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DRAMA 371 A: Theatre History I

Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
HUT 130
Guillaume Tourniaire
Guillaume Tourniaire

Syllabus Description:

Drama 371: History of the Theatre, I

Guillaume C. Tourniaire ( HUT 301

Office Hours: T/Th 10:00-11:00am, or by appointment

Course Syllabus

This course, the first in a three quarter sequence, is designed to explore European theatre and theatre culture from ancient Greece and Rome (circa 500 BCE - 200 CE), through the theatre practice of the Middle Ages, and the emergence of the first professional theatre in Elizabethan England and Spain in the Golden Age. It’s a long sweep and the intention of one of introduction and exposure. To this end, we will be reading representative plays of each period, discussing the history, politics, performance, and the large and enduring legacy of the various traditions.

Assessment, Grading, and Expectations

Assessment is based on a 400-point scale, divided between four equal components:

  • 100 points based on your In-Class Participation
  • 100 points for the Midterm Exam
  • 100 points for the Final Exam
  • 100 points for the Research Paper/Project

Participation is defined as your active presence in the class and its discussions. This means being prepared with the readings in advance and coming to class with questions to ask. Attendance alone will not net strong participation points. If you are ever in doubt about your standing, please see me and let’s discuss it. As we only meet twice a week, the pace is quick. It is imperative that you maintain good attendance. If, for pressing emergencies, you cannot make class, please notify me in advance, and schedule office time when you return to catch up.

A list of terms will be made available on Canvas for each part of the course. Using your text, please be prepared to identify these terms and discuss what you believe to be their primary significance. The midterm and final will be blue-book exams, based on these lists of terms.

Your final research project will culminate in an 8-10 page paper, on a topic of your own interest that intersects somewhere with the 2000 year coverage of the class. The prompt is on Canvas.

Grading is computed on a 10% scale, thus 400-360 total points = A range; 359-320 = B range; 319–280 = C range, etc.


Any edition of History of the Theatre, by Oscar Brockett and Frank Hildy.

Available at the University Bookstore, with several copies on reserve in the Drama Library. (Note: this text will be used over all three quarters of the history sequence.)

The Oresteia, three plays by Aeschylus, translated by Robert Fagles (Penguin Classics). Available at the University Bookstore, with a copy on reserve in the Drama Library.

Course Packet

As there is no convenient anthology of the plays for this course, a course packet has been created contain a collection of the plays as well as some supplemental reading. It is available at Rams Copy Center, 4141 University Way, NE (206-632-6630)


  • The Cyclops, Euripides (translated by William Arrowsmith)
  • The Bacchae, Euripides (translated by William Arrowsmith)
  • The Oresteia Trilogy (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides), Aeschylus (translated by Robert Fagles)
  • Antigone, Sophocles (translated by Elizabeth Wyckoff)
  • Lysistrata, Aristophanes (translated by Jack Lindsay)
  • The Frogs, Aristophanes (translated by R.H. Webb)
  • Old Cantankerous (Dyskolos or The Misanthrope), Menander (translated by Norma Miller)
  • The Haunted House (Mostellaria), Plautus (translated by Frank Copley and Moses Hadad)
  • “The Visit to the Sepulchre” from Medieval Drama (edited by David Bevington)
  • Dulcitius by Hrosvitha of Gandersheim (translated by Christabel Gertrude Marshall)
  • The York Crucifixion, Anonymous (edited by A.C. Cawley)
  • Noah’s Flood, The Play of the Shepherds, The Crucifixion (edited by E. Martin Browne)
  • Everyman, Anonymous (edited by A.C. Cawley)
  • Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe (edited by Sylvan Barnet)
  • a representative play by William Shakespeare (TBD)
  • Fuenteovejuna, Lope de Vega (translated by Roy Campbell)


  • “What Child is This?” from Arthur Evans, The God of Ecstasy
  • Parts XII-XVIII (12-18) of Aristotle's Poetics, translated by S.H. Butcher
  • “Images of Women in the Literature of Classical Athens”, from Sarah Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves
  • “Unspeakable Histories: Terror, Spectacle, and Genocidal Memory,” by Odai Johnson
  • “Perpetua’s Passion: The Translation” from What Would You Die For? Perpetual’s Passion, edited by Joseph J. Walsh and translated by Caitlin Allender and Mary Costantino
  • “The Gladiators’ Profession”, from Michael Grant, Gladiators

The only plays not in the packet are the Oresteia Trilogy (available at the University Bookstore) and Dulcitius, which is available on Canvas and online (

Used Book Stores

Many of these plays (and the source materials for the course packet) can be found in good condition online, or at used bookstores, for a fraction of the price. Here is a brief list of stores:

  • BLMF Literary Saloon (1501 Pike Pl #322, in Pike Place Market)
  • Globe Bookstore (218 1st Ave S, near Pioneer Square)
  • Half Price Books (visit for locations, Warehouse at 9241 Greenwood Ave N)
  • Horizon Books (1423 10th Ave, on Capitol Hill)
  • Magus Books (1408 NE 42nd Street, by University Ave.)
  • Ophelia’s Books (3504 Fremont Ave N, in Fremont)
  • Third Place Books, (6504 20th Ave NE, in Ravenna)
  • Twice Sold Tales (1833 Harvard Ave, on Capitol Hill)
  • University Bookstore (4326 University Way)

Courtesy Statement

As a courtesy, please do not bring food into the class and remember to silence your phones.

We will have a break each class session to get you through the trials of the long afternoon.

Faculty Mailboxes

Faculty mailboxes are located in Hutchinson 122. T.A. mailboxes are located in the hallway Hutchinson 117, but these boxes are not secure and are only available when the office is open. Papers, notes, etc. for TAs should instead be delivered to T.A. offices. Faculty and T.A. office locations and hours are posted on a bulletin board inside Hutchinson 101.

Student Conduct


Plagiarism is defined as the use of ideas, words, or creations from a publicly available work without formally acknowledging the author or source through the use of appropriate quotation marks and/or references. Both the University of Washington and the School of Drama take plagiarism very seriously. Plagiarism may lead to disciplinary action by the university against the student who submitted the work. Any student who is uncertain whether their use of the work of others constitutes plagiarism should consult the course instructor for guidance before submitting coursework.

Standards of Conduct and Academic Integrity: (see WAC 478-121)

The following abilities and behavioral expectations complement the UW Student Conduct Code.


All students should attempt to communicate effectively with other students, faculty, staff, and other professionals within the School of Drama, expressing ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrating a willingness to give and receive feedback. Students must be able to reason, analyze, integrate, synthesize, and evaluate in the context of the classes they take, and to engage in critical thinking in the classroom and other professional settings.


Students must demonstrate the emotional maturity required for the utilization of intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, and the timely completion of responsibilities in their classes. Further, students should maintain mature, culturally sensitive, and respectful relationships with students, faculty, staff, and other professionals within the School of Drama. Students must be willing to examine and change behaviors when they interfere with productive individual or team relationships.

Problematic behavior documented:

Problematic behavior will be documented by the School and, if deemed appropriate, forwarded on to the University Committee on Community Standards and Student Conduct. If a pattern of behavior or a single, serious lapse in the behavioral expectations becomes evident, the steps below will be followed and the student will be advised that their continuation in the class and/or major is in jeopardy. The student’s instructor and/or appropriate program advisor or teaching assistant will document, either verbally or in writing, the concerning behavior and notify the student that they are receiving a warning. Notification of the warning will be forwarded on to the Executive Director of the School and to the Committee on Student Conduct and Community Standards via email or in hard copy. The warning identifies what the concerning behavior was and warns that any further disruptions or concerning incidents will result in the student being asked to leave the class. When incidents occur that represent a significant impact to the program or its participants, students may be asked to leave immediately without prior warning.

Grading Procedures


An Incomplete is given only when the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work until within two weeks of the end of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student's control. To request an incomplete the student must complete the Incomplete Grade Request form. To obtain credit for the course, an undergraduate student must convert an Incomplete into a passing grade no later than the last day of the following quarter. An Incomplete not made up by the end of the following quarter (summer excluded) will be converted to the grade of 0.0 by the registrar unless the instructor has indicated, when assigning the Incomplete grade, that a grade other than 0.0 should be recorded if the incomplete work is not completed. The original Incomplete grade is not removed from the transcript.

Change of Grade Policy

Except in case of error, no instructor may change a grade that he or she has turned in to the registrar. Grades cannot be changed after a degree has been granted.

Grade Appeal Procedure

A student who believes he or she has been improperly graded must first discuss the matter with the instructor. If the student is not satisfied with the instructor's explanation, the student, no later than ten days after their discussion with the instructor, may submit a written appeal to the Executive Director of the School of Drama with a copy of the appeal also sent to the instructor. Within 10 calendar days, the Executive Director should consult with the instructor to ensure that the evaluation of the student's performance has not been arbitrary or capricious. Should the Executive Director believe the instructor's conduct to be arbitrary or capricious and the instructor declines to revise the grade, the Executive Director, with the approval of the voting members of their faculty, shall appoint an appropriate member, or members, of the faculty of the School of Drama to evaluate the performance of the student and assign a grade. The Dean and Provost should be informed of this action. Once a student submits a written appeal, this document and all subsequent actions on this appeal are recorded in written form for deposit in a department file.

Access and Accommodations

Equal Opportunity

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran. This policy applies to all programs and facilities, including, but not limited to, admissions, educational programs, employment, and patient and hospital services.

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form ( -accommodations-request/).

Disability Accommodations

The School of Drama places great importance on the experience of all students in its classes. Students who have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS) should communicate their approved accommodations to the professor at their earliest convenience and make an appointment to discuss their needs in the course.

Students who have not yet established services through DRS, but who have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), should contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Safety and Evacuation

Evacuation routes are posted throughout the building. In case of a fire, please evacuate and go to the evacuation assembly point, locations of which are posted on building walls. In case of a power outage or earthquake, please stay where you are and, for the latter, protect your head and neck. Students with disabilities which could impair evacuation should notify the instructor early in the quarter so accommodations can be made.

Student Concerns

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as the use of one’s authority or power, either explicitly or implicitly, to coerce another into unwanted sexual relations or to punish another for their refusal to engage in sexual acts. It is also defined as the creation by a member of the University community of an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment through verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

If you are being harassed, seek help—the earlier the better. You may speak with your instructor, your teaching assistant, Drama Undergraduate or Graduate Advising, or the Executive Director of the School. In addition, the Office of the Ombud (206 543-6028) is a university resource for all students, faculty and staff. Community Standards and Student Conduct Office ( is also a resource for students.

Concerns about Instructors

If you have any concerns about a course or the instructor in charge of a course, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, contact the School of Drama’s undergraduate or graduate advisor. If you are not satisfied with the response that you receive, make an appointment with the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director in Hutchinson 101 to speak with the Executive Director.

Concerns about Teaching Assistants

If you have any concerns about a teaching assistant, please see them about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the teaching assistant or not satisfied with the response that you receive, contact the instructor in charge of the course. If you are not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may follow the procedure previously outlined, or contact the Graduate School in G-1 Communications.

Class Content

Throughout history, theatre and performance have grappled with complicated subject matter, including violence, sex, and psychological and emotional conflict. To this end, much of the world’s theatre and performance is “adult-themed” and includes references to or representations of violence, intimate sexual activity, and adult language (including coarse terms, obscenities, and slurs). Performance is a forum in which the world’s conflicts can be contemplated and discussed, and performance can often even be a tool for positive change. As such, the School of Drama believes the formal classroom environment and related academic activities, including productions, lectures, and other events, should be respectful spaces where sensitivity to personal backgrounds, experiences and beliefs can be balanced with rigorous and thoughtful discourse.

If you believe material and/or experiences in the course will compromise the success of your learning, please consider one or more of the following options: 1) approach your instructor and share your concern: you may be able to find a suitable alternative arrangement or assignment; 2) contact a Livewell Student Advocate in Health and Wellness who will help determine how a past incident may be impacting your academic success and will work with your courses and professors:; 3) Contact UW Student Coaching and Care, which has staff trained to help students in distress and in need of multiple levels of support:

Course Schedule

Assignments are due on the day they are listed.

Week One: September 22-28: Introduction and Overview

 Thu, Sep. 26 - Introduction to the class and overview

read “The Origins of Theatre” in History of the Theatre (in class)


Week Two, Sep. 29 – Oct. 5: Origins of Theatre, the Classical Greek World

 Tue, Oct. 1 – begin “Theatre and Drama in Ancient Greece” in History of the Theatre

read The Cyclops by Euripides


Thu, Oct. 3 – read “What Child is This” from The God of Ecstasy (in packet)

read The Bacchae by Euripides


Week Three, Oct. 6 – 12: Tragedy

 Tue, Oct 8 – continue “Theatre and Drama in Ancient Greece” in History of the Theatre

read parts XII-XVIII (12-18) of Aristotle's Poetics (in packet)

begin The Oresteia by Aeschylus (read at least Agamemnon)


 Thu, Oct. 10 – finish The Oresteia (read The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides)


Week Four, Oct. 13 – 19: Women in Classical Antiquity

 Tue, Oct. 15 – finish “Theatre and Drama in Ancient Greece” in History of the Theatre

read “Images of Women” from Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves (in packet)

read Antigone by Sophocles


 Thu, Oct. 17 – read both Lysistrata and The Frogs by Aristophanes


Week Five, Oct. 20 – 26 Hellenistic and Roman Comedy

 Tue, Oct. 22 – begin “Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Theatre” in History of the Theatre

read Old Cantankerous (Dyskolos) by Menander


 Thu, Oct. 24 – read “Unspeakable Histories” by Odai Johnson (in packet)

read The Haunted House by Plautus


Week Six, Oct. 27 – Nov. 2: Roman Blood-Sports

 Tue, Oct. 29 – finish “Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Theatre” in History of the Theatre

read the Passion of Saint Perpetua from What Would You Die For? (in packet)

read “The Gladiators’ Profession” from Michael Grant, Gladiators (in packet)


 Thu, Oct. 31 – Midterm Exam


Week Seven, Nov. 3 – 9: Beyond Rome: The Collapse of Empire, The Rise of the Church, Liturgical Drama

 Tue, Nov. 5 – begin “European Theatre in the Middle Ages” in History of the Theatre

read “The Visit to the Sepulchre” from Medieval Drama


 Thu, Nov. 7 – read Dulcitius by Hrosvitha of Gandersheim

read The York Crucifixion


Week Eight, Nov. 10 – 16: Corpus Christi

 Tue, Nov. 12 – finish “European Theatre in the Middle Ages” in History of the Theatre

read Noah’s Flood, The Play of the Shepherds, The Crucifixion


 Thu, Nov. 14 – read Everyman


Week Nine, Nov. 17 – 23: The Reformation, the Elizabeth Emergence

 Tue, Nov. 19 – begin “English Theatre to 1642” in History of the Theatre


 Thu, Nov. 21 – read Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe


Week Ten, Nov. 24 – 30: The First Professional Theatres; Shakespeare

 Tue, Nov. 26 – finish “English Theatre to 1642” in History of the Theatre

read representative play by William Shakespeare, chosen by the class


 Thu, Nov 28 – Thanksgiving Holiday: NO CLASS


Week Eleven, Dec. 1 – 7: The Spanish Golden Age

 Tue, Dec. 4 – begin “The Theatre to Spain and New Spain to 1700” in History of the Theatre


 Thu, Dec. 6 – finish “The Theatre to Spain and New Spain to 1700” in History of the Theatre

read Fuenteoevejuna by Lope de Vega


Week Twelve, Dec. 8 – 14: Exam Week

 Mon, Dec. 9 – Research Paper/Project due by 5:00pm

 Wed, Dec. 11 – Final Exam: 4:30-6:20pm

Catalog Description: 
Explores the history of European theatre and theatre culture from ancient Greece and Rome, through the High Middle Ages, to the emergence of the first professional theatres in Elizabethan England and Spain in the Golden Age. Prerequisite: DRAMA 201.
GE Requirements: 
Social Sciences (SSc)
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:03pm