Drama 238 Intensive Syllabus


                   Special Topics in Performance: Intensive in Ensemble and Performance

NOTE: This class does not begin until Week Three of term, September 25. HOWEVER, you are asked to see two shows before we meet:

1. The Ugly One, Thousand Islands Playhouse trip, Tues-Friday September 16-19. You are urged to see this early in the week, tickets will sell out. The show is only an hour long, a wonderfully fast-paced performance in a style you wouldn’t normally see in the Kingston area. There is a talk-back afterwards. The total cost is $20, paid at the Drama Desk.

2. In Spirit, in Convocation Hall Tuesday September 23, 7:30pm.  Free.

We will talk about both these shows the first week of class. Please email me when you get your ticket to Ugly One.

The class:

In this class we will build an ensemble company and work with several aesthetic strategies to explore “Performing Stories and Communities of Memory: what does it mean to have a heritage?” Students will devise material from created and found text. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing to class, there will be a lot of physical work. Bring light snacks to give you energy.

We will work from this definition of Heritage.

Fall 2014

Thursdays 2:30-5:20 pm, Fridays, 8:30-11:20 am, Sept. 25-Oct. 31

Location: IBCPA 104 (The Isabel Studio)

Instructor: Dr. Julie Salverson

Office: Theological Hall

Phone: 613-533-6000 Ex.77485

Email: salversn@queensu.ca   

website: jsalverson.wordpress.com

Guest Artist: Andrew Kushnir

Andrew is a Toronto-based playwright, actor, and community arts worker, as well as creative director of Project: Humanity (PH), an organization raising awareness of social issues through the arts. His play The Middle Place — an award-winning piece of verbatim theatre about youth homelessness — has toured Toronto high schools, has been produced for general audiences in Toronto three times, and has toured nationally. Andrew is one of the creator/performers of The Gay Heritage Project, which premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in the winter of 2013. This season, Andrew will be premiering his newest verbatim play Small Axe (a co-production between Project: Humanity and The Theatre Centre). A graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting program, he received the university’s Alumni Horizon Award in 2013.


Office Hours: Salverson: Wed. 12-1pm and by appointment.

Grading Scheme:

1.  Participation: 50%  Quality of engagement, respect for each other, development, willingness to stretch your boundaries. This is not about how much you speak, but about your presence in the room and what you ask of yourself.

2.  First Writing Assignment: 10% (Completion Assignment, you get A if you complete ingredients: cover all points, communicate well, on time. If unsatisfactory but completed C+, if not completed, F.  600 words (no more, please do a word count) telling me how you approach acting now. What has influenced you? If you have a method you follow, what is it? What do you consider your main strength? What do you consider your main challenge? What do you want to particularly work on in this class?

Due Monday, October 6,  10AM emailed to instructor.

3.Second Writing Assignment: 30%   To be discussed in class.

Due Monday, November 10, 3pm uploaded or handed in to Drama Desk.

4. Professionalism: 10% This mark is given for promptness and attendance (please don’t be late) and over-all attitude and respect for the working environment. It also is given for attention to work handed in, e.g. spelling errors, legibility, presentation and promptness.


Readings: See Blog Page


Class Culture: rights and responsibilities:

My responsibilities to the class, and to you:

1.     You can expect me to be on time and prepared for all our meetings together, inside or outside class. I spend a substantial amount of time ensuring that I am able to guide our discussions profitably; my responsibility to our mutual work is no different than yours in this regard.

2.     You can expect me to be available for consultation regularly. My office hours are listed at the top of this document; I am also available by appointment.

3.     Email is my preferred method of communication, and you can expect to receive a response to any email within 24 hours on a weekday (not after 6pm at night, normally, although I may read it). I am happy to offer brief advice about class material or an assignment online, but please come and speak to me about substantive matters.

4.     All assignments handed in on time will be graded and returned within 2 weeks of the due date; late assignments will be graded as my time permits (see below for late assignments).

5.     You can expect me to treat all your questions and comments with respect, and to take your concerns seriously. If you are having a problem, come and talk to me about it!

Your Responsibilities to the class, and to me:

1.     I expect you to come to class on time, and prepared, for each of our meetings. We will do a lot of reading, particularly during the first half of term, and you need to budget 2-3 hours for the week’s reading. If you don’t understand or are confused by a reading, struggle through it, make note of your difficulties, and bring your questions either to class or to my office hours. Working through tough material will occasionally be part of our job in this class, and we will do it together.

2.     I expect you to set goals for yourself. You might pose yourself an academic goal, or an artistic one, or a personal one.

3.     I expect you to support one another by encouraging each other’s work, by asking tough questions during class, and by using each other as a resource. We are discussing challenging material, much of it not the kind of thing that has easy answers, or any answers at all. What you will be doing – individually and together – is discovering what your own preferences are about aesthetic, political and social choices relating to the material we cover.

4.     I expect you to respect one another, our guests, and me, during our frequent group discussions. Be aware that we do not all come from the same background; we will each need to make allowances for different points of view based on our diverse social, sexual and cultural experiences. Please take our differences seriously – and don’t assume that you know everything about even your closest colleague and friend, any more than she or he knows all about you.

Academic Integrity:

Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see www.academicintegrity.org). These values are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the “freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas” essential to the intellectual life of the University (see the Senate Report on Principles and Priorities http://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/policies/senateandtrustees/principlespriorities.html).


Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations concerning academic integrity and for ensuring that their assignments conform to the principles of academic integrity. Information on academic integrity is available in the Arts and Science Calendar (see Academic Regulation 1 http://www.queensu.ca/artsci/academic-calendars/2011-2012-calendar/academic-regulations/regulation-1), on the Arts and Science website (see http://www.queensu.ca/artsci/academics/undergraduate/academic-integrity), and from the instructor of this course. Departures from academic integrity include plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification, and are antithetical to the development of an academic community at Queen’s. Given the seriousness of these matters, actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning or the loss of grades on an assignment to the failure of a course to a requirement to withdraw from the university.                                              

Grading Method:

All components of this course will receive letter grades.  Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale:


                                          Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale



Numerical Course Average (Range)


























49 and below





G. Course Policies (grading, lateness, etc.)

Policy on Submitting Work: Students are expected to submit work on time according to dates and times set out in the syllabus. If you submit work late without a valid reason (medical note or family emergency) you are asked to notify the instructor in writing at least two days in advance, specifying when you will submit the work, and indicating that you are aware that for each day after the due date you will have one grade increment deducted from your mark (i.e. from B to B-). Work submitted more than one week late without communication with professor will not be graded.

Note re grades: Students who carry out the assignments and are involved in class in a minimal way may expect a C mark, provided there are no major errors in the work. Students who submit/develop strong work, show development and significant engagement in the class may expect a B mark. Students who wish to attain an A in the class should expect to work steadily and progressively, and to submit/develop outstanding work.













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