Theatre

Programs

Devised Theatre

Nested within the Theatre Studies area is a series of classes called Devised Theatre (DT), which offers students an intensive curriculum in devising and performing original theatre pieces. This interdisciplinary sequence is overseen and taught by faculty from all three areas of the department (Acting, Production, and Theatre Studies). The goals of the DT series are:

  • to expose students to a variety of methods for devising theatre in group contexts;
  • to deepen students’ historical and interdisciplinary understanding of devised theatre; and
  • to train students to work in several areas of theatrical production.

The DT sequence is structured through a graduated system of learning, in which students devise increasingly more complex projects each year, culminating in public presentation(s) of their work. The studio courses in Devised Theatre explore the successive phases of creating, rehearsing, and presenting assigned projects from a variety of starting points. Collaborative ability, communication skills, imagination, and risk-taking are the foundations for these rigorous courses. Effective time management is essential as a significant amount of rehearsal is required outside of scheduled classes.

It is strongly recommended that DT students seek DT advising before each year of study to ensure accurate and appropriate degree management for successful completion of the 120-credit Specialized Honours BA degree (Theatre Studies).

This sequence also requires immersion in the history and theory of devising, and this grounding is provided through readings and assignments on collaborative playmaking and contemporary experimental theatre. Students in the DT sequence are strongly advised to take specified courses in theatre production and design, as well as theatre history and theory courses in order to gain the interdisciplinary knowledge that is essential for devised theatre makers. FFA courses (selected from Dance, Design, Film, Music, and Visual Arts) and non-FFA courses are required for degree completion and will enable students to develop breadth and interdisciplinary skills.

Accessible and recommended to students taking Devised Theatre are a wide range of courses, including Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy, Scene Study for Theatre Studies, History of Ensemble Theatre, Canadian Theatre, and Aspects of Directing. Production/Design courses are available to Devised Theatre students as well. Many DT students apply to assistant direct both unmounted and mounted Department productions for Performance Practicum.

The DT series of courses is only available to Theatre majors in the 120 credit BA Specialized Honours. They are not available to students in the Acting Conservatory or Production/Design.

Acceptance into THEA 2050 3.0 Introduction to Devised Theatre does not guarantee entrance into further upper-level Devised Theatre classes. Admission into each subsequent Devised Theatre course is on the basis of a ‘B’ standing in the pre-requisite class.

Criteria for Entry into Devised Theatre:

  1. Prerequisites: THEA 1010, THEA 1100, and THEA 1200
  2. Grade minimum: Offers of placement to Devised Theatre are conditional, pending final grades at the end of the winter term, based on a satisfactory 5.0 (C+) overall grade point average.  Any student who fails any of THEA 1010 3.0 Introduction to Acting I, THEA 1100 3.0 Introduction to Stagecraft, or THEA 1200 6.0 Origins of Theatre: Greeks to the Renaissance will not be allowed to audition.
  3. A correctly formatted, one-page letter of intent detailing your interest in Devised Theatre (using good grammar and correct spelling), accompanied by an up-to-date theatre résumé addressed to the Devised Theatre Committee, must be submitted.  Students who do not submit this letter of intent and résumé by the due date will not be further considered for DT.
  4. Audition.  There will be two parts to the audition: the first will explore movement and improvisation; the second will be the formal presentations of the pieces you have prepared.  For this presentation you are asked to create an expression of your life, as told by another person. This can be a monologue that you write and perform, or a design that you present.  Ensure that your presentation has a theatrical form, and is not just narration.  There is a firm time limit of 3 minutes.  All presentations will be timed and you will be cut off, if you should exceed the time limit.

Please note that there are no call-backs for the DT auditions. 

Students must accept or decline offers of placement by the dates posted after the auditions or the offer will be made to the next person on the waiting list. Once the online registration process is open in early summer, students have two weeks to register, or the offer will be made to the next person on the waiting list.

Second Year:

THEA 2050 3.0 Introduction to Devised Theatre (full-year course) exposes students to different types of devised and experimental theatre. Through classroom exercises and the creation, rehearsal and presentation of devised performance projects, the participants will explore the essential questions and investigative tools of the theatre practitioner.   The class will be split into two lab groups in order to ensure intensive feedback and discussion.

Other required courses in second year:

  • THEA 2200 6.0 Theatrical Worlds in Transition
  • THEA 2210 3.0 Ideas of Theatre

Recommended courses in second year:

  • THEA 2410 6.0 History of Visual Sources
  • THEA 2141 3.0 Introduction to Design for Theatre
  • It is strongly recommended that students in Devised Theatre take courses that fulfill their in-out requirements in second year.  In particular, students should consider taking non-theatre courses that will enhance their understanding of performance creation (see course listings in other Fine Arts departments).

Preparation for third year:

At end of second year, each student will meet with an advisor to discuss specific areas of interest in devising theatre (design, directing, acting, writing, etc.). This will help students to choose upper-level courses that may be of interest to them and help to shape the production companies in fourth year that will draw upon specific areas of expertise. Framed by the requirements of the Specialized Honours BA degree, students are free to pursue a particular focus or continue to learn about all areas of theatre.

Students may apply to assistant direct an unmounted department production in third year: THEA 3070 3.0 Performance Practicum I for the fall term or THEA 3071 3.0 Performance Practicum II for the winter term. Applications will be made available to prospective third year students through the Program Assistant in CFT 322 at the end of the winter term.

Third Year:

THEA 3050 3.0 Devised Theatre Practice is based on a set curriculum of hard skills. Third year focuses on learning to make larger pieces. Students work towards one unmounted performance per term. Normally these will be small group pieces with individuals taking on different roles rather than a single play that involves all students in the class.

Note: Every other year, students in THEA 3050 3.0 may be asked to participate in the MA/PhD course, THST 5010 3.0 Theatre Laboratory (subject to course being offered). In this class, graduate student directors will create research-based artworks. The undergraduate students will join a research team and explore a set of research questions through performance.  This work will replace one of the two unmounted performances.

Other required courses in third year:

  • THEA 3200 3.0 Modern Theatre and Society
  • An additional 3.0 credits in Theatre in available 3000 and 4000 level courses must be taken in either third year or fourth year

All students must complete either THEA 3150 3.0 Theatre Management or THEA 4150 3.0 Professional Aspects of Theatre in order to graduate. THEA 3150 3.0 Theatre Management is highly recommended for Devised Theatre students, especially in their third year of study.

Recommended courses in third and fourth year:  It is strongly recommended that students in Devised Theatre take seminars in theatre history, dramatic literature, and theory.  Please note that not all of these courses are offered every year.  For more information on actual course offerings, please consult the online course timetable.

  • THEA 3230 3.0 History of Ensemble Theatre
  • THEA 4230 3.0 Canadian Theatre
  • Studio courses: THEA 2060 3.0 Voice and Speech, THEA 2064 3.0 Acting Shakespeare, THEA 2600 6.0 Putting on the Play; THEA 3290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy I,  THEA 3143 3.0 Set and Costume Design I, THEA 3144 3.0 Set and Costume Design II, THEA 3130 6.0 Lighting Design, THEA 4290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy II; THEA 4460 6.0 Improvisation and Playmaking; THEA 4485 3.0 Aspects of Directing 
  • Students are also encouraged to take courses related to devised and experimental performance in other Fine Arts departments

Preparation for fourth year:

Applications for THEA 4485 3.0 Aspects of Directing will be made available to prospective fourth year students through the Program Assistant in CFT 322 at the end of the winter term. Any student enrolled in THEA 4485 3.0 Aspects of Directing in fourth year may also choose to assistant direct a mounted department production by registering in the appropriate Performance Practicum (THEA 4070 3.0 in the fall term or THEA 4071 3.0 in the winter term). The course director for THEA 4485 3.0 will assign the appropriate co-requisite: THEA 4070 3.0 Performance Practicum III in the fall term or THEA 4071 3.0 Performance Practicum IV in the winter term. 

Fourth year:

  • THEA 4050 6.0 Devised Theatre Workshop - in fourth year, students will form production companies and work on performance projects that are work-shopped in the fall term and produced at the end of the year. In accordance with the self-reliant nature of this series of classes, students will participate fully in all aspects of the collaborative devising of theatre in these presentations, from conception to execution.

Other required courses in fourth year:

  • An additional 3.0 credits in Theatre Studies in available 3000 and 4000 level courses must be taken in either third year or fourth year.

Recommended courses in third and fourth year: 

It is strongly recommended that students in Devised Theatre take seminars in theatre history, dramatic literature, and theory.  Please note that not all of these courses are offered every year.  For more information on actual course offerings, please consult the online course timetable.

  • THEA 3230 3.0 History of Ensemble Theatre
  • THEA 4230 3.0 Canadian Theatre
  • Studio courses: THEA 2022A 3.0 Scene Study for Theatre Studies, THEA 2060 3.0 Voice and Speech, THEA 2064 3.0 Acting Shakespeare, THEA 2090 3.0 Physical Aspects of Theatre, THEA 2600 6.0 Putting on the Play; THEA 3290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy I,  THEA 3143 3.0 Set and Costume Design I, THEA 3144 3.0 Set and Costume Design II, THEA 3130 6.0 Lighting Design, THEA 4290 6.0 Playwriting and New Play Dramaturgy II; THEA 4460 6.0 Improvisation and Playmaking; THEA 4485 3.0 Aspects of Directing
  • Students are also encouraged to take courses related to devised and experimental performance in other Fine Arts departments

Any student who leaves the Devised Theatre series of courses, for whatever reason, even if in good academic standing, is not guaranteed a spot in subsequent terms and will be expected to re-audition to re-enter.

 

It is recommended that students in Devised Theatre track their progress through their program with a degree check list

Bachelor of Arts —Honours (120 credits)
Bachelor of Arts (90 credits)