Current Graduate Courses

Course Timetable

View the 2018-2019 CDTPS graduate course timetable

Required Courses

Prof. Nancy Copeland

Fall, Tuesday, 1-4

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 restricted to incoming PhD candidates.

Prof. Tamara Trojanowska

Spring, Monday, 1-4

This course familiarizes students with major theoretical and practical developments in Western theatre in the twentieth and twenty first centuries, as well as with the selected philosophical approaches to the relationality of human beings and the world developed in the last hundred years (e.g. materialism, Marxism, feminism, phenomenology, philosophy of dialogue, poststructuralism, posthumanism, postsecularism, and ecologism from mimesis, ritual, and the avant-garde to political radicalism and re-enchantment.

Prof. VK Preston (Fall) and Prof. Nikki Cesare Schotzko (Spring)

Fall & Spring, Tuesday, 10-1 (this course runs from September to April)

This course offers an introduction for incoming MA students to key concepts in performance, dance, and theatre studies with considerations in practice and dramaturgy. Together, we will also learn about community and university resources, publications, and ethics procedures while introducing core texts and concepts that unfold historical, theoretical, methodological, political, and practical aspects of performance scholarship and labor. Course materials include 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. You will be asked to investigate methods and composition outside the classroom and to create short works and presentations.

Prof. Xing Fan

Fall, Thursday, 10-1

This course offers theoretical and practical training in a range of research methods in the disciplines of drama, theatre, and performance studies. Students will learn about a variety of methodological approaches, their critical discourse histories and how such knowledge is informative in early research project development. This course will also help students to identify research questions, ground them in relevant theories, and apply such professional academic knowledge to individual project planning.

Prof. Stephen Johnson

Spring, Monday, 2-4 

This course is designed to help students to prepare for their field exam/ prospectus defense, understand research planning, graduate funding, supervision guidelines and responsibilities and, most importantly, to write their first major draft of the prospectus essay and related annotated bibliography. This is a weekly seminar course, which will also offer tutorials addressing individual research questions and strategies.


Prof. Xing Fan

Spring, Monday, 10-12

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 colorful 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.

Prof.  Domenico Pietropaolo

Spring, Tuesday, 2-4

A rigorous analysis of verbal and gestural improvisation as a form of impromptu performance in the Commedia dell’Arte and related European traditions, from the Renaissance to Dario Fo. The following topics will be examined in detail: the semiotics of improvised performance texts, the biomechanics of improvisation in pantomime, spoken drama and grotesque dance, the structure and function of virtuosic routines, the dramaturgy of improvisation, the aesthetics of buffoonery and the ideology of humour. We will examine representative works from the Commedia dell’Arte repertoire (Scala, Goldoni and Gozzi in particular) as well as selections from contemporary manuals on performance techniques (Perrucci, Gherardi, Lang, Weaver and Fo, among others).

Prof. Nancy Copeland

Spring, Thursday, 10-12

This course will explore the theory and practice of auto/biographical performance. The term auto/biography recognizes that autobiography and biography are often intertwined. Readings will include auto/biographical theory and examples of auto/biographical performance from Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. Topics will include the subjects of auto/biography and forms and dramaturgies of auto/biographical performance. There will be an option of drafting an auto/biographical performance in place of a final essay.

Prof. VK Preston

Spring, Thursday, 1-4

This course brings critical dance studies and performance theory into conversation, examining theories of capital, the senses, and political resistance through art and social movements. The core aim of the course is to explore arguments regarding the circulation and expressivity of bodies in movement. We’ll investigate key texts on transmission and of gesture through Thomas DeFrantz’s theory-ography, André Lepecki’s ‘choreopolice and choreopolitics,’ and Elizabeth Maddock Dillon’s ‘performative commons,’ movement and social practices, as well as media. The course emphasizes diverse, social dimensions of choreography and kinesthetic experience traversing queer, critical race, dis/ability, and feminist studies. Coursework includes attending performances and exploring movement-based practice tasks’ imbrication in art and life, theory and practice.

Prof. Pia Kleber and David Rokeby

Fall & Spring, Wednesday, 6-9 (this 0.5 FCE course runs from September to April)

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.

Prof. Tamara Trojanowska

Fall, Monday, 1-3

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.

Reading and Research Courses

Our departmental policy regarding reading or research courses: 

  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.
  • DRA4090Y – September to April
  • DRA4091H – September to December
  • DRA4092H – January to April
  • DRA4093H – May to August

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 form Request for Reading and/or Research Course 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.

    enrol on ACORN

    ENG2282HF Ben Jonson
    Instructor: J. Astington
    Fall, Tuesday, 11-1
    ENG2535HF Shakespeare and his Contemporaries
    Instructor: K. Williams
    Fall, Tuesday, 1-3

    enrol on ACORN

    ITA1645HF Post-Tridentine Religious Drama
    Instructor: S. Bancheri
    Fall, Monday, 1-3

    email instructor (cc for permission to enrol, email course add form to in September

    WGS1025HS  Indigenous Aesthetics: Hip Hop, Media and Futurities
    Instructor: K. Recollet
    Spring, time TBA
    WGS1018H S  Theories of the Flesh: Transnational Feminist Sensibilities
    Instructor: N. Charles
    Spring, time TBA

    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: