Graduate Courses 2023-2024

The following Graduate Courses are being offered in 2023-2024.

DRAMA 601: Methods and Tools of Research 

Instructor: Dr. Piet Defraeye 

Schedule: Friday 1:00-3:50 PM 

Location: Timms Seminar Room (TCA 203) 

Over the term, students will be introduced to various methods of research that serve critical writing and research creation. Research will comprise library-based research, archival as well as web-based research using databases. Students will be expected to develop a reasonable acquaintance with various bibliographic search instruments and have a discerning knowledge of databanks that are particularly useful for performance (theatre/dance). In order to develop critical writing skills, we will reflect on the function of theory in the critical approach of theatre, and how to use and apply theory in critical writing. Finally, students will be expected to develop their critical writing skills and be able to reference sources. They will be introduced to Zotero. They will be expected to put these skills into practice in a series of writing assignments. Drama 601 prepares students for the writing of their Thesis Proposal. (The course is taught in conjunction with DRAMA 401 – Honors.) 

DRAMA 621: Studies in Indigenous Theatre, Performance and Politics

Instructor: Dr. Selena Couture

Schedule: Wednesday 14:30 to 17:20

Location: Timms Seminar Room

This course engages with Indigenous theatre, performance and politics in the context of Indigenous resurgence exemplified by the 2019 inaugural season of Indigenous Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre, the ongoing Idle No More movement, responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and Canada’s June 2021 “Royal Assent” which began the process to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We will endeavour to acquire a working knowledge of the practices and perspectives of Indigenous theatre, performance, dramaturgy, and criticism written by Indigenous practitioners within a historical materialist framework. Beginning from the lands on which we live, work, practice, and study, we will aim to understand the significance of performance in Indigenous cultures and politics as well as how this is connected to the development of professional Indigenous theatre in Canada. We will also explore our own positionalities in order to build respectful relationships based in temporal and spatial solidarities which centre and support Indigenous resurgence expressed through theatre and performance. Course materials are a combination of critical theory, play texts, performance, attendance, recorded media as well as historical and political policy sources.

DR 608: Historical Approaches to Dramatic and Theatrical Critical Theory: Representation and Reception in the Classical Genres from Aristotle to Modernism

Instructor: Dr. Piet Defraeye

Schedule: Thursday. 14:00-16:50 pm

Location: Timms Seminar Room

This graduate course is designed to introduce students to some of the major theoretical writings on drama, theatre, and aesthetics in the West. We will read selections from some of the principal authors and read a running commentary on the historical development of these theories and the impact they have had and are still having on the practice of theatre (and vice versa).

Students in this course will be expected to be able to understand the major developments in the field of theory of drama, and make links with the more general discipline of theory of literature and philosophy of art. An important tool in this understanding is to lay the foundation for a vocabulary that will allow the students to do more in-depth studies of individual authors. Some of the questions and problems that will arise during the term: the question of mimesis, the nature of dramatic representation, the emergence of different genres, the nature of acting, the place of the audience, the emergence of the mechanized stage, and the emergence of modernism(s).

T DES 775 – History of Scenography

Instructor: Guido Tondino

Schedule: Mondays 12:00 – 14:50

Location: FAB 3-92 (aka the Chip room)

The course will focus on primary sources, drawings, sketches, maquettes as well as
photographs and video from actual productions.  Main themes and trends will be examined, with the purpose of identifying the most current developments and their roots in the History of Art and Political Ideology and their impact on the development of Scenography.  The course is intended to provide both theoreticians and practitioners with insights into the major developments in theatre design in the twentieth century. The course structure will include 4 lectures, 2 Roundtable discussions as well as seminar presentations. This course is open to upper-level students in Art History and History.

DRAMA 622 - Intermediality and Digital Theatre & Performance

Instructor: Dr. Donia Mounsef

Schedule: Tuesday 13:00 to 15:50 pm

Location: Timms Seminar Room

This course provides an overview of the ever-increasing integration of digital technology and media across a variety of performance genres and platforms. We will examine the theatre’s implicit and explicit relationship to media from aesthetic, structural, socio-cultural, and ideological perspectives. Relying on both media theory and performance theory, we will investigate the difference between “synthetic, transformational & ontological intermediality” (Schöter) by creating and challenging taxonomies of multimedia performance. Students will develop the necessary critical and research tools to understand media in performance, immersive theatre, site-specific and locative performance. You will be able to re-imagine artistic practice in light of mediation and mediatisation and reflect on your own work and the work of key practitioners.

DRAMA 686 – Devised Theatre and Performance for Directors

Instructor: David Kennedy

Schedule: Wednesday, 10 am - 1:50 pm

Location:  SAB 1-58 

This practice-based seminar focuses on theories and methods for the creation of devised theatre and performance. Through devising exercises and projects, students will develop advanced tools for generating and shaping material, while exploring how a group of artists goes from an initial idea or inspiration to a finished work. The seminar will cover various, disparate approaches to collective creation, with an emphasis on helping directors successfully engage with an ensemble throughout the process. Please note that this seminar is open to all graduate students in Drama, is FOUR hours per week, and involves practical work, readings, presentations, and discussions.  

T DES 575 – History of Dress and Décor I – Sumer to the Italian Renaissance 

Instructor: Robert Shannon

Schedule: Mondays and Fridays 10:00 – 11:50


Given the interdisciplinary scope of this course, graduate students from other departments are strongly encouraged to register.

This intensive course is a survey of style as displayed in dress, architecture, and decorative art from the Ancients to the Italian Renaissance. The course provides an overview of the historic cultures which have exerted prominent and sustained influence over the styles of design in the West. Using extensive primary source documentation, the course will examine the progression and elaboration of major styles, within the framework of the social and political forces which shaped them. The course is highly visual and will deepen the understanding of the pervasive power of style and image, while also equipping students with the appropriate terminology to critically discuss and analyze dress, architecture, and interior design.

Students will curate a Style Archive which will illustrate their visual literacy and comprehension of terminology. 

DRAMA 505 – Advanced Topics in Theatre Studies

Gender, Sex, and Desire in Performance

Instructor: Donia Mounsef

Schedule: Monday 12-3 pm, Fall 2023

Location: FAB 2-30 

This course examines the provocative relationship between gender, sexuality, desire, and the modern and contemporary stage. It looks at the way desire is produced and consumed from the early 20th century to the way it is instituted, circulated, and promoted as infinite accumulation in late capitalism. We will examine how performative practices resist and trouble dominant social norms of gender and sexuality. The course examines how femininity, masculinity, femaleness, maleness, queer and trans identities, identification, and expression are constructed and how they are unsettled in performance. The following questions will be addressed: what makes desire performative from a feminist, queer, and transgender perspective? What are the forces that script the sexualized body as an emblem of desire in performance? Is gender a performance practice? What effects do censorship and obscenity laws have on writing and performing sexuality?