English 3216 - Advanced Drama Production

General Course Outline

This course will focus on learning to read a play as a script for performance rather than solely as written literature. Examples of the work of major dramatists from various historical periods and geographic areas will be studied to understand the differing themes, natures of production and performance demands of the various forms. The focus will be on the text as a performance vehicle written not only for readers but more immediately for actors, directors, and designers. The study of the history of staging and performance will be an integral part of the course.

The course will focus on studying the various styles of acting, place of performance and audience, costumes and manners using scenes from the following:

(i) Greek Theatre
(ii) Medieval and Early Tudor Theatre
(iii) Elizabethan and Jacobean Theatre
(iv) Restoration and Georgian Theatre
(v) Victorian and Edwardian Theatre
(vi) Twentieth Century Theatre
(vii) Present Day / World Theatre
(viii) Playwrights and Themes

This course will be a combination of lectures and workshops. Students will be introduced to the various topics and will then choose an area of specialization and a project in consultation with the professor and others in the course.

Because theatre is a collaborative study and makes special demands of the participants, there will be a great emphasis on rehearsing outside of class scheduling and attending plays and workshops. Attendance will be mandatory.

Students will be evaluated on attendance, participation and their written work. There will be no final exam. There will be a production at the end of year of scenes from plays by major dramatists from various areas covered in class.

Each student will be required to choose a play and to keep a Production Journal with multiple entries. Areas examined in the journal should include: themes, structure, character analysis, language and text, terminology, production style and approach of texts as well as an overview of some past productions of the piece.

Practical concerns such as lighting, music, sound, costuming, properties and sets should be included in the Production Journal.


Participation / Preparation 25%
Attendance 25%
Writing 25%
Involvement in Final Performance 25%

Required Texts

(i) Actor's Book of Classical Scenes, Collected by Stefan Rudnicki (Penguin)
(ii) Theater: Choice in Action, Arden Fingerhut (Harper Collins College Publishers)
(iii) Playing Period Plays, Lyn Oxenford (J. Garnet Miller Ltd. & Coach House Press)
(iv) Style for Actors, Robert Baron (Mayfield Publishing Company)

This course is intended to serve students with an interest in an area of inquiry and understanding which has been identified as important in the English Department curriculum, the study of literary texts as a basis for performance. In part because it is not our purpose to offer a pre-professional theatre programme, but rather an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of the performative aspects of literature, enrollment will not be limited to students aiming for the concentration in drama, or to students majoring or honoring in English. It will, however, be limited to students who have already taken the intermediate drama production course, ENGL 2216 and the introduction to drama, ENGL 2523. Students enrolled in the concentration in drama will normally have priority for admission to the course.

The course would be of value to any student interested in the study of literature, as it approaches literary texts from a perspective which is often overlooked in the literature curricula, the role such texts can play in creating and structuring artistic and cultural events.

It is important to stress that the course is designed to help students understand and reflect on the practicalities of enactment and the dramatic transformation of space rather than to train them in the techniques of production, and as such it extends and deepens the department's and university's commitment to studying the liberal arts.

The course will fulfill the departmental requirements for courses in the "creative and performative" category.