists to investigate relations between media, modes, and environments. Stories adapted from folklore have been translated from oral tales to written texts to ballets to movies to music, and so on. What may be gained and lost in the process? Do adaptations acknowledge what is lost? In some sense, all works of art are adaptations; none are totally original. In this seminar we start with Aristotle’s Poetics and Sophocles’ adaptation of the Oedipus legend, before turning to treatments of the Pygmalion myth by Ovid, Shaw, Lerner & Loewe, and others. Next, we examine adaptations of news and historical documents in Living Newspapers, Anna Deavere Smith’s Fires in the Mirror, and Annabel Soutar’s Seeds. Finally, we focus on adapting fiction, using Herman Melville’s story “Bartleby, the Scrivener” as a case study. We will study Linda Hutcheon’s Theory of Adaptation and aspects of artistic form, and create our own adaptations in the theatre.
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DRA3907HF  Performing Garbage: High and Low 
Prof. Antje Budde
Fall, Mondays 2-5

Body and Su(o)bject Ecologies in Politically Engaged Performance Practices/Philosophies.

Seinfeld famously stated in 2014, while performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, that “All things on earth only exist in different stages of becoming garbage. Your home is a garbage processing center.” The idea of “becoming” is central in/on stages of post-modern critical discourses. People steeped in binaries of low (pop) and high culture might consider Seinfeld’s art form as garbage as well. We will not. We will seriously and playfully consider our home, our university and our streets as a garbage-processing centre in motion.

In this course we will dive into critical theory/history, political economy and performing practices (physical, digital) surrounding everyday life, artificial, natural and abject/happy objects in an ecologically sustainable/unsustainable dramaturgy of bodies and ideas. We will engage in process-based, open-ended learning and critical making. The term digital dramaturgy is understood as a creative, integrative queer practice of conceptual and critical thinking. Students are expected to dive hands-on into the complex relationships between soft/hardware, humans, and material energy with intellectual sophistication and curiosity. Found objects will be lost, animated, re-animated, forgotten and re-cycled. Things will be performed. The matter of the heart is that it is an electrically firing muscle. This is a course of the Digital Dramaturgy Lab.


DRA3908HS Race and Performance
Prof. T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko
Winter/Spring Thursdays, 2-4

In response to the public’s reactions to her monumental sculpture A Subtlety, artist Kara Walker commented, “That is part of an ongoing debate about black creativity, through the 20th and now the 21st century. It’s, ‘Who is looking?’ […] How do people look? How are people supposed to look? Are white audiences looking at it in the right way? And are black audiences looking to see this piece?” This course will examine the ways in which we look at, talk about, and critically engage with contemporary cultural workers of colour who use performance as an intersubjective mode of expression, activism, and provocation, and performance that exceeds representational tactics of aesthetic endeavour to interact performatively with the critical discourse and mainstream media that exist in tandem to it. While primarily addressing performance within the Americas, this course will take a global perspective on the politics of race and performance to consider ethnic studies scholars including Fred Moten, Tricia Rose, Ta-nehisi Coates, Michelle M. Wright, Coco Fusco, Diana Taylor, Isabel Molina-Guzmán, José Esteban Muñoz, Michael Greyeyes, Jill Carter, and Mahmoud Karimi-Hakak, as well as work by artists whose modes of performance and media range from the visual and performing arts to digital and pop culture: from Walker, Carmelita Tropicana, Anna Deveare Smith, Kent Monkman, Rabih Mroué, and Shahzia Sikander to Jay Z, Beyoncé, Evelyn from the Internets, Zhang Huan, and a Tribe Called Red.

DRA4090Y/DRA4091HF/DRA4092HS Directed Reading/Directed Theatre Research
Prof. TBD
Year/Fall/Spring, N/A

Approval for a Directed Reading course normally will be given to doctoral candidates who wish to study a subject related to their intended area of thesis research but for which there exists no graduate seminar course. This can be either a half- or full-year course. The amount of work involved, and the number of meetings with the instructor, should be equivalent to that of a half- or full-year seminar course. Before a student can be registered in such a course, he/she must find an instructor willing to direct it, and both must agree on the subject matter and methodology (refer to the list of faculty and their specializations and consult the Graduate Co-ordinator if necessary). No more than one full Directed Reading course (i.e. one “Y” or two “H”s) may be included in a student’s degree program. A brief description of the course, signed by the student and instructor, must be submitted to the Graduate Co-ordinator at the time of registration.

Directed Theatre Research course may involve mounting (e.g. directing, designing, or dramaturging, as appropriate) a special production in which the stage is regarded as a means of research in a specific aspect of the theory and/or practice of theatre; or else may involve a field placement at a venue or with a professional company, as arranged by the Centre. Directed Theatre Research projects require the approval of the Director of the Centre at the beginning of term. The nature, purpose and anticipated final documentation of the research to be carried out must be described in a detailed submission to the Director before approval for such projects or placements can be considered.
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DRA5000Y1 MA Project (Req’d MA)
Prof. T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko and VK Preston
Fall/Winter/Spring, Tuesdays 10-12

This course is the focal point of the Centre’s mandate to pursue a thorough integration of practice and theory in its degree programs. The course provides a “laboratory” experience in which scholarly, practical, and training opportunities intersect and interact. The course is structured around two main areas of focus that foreground and epitomize such efforts towards integration: dramaturgy and practice-based research. Students will be introduced to key elements – historical, theoretical, methodological, and practical – related to both topics through an integrated combination of readings, lecture/discussions, guest presentations, and practical assignments. The course is designed to foster and facilitate student collaboration and engagement with a broad range of performance generation within and beyond the university. A variety of student activities throughout the term will progress towards the primary course project: the design, execution, documentation and exhibition of a group-created Practice-Based Research project.
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DRA5001HF Research Methods (Req’d PhD)
Prof. Xing Fan
Fall, Wednesdays 2-5

This course (along with DRA5000HF for MA students) is the focal point of the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies’s mandate to pursue a thorough integration of practice and theory in its degree programs. It is an opportunity for PhD candidates to thoroughly explore their proposed research projects as well as a range of professional skills.  A core requirement provides a dramaturgical “laboratory” experience in which scholarly, practical, and training opportunities intersect and interact in an end-of-year presentation. Flexibility in the execution of the course will be accommodated, based on individual training, experience and need. Involvement in workshops, colloquia, and the Centre’s season of performances will be a part of the discussion in regular meetings. Completion may be over two years.

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DRA5002HS Dissertation Proposal (Req’d PhD 2)
Prof. Antje Budde
Winter/Spring, Mondays 2-4


Aesthetics and Practice of Theatre Lighting – Seminar / No Credit
Dr. Paul J. Stoesser

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