Current Graduate Courses

Course Timetable

View the 2021-22 CDTPS graduate course timetable (pdf) 

MA Required Courses (effective September 2020)

As an introduction to graduate-level theatre and performance history and historiography, this course will teach students how to do theatre and performance history. It will combine consideration of selected topics and case studies with methodological awareness of the problems and questions that arise in the writing of such histories. The course will endeavor to present theatre and performance history as a subject that encompasses dramatic literature, material culture, embodiment, visual culture—and even how history can itself be understood as drama. Emphasis will be directed towards learning how to contextualize and situate sources within their historical and cultural frameworks.

Instructor: Xing Fan
Time: Fall, Monday, 10am–1pm
Location: online

This course provides an experiential learning opportunity to MA students by allowing them to pursue a practice-based project of their design under the supervision of a faculty member and with feedback from their cohort. Major components of the course are the discussion and application of various models of integrating critical analysis into practice, the introduction of different modes of research-based and critical creative practice, the development of students’ individual projects toward a workshop-oriented presentation, and the practice of peer critique.

Instructor: TBA
Time: Winter, Monday, 1–4pm
Location: TBA

This course provides introduction to the overlapping fields of drama, theatre and performance studies at the graduate level. Engaging the key texts in these fields, the course also addresses recent scholarship and artworks. It may include playtexts, performance texts, and theory, and develops and refines critical reading and analysis of this material. The course also models how scholars in the three fields use case studies to integrate analysis with theory. It builds a foundation for scholarly inquiry by incorporating local, national and international scholarship, and examines interrelationships of scholarly and artistic works.

Instructor: Douglas Eacho
Time: Fall, Thursday, 10am-1pm
Location: online

This course provides a capstone experience to MA students by allowing them to pursue a major research project of their design under the supervision of a faculty member. It has two options: a written scholarly thesis of approximately 40-50 pages or a hybrid artistic and scholarly project comprising a practical component and a substantial, 20-page long critical essay explicating the project’s conceptualization and execution. This work is evaluated by the course instructor and two other readers assigned from within the faculty of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. The course develops students’ conceptual understanding and methodological competence.

Instructor: Jill Carter
Time: Winter/Summer, Thursday, 2-5pm
Location: online

PhD Required Courses (effective September 2020)

Sources and Concepts of Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies I is the first of a two-part cycle of foundational PhD-level semester courses in international histories of intellectual and creative ideas that inform drama, theatre, and performance studies. The courses invite students to examine the most significant dramatic and theatrical developments—in both theories and practices—across cultures. They focus on the historically, methodologically and theoretically informed analyses of dramatic texts, theatre productions, and performances with reference to their formal and stylistic choices, performative significance, cultural systems and conventions, and historical contexts. The courses provide ways of integrating culture-specific theory/criticism/ideas into a comprehensive understanding of world drama, theatre, and performance. This cycle may not use a fixed structure. According to the course instructor’s pedagogical approach and academic expertise, the courses may be organized along chronology, around themes, with a focus on geography, or with a combination of the previous perspectives.

Instructor: Antje Budde
Time: Fall, Thursday, 2-5pm
Location: online

Sources and Concepts of Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies II is the second of a two-part cycle of foundational PhD-level semester courses in international histories of intellectual and creative ideas that inform drama, theatre, and performance studies. The courses invite students to examine the most significant dramatic and theatrical developments—in both theories and practices—across cultures. They focus on the historically, methodologically and theoretically informed analyses of dramatic texts, theatre productions, and performances with reference to their formal and stylistic choices, performative significance, cultural systems and conventions, and historical contexts. The courses provide ways of integrating culture-specific theory/criticism/ideas into a comprehensive understanding of world drama, theatre, and performance. This cycle may not use a fixed structure. According to the course instructor’s pedagogical approach and academic expertise, the courses may be organized along chronology, around themes, with a focus on geography, or with a combination of the previous perspectives.

Instructor: Antje Budde
Time: Winter, Friday, 11am–2pm
Location: online

Modelling New Scholarship is a PhD-only seminar focusing on the practice of professional scholarship in drama, theatre, and performance studies. In the course, students cultivate the research, writing, and presentation skills necessary for success in graduate school and the professional sphere. It serves as an introduction to some of the most current scholarship in the field, and develops the tools—analysis, historiography, theory—required both to engage with and to produce original work. Students will examine how scholars translate their research into original contributions to the field: from dissertation chapters, to conference presentations, to journal articles, and monographs. Students will also gain an overview of the profession, including relevant organizations, conferences, and journals, and learn how to gear their writing toward a particular audience. The seminar also considers the ways in which scholarship in drama, theatre, and performance studies both intersects with, and distinguishes itself from, other disciplines, including cultural studies, history, ethnography, and literary studies. The course may include a public humanities and/or community-based component.

Instructor: Nikki Cesare Schotzko
Time: Fall, Wednesday, 10am–1pm
Location: online

This course is designed to acquaint students with contemporary approaches and issues in teaching and learning as they pertain to the interdisciplinary field of drama, theatre and performance studies. Emphasis will be on the theory and practice of knowledge construction and transmission. By the end of the course, students will have developed a stronger understanding of the history of pedagogy in the field, considered important theoretical paradigms in relation to their practical applications, been introduced to Indigenous and non-Western perspectives on teaching and learning, developed and experimented with specific teaching techniques appropriate to their individual professional goals, and positioned their own values and practice in relation to a community of learning, producing a statement of teaching philosophy.

Instructor: Xing Fan
Time: Winter, Monday, 10am–1pm
Location: online

This course has three components: (1) students prepare for and compose their dissertation proposal; (2) methodological training through which students further develop their research skills pertaining to their specific dissertation projects; and (3) logistical guidance as the students fulfil language requirements, secure a supervisor, and compile a supervisory committee. This course is CR/NCR.

Instructor: Nancy Copeland
Time: Fall, Tuesday, 1–4pm
Location: online


Concentrating upon the in-depth knowledge and practice of playwriting with an emphasis on advanced style and technique of writing. Students develop their own  work through in-class exercises, one major written assignment, and the final public presentation.

Selection is based on an portfolio submission. Applications will open in mid September. Apply online by November 10th. 

Instructor: Djanet Sears
Time: Winter, Tuesday, 6–9
Location: UP200

In a 1966 study of the performing arts, economist William Baumol predicted that the then-booming global economy was bound for permanent stagnation, as labour ran out of ways to technologically improve itself. We would all, he warned, become as unproductive as actors and musicians. This prediction has apparently come true. While computers seem to have revolutionized society, they have failed to make economies more efficient. Meanwhile, employment has shifted to service, care, education, and other ‘affective labour’ – work resembling the craft of the actor – slowing capitalist growth and entrenching global inequality. Where has this left the performing arts?

This course will explore debates about work, stagnation, and automation through post-1970 performance and performance theory, with particular attention to technological change. Readings will discuss neoliberalism, social reproduction, gendered divisions of labour, disability, algorithms / A.I., autonomism, accelerationism, and neo-coloniality. Artists will include Jackie Sibblies-Drury, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Ron White, Annie Dorsen, Rimini Protokoll; theorists will include Jackson, Steen, Ridout, Phelan, McKenzie, Menon, Braverman, Deleuze, Stiegler, Brown.

Instructor: Doug Eacho
Time: Winter, Wednesday, 10am-1pm
Location: TBD

What has happened to the relationship between performance and religion? Has the Enlightenment project successfully secularized Western civilization and our thinking about a human subject in light of its most important horizon – the finitude of existence? Or can we still decipher religious thinking in the works of theatre artists whose practice, like that of the leading Western philosophers, such as Walter Benjamin, Emmanuel Lévinas, and Jacque Derrida, still bear traces of theological underpinnings when dealing with this finitude? These questions, among others, lead our investigation into transgressive cryptotheologies at the crossroads of performance, philosophy and religion in the Western theatre of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Instructor: Tamara Trojanowska
Time: Fall, Friday, 10am–12pm
Location: online

This course will explore the subjects, forms, and dramaturgies of contemporary auto/biographical performance through selected, mainly Canadian examples. The term auto/biographical recognizes that autobiography and biography are often intertwined. The plays to be studied will be chosen to illustrate different means of performing lives, as well as to include a variety of auto/biographical subjects. There will be an option of drafting an auto/biographical performance piece in place of a final essay.

Instructor: Nancy Copeland
Time: Winter, Thursday, 10am-12pm
Location: online

As the preferred medium for the documentation and dissemination of early Performance Art, photography largely informs our knowledge and understanding of this body of work. Until recently, however, little attention has been given to performance photography as a distinctive photographic practice, treating it instead merely as a more or less accurate access point into work taken to exist outside and independently of the photographic. In an attempt to complicate this naïve understanding of the relation between live event and photographic documentation, in this seminar course we will examine the photographic record of 1960s and 1970s Performance Art in relation to the photographic practices associated with a number of contemporaneous movements, such as Conceptual Art and Land Art, that shared Performance Art’s commitment to dematerialization as well as its reliance on photographic mediation. We will think about photography itself as a nexus of performative practices—the photographer’s, the subject’s, and the viewer’s—and consider how these various practices come to bear on our ways of engaging with performance photography.

Instructor: Francesco Gagliardi
Time: Winter, Tuesday, 10am-1pm
Location: BL113

An exploration of dramatic literature by writers from the African Diaspora (Canada, USA, UK and the Caribbean) from 1959 to the present. The course will identify a selection of playwrights central to the development of Black drama, their plays, and performance practices. Emphasis will be placed on dramaturgical analysis, sociohistorical context, the author’s influences, and relevant critical writing, in order to evaluate these works as sites of social resistance, cultural resilience, and aesthetic transformation. Readings include works for the stage by Lorraine Hansberry, Wole Soyinka, August Wilson, Derek Walcott, Debbie Hunter Green, George Elliott Clarke, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Walter Borden, Jocelyn Bioh, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Ntozake Shange.

Instructor: Djanet Sears
Time: Fall, Thursday, 5-8pm
Location: TBD

This interdisciplinary graduate course explores the collision between the arts and technologies with all of its creative potential, unintentional collateral damage, compelling attraction, and complex social implications. It brings together scholars, artists, and students from Drama/Theatre, Visual Studies, Comparative Literature Music, Engineering, and Computer Science who are already excited by and engaged in this intersection. For students coming from an arts background the course offers direct experience of emerging technologies and chance to explore their applications to their research. For students with a technology background, the course provides the opportunity to integrate their research into an art-based, publicly presented project. The course exposes all of the students to rigorous interdisciplinary practices and their conceptual, practical and theoretical challenges through group discussions, concept generation, practical experimentation and research, and engagement with visiting artists. The course will culminate in a collaborative performance project.

Please note: entry into this course requires an interview. Contact Prof. Kleber at

Instructors: Pia Kleber and David Rokeby
Time: Winter, Tuesday, 3-6
Location: BMO Lab (KS 320)


Reading and Research Courses

Our departmental policy regarding reading or research courses: 

  1. PhD students can take up to one Y or two H reading/research courses during their studies in our program. MA students may take one H reading/research course.
  2. Generally, PhD 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.

To request a reading/research course you must: 

  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 Request for Reading and/or Research Course form and a tentative reading list. Make sure, that you and the instructor agree 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 hours, weekly 1 hour, monthly four hours).
  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 School of Graduate Studies deadlines for course enrolment.

Cross-listed Courses

The following courses may be of interest to CDTPS students. Please note that enrolment may be limited as students enrolled in these departments have enrolment priority.


This course examines recent work in Queer Theory, Philosophy, Literature, and Visual Culture, in which questions of ethics and aesthetics are of principal concern in thinking about friendship; sexual pleasure; intimacy; decision; anonymity and identity; social encounters and relations. We will read works by: Leo Bersani, Tom Roach, Tim Dean, William Haver, Michel Foucault, Herve Guibert, Jean-Luc Nancy, Lauren Berlant.

Instructor: J. Ricco
Time: Fall, Tuesdays, 10-12


We’ll be thinking about some repercussions of Hegel’s infamous pronouncement of the “end of art.” Why does Hegel say that art “no longer counts” as the expression of truth and what does this obsolescence imply for the practice of philosophy and for political practice? We’ll look at the ways in which art, according to Hegel, stages its own undoing at every stage and in every art form (sculpture, painting, music, etc), but especially in theatre, which Hegel presents both as the “highest” art form and the scene of art’s ultimate undoing. Why does theater occupy this privileged position? And what comes next? We’ll be focusing on selected portions of Hegel’s Aesthetics and the Phenomenology of Spirit, alongside other contemporary writings, such as Lessing, Schelling, and Hölderlin. And we’ll be reading some of the plays –mostly, but not always, tragedies — they were watching (or at least reading, or imagining watching): Sophocles, Euripides, Schiller, Goethe, Diderot, Aristophanes. And finally, we’ll consider the peculiar afterlife of theatre in philosophy – as a scene of pedagogy, a performance, and a political spectacle.

Instructor: R. Comay
Time: Fall, Wednesdays, 4-6


This course examines new forms of textualities and textual practices that are emerging in the digital era. It highlights an understudied dimension of the text, i.e. the medium that forms its material and technological infrastructure such as scroll, codex, book, CD, e-book, the Internet, and smartphone. The course starts with a historical investigation into the printed text and print culture. Then it moves on to the question of how digital technologies shape reading and writing as well as other text-based cultural practices. While the course revolves around the mediality of the text, it distances itself from technological determinism by stressing the facts that digital technologies are always embedded in and shaped by historically specific political, social, and cultural conditions. This course is designed for students who are interested in questions and issues related to literary production in the digital era and more generally the materiality of the text. Theoretical and scholarly works we will engage with in this course include, but not limited to, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man (McLuhan, 1964), The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Adrian Johns, 2000), Writing Machines (N. Katherine Hayles, 2002), Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print (Jay David Bolter, 2001), Bodies in Code: Interfaces with Digital Media (Mark Hansen, 2006), The Interface Effect (Alexander R. Galloway), The Language of New Media (Lev Manovich, 2002), Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies (Noah Wardrip-Fruin, 2009).

Instructor: R. Bai
Time: Winter, Fridays, 10-12


Philosophy has always had a special interest in tragedy, and has often used it as either a negative or positive foil (sometimes both at once) to construct its own self-image. Plato famously banned tragedy; Aristotle recouped it; German idealist philosophers saw in “the tragic” a mirror-image of philosophy’s own preoccupations; Nietzsche blamed philosophy for tragedy’s demise; Marx saw in tragedy’s own (tragic) slide into farce a symptom of practical-theoretical enervation.

In this semester we’ll explore the entanglement of philosophy and tragedy after Hegel, and in the light of the failed 1848 revolutions, with focused attention on how later thinkers raise the political stakes of this entanglement. We’ll be exploring the links between tragedy and sovereignty; tragedy and revolution; tragedy and gender; the predicaments of decolonial tragedy; the relationship between genre and medium.

Readings to include: Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit and Sophocles, Antigone; Marx, Eighteenth Brumaire; Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy; Brecht, Short Organon and selected plays; Benjamin, Origin of the German Trauerspiel and “What is Epic Theatre?”; Adorno, “Trying to Understand Endgame and Beckett’s Endgame; Eisenstein’s Notes towards his (unrealized) film version of Capital; C.L.R James, The Black Jacobins and his Toussaint Louverture (the play); Nicole Loraux, Mothers in Mourning; Judith Butler, Antigone’s Claim; Raymond Williams, Modern Tragedy.

Instructor: R. Comay
Time: Winter, Wednesdays, 4-6



Thomas Heywood and the Early Modern Theater

This course will serve as an introduction to a broad sweep of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English drama through the works of Thomas Heywood, the playwright who famously claimed to have had "an entire hand, or at least a maine finger" in more than two hundred plays. (We will not read all of them.) Concentrating primarily on Heywood's dramatic texts, with short excursions in his prose works (from English histories to polemical writings), we will use the plays to map the dominant concerns of the early modern theater. Our readings will range across major dramatic genres, from city comedy to domestic tragedy, alongside plays that resist predictable forms and categories, such as the Age plays. Our secondary aim in this course will be to explore Heywood's work through critical approaches to identity that have, in early modern studies, typically focused on Shakespeare's plays. With attention to critical race theory (with The Fair Maid of the West), disability theory (with The Fair Maid of the Exchange, often attributed to Heywood), and feminist theory (with A Woman Killed With Kindness), for example, we will consider how Heywood's plays amplify and complicate key theoretical interventions in early modern studies.

Instructor: K. Williams
Time: Fall, Wednesday, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Location: TBA.

Acting Theory and Practice before Stanislavsky
Instructor: Prof. Terry F. Robinson

The curious process of an actor's transformation--the means and methods by which a player communicates character and feeling on stage--was a major problem that captivated top eighteenth- and nineteenth-century minds. British, German, French, Dutch, and Italian thinkers sought to understand this process and to probe its representational limits. This course examines key documents within a vast body of literature produced on acting theory and practice in the two centuries prior to Stanislavsky--a time when the figure of the actor was a central visual object in an already visual culture. We will read acting theory alongside theatre reviews, illustrations, representative dramas, and criticism. We will examine the stage practices of actors such as Thomas Betterton, David Garrick, Sarah Siddons, John Philip Kemble, Edmund Kean, Ira Aldridge, and Ellen Terry. We will also consider shifting histories of affect and emotion, in addition to concerns such as embodiment, visual culture, celebrity culture, theatre history, aesthetics, and politics. What, we'll ask, can literature focused on the ontology of the actor tell us about the profound cultural and epistemological impact of the actor's art during this period?

Course Reading List
Primary readings may include selections from the following (with foreign language texts available in translation): Charles Gildon, The Life of Mr. Thomas Betterton; Aaron Hill, The Prompter; Francesco Riccoboni, L'art du théâtre; John Hill, Essay on the Art of Acting; Samuel Foote, A Treatise on the Passions, So Far as They Regard the Stage; Roger Pickering, Reflections upon Theatrical Expression in Tragedy; Denis Diderot, Paradoxe sur le comédien; Johann Jakob Engel, Ideen zu Einer Mimik, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Regeln für Schauspieler; Heinrich von Kleist, Über das Marionettentheater; Sarah Siddons, Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth; Johannes Jelgerhuis, selections; Henry Siddons, Practical Illustrations of Rhetorical Gesture and Acting; Leigh Hunt, selections; William Hazlitt, selections; Charles Lamb, On the Tragedies of Shakespeare; François-Joseph Talma, Mémoires de Lekain; François Delsarte, on the Delsarte System, among other possibilities. Secondary criticism may include work by Lisa A. Freeman, Jean Marsden, Jonathan Mulrooney, Gill Perry, Joseph R. Roach, Lynn M. Voskuil, Jed Wentz, Shearer West, and others.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Attendance and Informed Class Discussion (15%); Archival Research Exercise (15%); In-Class Seminar Presentation with Handout (15%); Final Project Proposal with Annotated Bibliography (10%); Final Project/Research Paper (45%)
Term: S-TERM (January 2022 to April 2022)
Date/Time: 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, Fridays
Location: TBA.

Shakespeare's Language
Instructor: L. Magnusson

If the Muses themselves spoke English, they would speak with "Shakespeare's fine-filed phrase," Francis Meres commented in 1598, suggesting that Shakespeare's linguistic art tapped the emerging potential of the English language and extended its resources. Aiming at methodological advances in close reading attentive to the linguistic texture of cultural and literary texts, this course focuses on Shakespeare's still-resonant language. As shaping contexts, we consider the arts of language promoted by Renaissance humanist education, the dynamics of everyday social dialogue, and variation and language change in Early Modern English. The course draws upon an interdisciplinary collection of readings to test out theories and tools, with attention to rhetoric, discourse analysis and pragmatics, historical sociolinguistics, history of English, and the emerging digital approaches to text analysis and to the "distant reading" of large digital archives. We ask in what ways “the life of Shakespeare’s plays is in the language.” We also ask how new methods of language analysis can extend the reach of other current literary approaches, concerned, for example, with race, environment, gender, or cultural history. While the course models language analysis on Shakespeare's works, it also encourages graduate student researchers to develop advanced reading strategies which they can adapt to the cultural and literary texts of their chosen fields.

Course Reading List:
A collection of methodological readings (usually available online from the library or on Quercus) will supplement the Shakespeare text. If interested in reading ahead, in The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd Edition, gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt (or similar text), choose among Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, Richard III, Merry Wives of Windsor (especially 4.1), Othello, King Lear, The Tempest, Sonnets. Or read any Shakespeare play you want to focus your seminar research on. For classic texts on “social discourse,” you can read M. M. Bakhtin, from The Dialogic Imagination (1981), pp. 259-300 and Pierre Bourdieu, “Economics of Linguistic Exchanges,” Social Sciences Information, 16 (1977): 645-68. On language change, try Sylvia Adamson, “Questions of Identity in Renaissance Drama: New Historicism Meets Old Philology,” Shakespeare Quarterly 61.1 (Spring 2010): 56-77. On early modern schooling, try Peter Mack, Ch. 1, "Rhetoric in the Grammar School," Elizabethan Rhetoric: Theory and Practice, pp. 11-47 and Lynn Enterline, “Imitate and Punish” in Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, pp. 32-61. Or, to get an initial sense of digital text analysis, check out Voyant Tools and use your knowledge and imagination to see what you can discover about some specific feature of Shakespeare's language.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
In-class seminar 25%; course paper (colloquium and written version) 45%; frequent short "issue" sheets 20%; class participation 10%
Term: S-TERM (January 2022 to April 2022)
Date/Time: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Mondays
Location: TBA.

Please contact to enroll. 

ITA1610HF (Fall) - 17th and 18th-century Theatre / S.Bancheri
The course will study the most representative trends, authors and plays of Italian theatre of 17th and 18th century. Commedia dell’arte scripts as well as works by Guarini, Della Valle, De’ Dottori, Gravina, Martello, Maffei, Marcello, Metastasio, Gozzi, Goldoni, Galiani, Bettinelli, and Alfieri will be studied.
Weds 11-1pm 

CTL1064H - Applied Theatre and Performance in Sites of Learning

This course will examine the research of, and different approaches to, applied and socially engaged theatre. Practitioners engaged in forms of applied theatre, such as drama in education, theatre for development, Verbatim theatre, participatory theatre etc. often believe creating and witnessing theatrical events can make a difference to the way people interact with one another and with the world at large. The 'social turn' in theatre is understood politically, artistically, and educationally to be in the service of social change, although there is certainly no single nor consistent ideological position that supports the expansive use of theatre in classrooms and communities. Theatre has been consistently used in formal and informal educational settings as a way to galvanize participation and make learning more relational, or more a student/participant-centred rather than teacher/facilitator- centred proposition. In addition to exploring the educational value of applied theatre in a range of contexts and through a variety of interventions and intentions, the course will also contemplate the ethics and poetics of representation in performance and in research.

Exclusion: CTL1799H Applied Theatre and Performance in Sites of Learning
Language: English
Instructor: K. Gallagher
Time: Fall, This course has synchronous and asynchronous components. The synchronous component happens on Tuesdays 1-2:30 pm.
Location TBD

Students whose interests can be served by courses offered in other departments should consult the Associate Director, Graduate about their choices. A few examples include: