Devised Theatre

Nested within the Performance Creation & Research (PCR) area in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design 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 Performance Creation and Research (PCR).

The goals of the Devised Theatre series are:

  • to deepen students’ historical and interdisciplinary understanding of devised theatre
  • to expose students to a variety of methods for devising theatre in group contexts
  • to train students to work in multiple areas of theatrical production
  • to build original works that are presented in the Devised Theatre Festival

The DT sequence begins with an immersion in the history and theory of devising. This grounding is provided through readings and assignments on collaborative playmaking and contemporary experimental theatre. Third year courses in Devised Theatre explore methodologies 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. The final year in the DT sequence results in fully mounted original works presented in the Devised Theatre Festival.

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, Contemporary Canadian Theatre and Aspects of Directing. With the exception of Production Practicum, all Theatre production/design courses are available to Devised Theatre students as well. Many DT students apply to assistant-direct both unmounted and mounted Department of Theatre productions for Performance Practicum.

Courses selected from other AMPD programs (Cinema & Media Arts, Computational Arts, Dance, Design, Music, Visual Arts/Art History ) and non-AMPD courses are required for degree completion and will enable students to develop breadth and interdisciplinary skills.

The DT series of courses is available to Theatre majors in the 120 credit BA Specialized Honours Theatre Studies only. They are not available to students in the Acting Conservatory or Production/Design. It is strongly recommended that students in Devised Theatre seek academic advising before each year of study to ensure accurate and appropriate degree management for successful completion of the 120-credit Specialized Honours BA degree (Performance Creation & Research).

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 prerequisite class.

Criteria for Entry into Devised Theatre

  • Prerequisites: THEA 1010 3.0, THEA 1100 3.0, and THEA 1200 6.0
  • 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. A student who fails any of THEA 1010 3.0 Introduction to Acting I, THEA 1100 3.0 Introduction to Stagecraft I or THEA 1200 6.0 Introduction to Theatre and Performance will not be allowed to audition.
  • Audition.  Students will participate in a three-hour group workshop/audition exploring improvisation, movement, and performance creation techniques. Please come prepared to stay for the entire allotted time and be ready to move.

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 wait 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 wait list.

Second Year

THEA 2050 3.0 Introduction to Devised Theatre I

Introduction to Devised Theatre I offers students an introduction to the devising of original theatre in a collaborative setting. Through classroom exercises and the creation, rehearsal and presentation of devised and interpreted performance projects, the participants will explore the essential questions and investigative tools of the theatre practitioner. Practical studio course. Note: Plus rehearsal hours. Prerequisites: 5.0 (C+) overall grade point average. Passing Grade in THEA 1010 3.0 Introduction to Acting I, THEA 1100 3.0 Introduction to Stagecraft I and THEA 1200 6.0 Introduction to Theatre and Performance. Open to majors only.

THEA 2051 3.0 Introduction to Devised Theatre II

Introduction to Devised Theatre II affords students a continued introduction to the devising of theatre in all aspects, from conception to execution. Classroom exercises and performance project assignments will deepen the exploration of the processes and skills of the theatre practitioner. Practical studio course. Note: Plus rehearsal hours. Prerequisites: Grade of B or better in FA/THEA 2050 3.00 and permission of the Theatre Department. Open to majors only.

Other required courses in second year:

  • THEA 2200 6.0 History of Theatre and Performance
  • THEA 2210 3.0 Theatre and Social Justice

Highly 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 AMPD departments).

Preparation for third year:

At end of second year, each student should meet with their faculty 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 are 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 are available to prospective third year students through the Program Assistant in CFT 322 at the end of the winter term.

Third Year

FA/THEA 3050 3.00   Devised Theatre in Practice I

Devised Theatre Practice I rigorously develops the processes and skills of devising and interpreting theatre works within a collaborative context. In classroom exercises, and through the rehearsal and presentations of assigned projects, students will explore and practice the creative approaches of the theatre practitioner. Practical studio course. Note: Plus rehearsal hours. Prerequisites: Grade of B or better in FA/THEA 2051 3.00 and permission of the Theatre Department. Open to majors only.

FA/THEA 3051 3.00   Devised Theatre in Practice II

Devised Theatre in Practice II builds on the processes and skills investigated in FA/THEA 3050 3.00. This practical studio course offers students further opportunities to practice the creation and presentation of devised theatre pieces in a collaborative setting. Classroom exercises and assigned presentations will prepare participants for the Devised Theatre Festival in FA/THEA 4050 3.00 and FA/THEA 4051 3.00. Practical studio course. Note: Plus rehearsal hours. Prerequisites: Grade of B or better in FA/THEA 3050 3.00 and permission of the Theatre Department. Open to majors only.

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 the course being offered). In this class, graduate student directors create research-based artworks. The undergraduate students will join a research team and explore a set of research questions through performance.

Other required courses in third year:

  • THEA 3200 3.0 Modern Theatre and Society
  • An additional 3.0 credits in Theatre, non-studio offerings at the 3000 or 4000 level 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 Theatre Career Management 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 4330 3.0 Contemporary 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 AMPD 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

FA/THEA 4050 3.00   Devised Theatre Perspectives

In fourth year, students form production companies and work on performance projects that are workshopped in the fall term and presented in the Devised Theatre Festival in the winter term. 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.

Devised Theatre Perspectives offers students an intensive curriculum in further perspectives of devised theatre exploration. Incorporating skill sets from the previous two years of training, this class will focus on advanced techniques for creating and performing original theatre works in a group setting, in preparation for performance in the Devised Theatre Festival in the winter term. Prerequisites: Grade of B or better in FA/THEA 3051 3.00 and permission of the Theatre Department. Open to majors only.

 

FA/THEA 4051 3.00   Devised Theatre Workshop

Devised Theatre Workshop offers an opportunity for students to further consolidate their training with detailed preparations of their original works for public performances in the Devised Theatre Festival at the end of the term. 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, with minimal dependence on external technical support. Prerequisites: Minimum of B in FA/THEA 4050 3.00 and permission of the department. Open to majors only. Note: Plus rehearsal hours.

 

Other required courses in fourth year:

  • An additional 3.0 credits in Theatre, non-studio offerings at the 3000 or 4000 level 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 4330 3.0 Contemporary 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 AMPD 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. Re-entry will be with permission by the Department.