Current Graduate Courses

Course Timetable

View the 2022-23 CDTPS graduate course timetable (pdf)

MA Required Courses

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: Walden Room UP103

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: Francesco Gagliardi
Time: Winter, Wednesday, 1–4pm
Location: Playhouse Theatre UP200

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: pending
Time: Fall, Thursday, 10am-1pm
Location: Walden Room UP103

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: Doug Eacho
Time: Winter/Summer F Terms, Thursday, 10am-1pm
Location: Walden Room UP103

PhD Required Courses

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: Jill Carter
Time: Fall, Thursday, 2-5pm
Location: Walden Room UP103

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, Thursday, 2-5pm
Location: Walden Room UP103

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, Friday, 10am–1pm
Location: Walden Room UP103

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: Walden Room UP103

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: Xing Fan
Time: Fall, Monday, 2-5pm
Location: Walden Room UP103


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 SearsTime: Winter, Tuesday, 6–9
Location: Playhouse Theatre UP200

A continuation of DRM331H1 Dramaturgy, deepening the critical exploration of more specific and/or specialized aspects of dramaturgy, such as digital dramaturgy, new media dramaturgy, intercultural and transcultural dramaturgy. Students in this course will also work closely with the MainStage production, providing dramaturgical assistance to the director.

Instructor: T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko

Time: Winter, Friday, 10am-1pm

Location: Sidney Smith 1080

Bertolt Brecht played a specific role in the paradigm shift of the art which began at the end of the 19th century. He advanced this change by trying to connect art to its social and political functions and structure with the positive acceptance of the industrial revolution and by trying to transform it with the help of the new technological media. Restricted to students in the Drama Specialist or Major.

Instructor: Pia Kleber

Time: Fall, Wednesday, 10am-12pm

Location: Media Commons RL 3025

How does art of the 21st century not only reflect but participate in contemporary social action? What is the difference between political art and activist art?

These deceptively simple questions underly the material “The Aestheticization of Reality: Art and Activism; Art As Activism” will engage. The course title borrows from white, American artist Richard Serra’s October 2001 critique of white, German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen’s equating of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, as “an art performance.” Serra wrote, then, in a New York Times oped: “Mr. Stockhausen made us see the extreme of a not uncommon attitude, the aestheticization of reality; in this instance, the aestheticization of terror.” In 2001, Serra’s comments indicated the damage done not only by the aestheticization of real-world events but also of how the artistic representation or even reenactment of said events mitigated a more popular consciousness of the event itself. Twenty years later, it seems that there is a renewed commitment on the parts of artists, scholars, arts institutions and organizations, funding organizations and foundations, and pedagogy to have art act as activism.

Addressing questions of performativity, hacktivism/slacktivism, and the impact of a pop-cultural narrative created as much by social and alternative media as mainstream news (and, of course, fake news), this course privileges work by IBPOC, Disabled, and 2SLGBTQ+ artists, while also engaging white artists’ work, including but not limited to that by Navajo composer Ravon Chacon, Ntlaka'pamux playwright Tara Beagan, Cree artist Kent Monkman, Black poet Amanda Gorman, Blind playwright Alex Bulmer, Disabled composer and documentarian Alyssa Ryvers, Cuban-American interdisciplinary artist, writer, and curator Coco Fusco, Black playwright d’bi.young anitafrika, Black artist Parker Bright, white playwright and graphic artist Colleen Osborn (CDTPS), Chinese composer Du Yun, and queer, brown, writer Catherine Hernandez. We will also consider scholarship by Black artist-scholar Fred Moten and white scholar-artist Stefano Harney on the relationship between the undercommons and arts organizations and institutions of higher-education; white scholar Marina Warner’s consideration of the ongoing correlation between myth and fairy tale with current events; Anishinaabe/Ashkenazi scholar-artist Jill Carter’s (CDTPS) work on the relationship between decolonization, Indigeneity, and the academy; queer disabled femme writer, organizer, performance artist and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s intervention of care and Disability justice; and Black, lesbian, poet, warrior Audre Lorde’s Black feminist strategies of dismantlement, among others.

Whenever possible, we will invite artists and scholars into our classroom, either in-person or virtually, and we will always consider first the art in its relationship to the world around it and land it takes place upon.

Instructor: T. Nikki Cesare Schotzko

Time: Winter, Wednesday, 10am-1pm

Location: Walden Room UP103

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: Playhouse Theatre UP200

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. Rokeby at

Instructor: David Rokeby

Time: Winter, Tuesday, 4-6pm

Location: Underwood Room H012


An often underappreciated aspect of Bertolt Brecht’s performance dialectics, ethics of praxis and theatre of solidarity is his sense of humor, his politics of laughter, and the importance of the feeling of awe and wonder in critical discourses on imperialist war, capitalist production, patriarchal gender politics, modern sciences, dictatorship and resistance. In his late teens and early twenties he roamed the beer pubs in Munich, guitar or clarinet in hand, and laid major foundations for the later development of his theory and praxis of epic theatre. One of its main features is the Verfremdungsefekt of V-effect, that, we could argue, leads straight back to clown’s performance (mostly not involving a red nose). Influenced by the famous local Munich comedic duo Karl Valentin and Liesl Karstadt, the Berlin DADA avantgarde, and later Charlie Chaplin he wrote plays and film scripts of biting social satire, drastic irony and unsettling clown performance while reflecting on the human condition in violent and unsafe times.
Dramaturgical characteristics are split and contradictory characters, defiant and idosyncretic bodies, hilarious plots, a very particular musicality and dramaturgical function of sound (Brecht founded his first band at the age of 14) and the collaborative pleasures of learning (his highly innovative learning plays). 

We will explore context, theory and praxis of plays such as “The mysteries of a Barber Shop” (silent film) (Die Mysterien eines Frisiersalons), “The Catch”, “The Beggar or the Dead Dog”, “Refugee conversations”, “Lux in tenebris”, “Man is Man”, “A Respectable Wedding”, “The Baden-Baden Lesson on Consent”, or “The Oceanflight (Lindbergh’s Flight), “Schweyk in the Second World War” etc.

Students will have an opportunity to reverse-engineer short scenes in their own experiments; write and perform those as short videos (presented on YouTube, for example).

Instructor: Antje Budde

Time: Fall, Wednesday, 2-5pm

Location: Walden Room UP103

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 completed 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 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, Wednesday 11-2pm

Instructor: J. Ricco
Time: Spring term, Thursdays, 10-12

Jean-Luc Nancy’s work on art, aesthetics, and sense has achieved widespread significance in contemporary philosophical, art historical, and theoretical discussions and debates on the relations between art, politics, and ethics. This course provides students with an opportunity to engage with close readings of his work, in order to develop an understanding of the specific priority granted to the praxis of art and aisthesis in his thinking on sense, existence, and being-with. Books by Nancy such as The Muses, The Ground of the Image, Being Singular Plural, Corpus, The Pleasure of Drawing, and Noli Me Tangere, will be read along with the work of other philosophers who have informed Nancy’s own thinking (e.g. Hegel, Kant, Freud, Heidegger, Bataille, Blanchot and Derrida).

Early Modern Asexualities
L. Blake

Course Description:
This course will have two main goals. First, we will read and discuss modern scholarship on asexuality, the sexual orientation often characterized by or defined as a lack of sexual attraction. We will investigate asexuality as a queer identity, and talk about how the study of asexuality has the potential to bring new perspectives to queer theory. Second, we will think about what it means to look for and read for asexuality in history. We will read sixteenth and seventeenth century literature, asking what it means to look for asexuality and aromanticism beyond the twentieth century. We will continually ask not just how to build an “asexual archive”—how to find traces of asexuality and aromanticism in the past—but also how the particular shapes of asexuality that we find in early modern texts might help us rethink modern allonormativity (the assumption that everyone experiences sexual attraction) and amatonormativity (the assumption that most people should be striving to be in romantic pairings or couples).

The class does not assume any prior knowledge of asexuality.    

Course Reading List:
Possible primary readings include: William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing [play]; Anon, The Four Prentices of London [play]; Margaret Cavendish, Convent of Pleasure [play]; William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis [long narrative poem]; Thomas Nashe, “The Choice of Valentines” [short narrative poem]; John Marston, Metamorphosis of Pygmalion’s Image [erotic epyllion]; Katherine Phillips, metaphysical poetry of friendship; Abraham Cowley, The Mistress [a collection of poetry that caused Samuel Johnson to call him a “philosophical rhymer who had only ever heard of the other sex”]; C17 “Platonic Love” poetry movement and its opponents
Possible secondary readings include theory and criticism by Ela Przybylo, Danielle Cooper, Kim F. Hall, Ianna Hawkins Owen, Christine Varnado, Eunjung Kim, Mel Y. Chen, Simone Chess, Michael Cobb, Melissa E. Sanchez, Elizabeth Hanna Hanson, as well as asexual blogs and other public writing from the online ace community.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Class participation, class presentation, targeted research writeups, annotated bibliography, final paper

Term: F-TERM (September 2022 to December 2022)
Date/Time: Tuesday / 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Location: Room JHB 100A (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Delivery: In-Person

Early Modern Manuscripts
M. Teramura

Course Description:
While the digitization of early English printed books has revolutionized literary scholarship, a massive field of textual production, one that permeated every facet of early modern life, remains comparatively understudied: manuscripts. Poetry, drama, prose fiction, letters, diaries, depositions, wills, recipe books -- the rich and varied manuscript archive offers ever-expanding horizons for research as new digitization projects are making manuscripts around the world more accessible than ever before. This seminar will introduce participants to a wide range of manuscript genres while providing sustained practice in paleography. We will begin by examining the kinds of manuscripts most closely relevant to literary study (authorial holographs, verse miscellanies, dramatic scripts, playhouse documents) before exploring and move on to other forms of manuscript production of the time (letters, government documents, commonplace books, financial records). The goals of this seminar are: to introduce participants to the scope of early modern manuscript culture; to develop participants' skills in reading a variety of early modern hands; to provide orientation to the resources that will allow participants to locate and access manuscripts; and to give participants a sense of the new research possibilities on manuscript sources.

Course Texts:
Primary readings will include manuscripts of works by authors such as John Donne, Queen Elizabeth I, John Milton, and Hester Pulter; while many of these texts will be short, the most substantial will likely be the collaboratively authored play Sir Thomas More (Arden edition), and The Concealed Fancies by Jane Cavendish and Elizabeth Brackley. Primary readings will be paired with secondary texts on manuscript culture from a range of historical, literary critical, and paleographical perspectives.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Participation 20%; Mini-Assignments 20%; In-Class Presentation 10%; Final Project 50%. 

Term: S-TERM (January 2023 to April 2023)
Date/Time: Tuesday / 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Location: Room JHB 616 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Delivery: In-Person

Shakespeare's Theatrical (After) Lives
H. Syme

Course Description:
In this course we will investigate how the texts, meanings, and ideological affordances of Shakespeare's plays have been shaped and reinvented by successive generations of theatre artists from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries. With a focus on Anglophone theatre, primarily in Britain and the US, we will trace how and why certain plays by Shakespeare disappear from the repertory and reemerge at other times, sometimes in radically altered forms, even as Shakespeare (in markedly different configurations) remained central to the Anglophone theatrical tradition over the centuries. Our investigations will focus on two related issues: on the one hand, the changing status of the text in discussions and practices of theatre making, and the effects of the rise of the scholarly textual editor on theatrical practices; and on the other hand, the ways in which Shakespeare’s plays have functioned as occasions for negotiating questions of gender, race, and (nationalist) politics.

Course Reading List:
Plays including (but not limited to) _Hamlet_, _Othello_, _Midsummer Night's Dream_, _The Merchant of Venice_, and _Richard III_; archival materials ranging from 18th-century prompt books to contemporary stage managers' accounts from Shakespeare's Globe; works by scholars including Barbara Hodgdon, Peter Holland, Robert Hornback, M. J. Kidnie, Judith Pascoe, Richard Schoch, Ayanna Thompson, and many others.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Final paper 40%
Conference-style final presentation 15%
Paper proposal and brief annotated bibliography 10%
Assigned reading presentation 15%
Participation 20%

Term: F-TERM (September 2022 to December 2022)
Date/Time: Thursday / 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Location: Room JHB 718 (Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street)
Delivery: In-Person

Please contact to enroll. 

ITA1540HF Renaissance Italian Theatre/ Prof. Laura Ingallinella


Mondays 10am-12pm


This course will investigate the representation of identity and difference in Renaissance Italy by interrogating spectacles designed for a public or private audience. By using an interdisciplinary approach, this course will combine close reading and book history with diverse critical frameworks such as gender performativity, Marxist theory, premodern critical race studies, and disability theory. Our goal will be to investigate how critical theory, in its varying facets, can help expose power structures and tensions within Renaissance and early modern literary artifacts—in this specific case, dramaturgical texts—as they relate to gender, sexuality, class, religious difference, and race. Representative authors to be studied are: Isabella Andreini, Pietro Aretino, Lodovico Ariosto, Feo Belcari, Maddalena Campiglia, Niccolò Machiavelli, Lorenzo de' Medici, Antonia Pulci, Beolco-Ruzante, Gian Giorgio Trissino


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: