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DRAMA 599 C: Advanced Studies in Theatre Arts

Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 4:50pm
HUT 202
Joint Sections: 
Tikka Ollie Sears

Syllabus Description:

Drama 435 - Acting Up: Teaching Theater for Change

 University of Washington, Spring 2022   

Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:30 – 4:50pm,  Hutch 202,

 5 credits  



Tikka Sears
Affiliate Faculty, School of Drama
Director, Theater for Change UW
Instructional Consultant

Center for Teaching and Learning

Office: CTL 100 Gerberding Hall                              
Office hours:  By appointment                                                       

Email: tikka@uw.edu

Phone: (206) 543-6359

Carolina Nieto

PhD Candidate 

Department of Communication

Graduate Student Assistant, Theater for Change, 

Center for Teaching and Learning

Office: CTL 100 Gerberding Hall

Office hours: By appointment

Email: cnieto@uw.edu


**This syllabus is a living document and subject to further change or revision, as needed, to best realize the educational goals of the course and meet students' needs. Any revisions will be announced via Canvas and in class. 


COURSE DESCRIPTION                                        

This is a multi-modal, interdisciplinary course that navigates the intersection of theater and social justice as tools to promote equity, inclusion and belonging in classrooms, institutions, and community contexts.  We will explore topics such as race and racism, gender, sexuality, disability and other topics through embodied arts based practices. We will engage Theater of the Oppressed (TO) community storytelling, collaboration and dialogue to question and disrupt institutional power, privilege, and oppression on individual, group, and systemic levels. 


Theater of the Oppressed (TO), developed by Augusto Boal,  is a pedagogical approach to liberatory education that amplifies marginalized voices and experiences of oppression. TO promotes a transformative model of learning in which people express, analyze and collaborate to challenge multiple dimensions of oppression and create personal and social change as well as imagine individual and collective healing and liberation.

TO provides us with tools to challenge the dominant narrative by practicing embodied methods of counter-storytelling, dialogue, and critical self-reflection. 

As a pedagogy course, our focus will be on how students may apply their learning in their current or future roles as educators, artists, community organizers and scholars. Students will collaboratively create short plays and engage a small audience of their peers in Theater of the Oppressed facilitated activities at the end of the quarter.

The course consists of in class experiential and embodied learning, written assignments, collaborative group work, playwriting and performance.

“Anyone can do theater, even actors. And, theater can be done everywhere, even in a theater.” 

“The theater itself is not revolutionary: it is a rehearsal for the revolution.” 

- Augusto Boal



By the end of the course, students will demonstrate the ability to:


  • Critically reflect on our intersecting social identities and their relation to systems of power and privilege in our everyday lives.  
  • Engage in critical dialogue and analysis of prejudice, discrimination, power, and oppression and how these dimensions operate structurally and in our lives. 
  • Practice interactive social change theater and arts based pedagogies as a way to challenge power, privilege, and oppression.
  • Integrate social change theater and embodied arts based approaches in one’s teaching, scholarship, and community engagement.
  • Create and perform interactive Theater of the Oppressed plays using dialogue and equitable collaboration.  



All course readings are located in the modules section of the canvas site. No additional texts required. 

We encourage class members to bring a notebook, tablet, or computer for in-class reflection and group activities.  

This is a theater based class and you should come to class prepared to move in comfortable clothing and shoes that allow for  movement.

Learning materials for this course encompass readings, videos, and other modalities. You are expected to complete all learning materials and come to class prepared. In line with the process of co-creating our learning environment, some learning materials are already listed while others may be determined by the instructor and students throughout the course of the quarter. 



We believe students learn best in an inclusive and respectful classroom environment. As educators, our role is to facilitate and moderate the learning process by creating positive and supportive learning environments in which students feel comfortable making mistakes and taking risks. We believe that students and educators can find  excitement,  enjoyment and liberation in the teaching and learning practice. We hope to provide different pedagogical tools to help students to find their own path to excitement, enjoyment and liberation in their learning process. We believe that every student enters the classroom with valuable histories, experiences and knowledge that contribute to different ways of learning and knowing that we can all learn from.  We hope that we can create a learning community where we are conscious of not monopolizing dialogue and or interrupting others so all experiences and voices are heard. 

Ultimately, we hope to collectively create a learning space in which we all are co-educators and co-learners able to listen to others’ views with an open mind while articulating your own in thoughtful ways. 



Student Responsibilities

    Your learning in this class is based on active participation, group work, and completion of assignments. Learning social change theater and dialogue is an ongoing, collective, and reflective practice. Therefore, your active participation is essential. It forms the basis for your own learning, the learning of your peers and instructors, and the success of the class as a whole. We will be doing a variety of activities this quarter that emphasize principles and strategies for successful collaborative engagement. 



  1. Participate in class activities consistently.

 You will benefit from handouts, activities and class discussion; but we also need your participation to establish a thoughtful group dynamic that provides encouragement and support! Collaboration and communication is key for this learning community. Peers rely on each other for group activities. 

  • If you cannot attend class, please contact us via email (CC both instructors) before missing class.  
  • If you know already that you will be missing two or more classes, you must let the instructors know as soon as possible. 
  • You are expected to notify the instructors and your collaboration group regarding emergencies or unavoidable absences, in advance whenever possible.
  • It is also your responsibility to get notes on missed course material from a classmate.  
  • If you miss a class there will be a make-up reflection assignment.
  • Stay for the entire class period. If, for whatever reason, you will be late for class or need to leave class early, you should inform the instructors in advance (within 24 hours.)  


  1. Participate in class regularly, and listen and respond respectfully.

 Know that the class will benefit from what you contribute. The development of a supportive learning environment that promotes learning and growth between educators and learners is fundamental to this course and to arts-based pedagogies and social change interactive theater. As a learner-centered classroom, we all have wisdom and experience to share. It is essential to this learning environment that we cultivate respect for everyone seeking to learn, for the professionalism of the instructor, and for our general goals of academic freedom.  Differences of viewpoint or concerns should be expressed in terms which are supportive of the learning process, creating an environment in which students and facilitators may learn to reason with clarity and compassion, to share of themselves without losing their identities, and to develop an understanding of the communities in which they live.

    We recognize that diverse backgrounds, embodiments, and experiences are essential to the critical         thinking endeavor at the heart of university education. Because of this, we expect you to follow the UW Student Conduct Code in your interactions with us and your colleagues in this course. Conduct that is harmful to others and disrupts the learning process will not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary action and/or removal from class. Disrespectful interactions will be addressed in the moment (i.e. called-in). We are committed to establishing a learning environment that promotes equity and is inclusive of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, and physical disability, among others. Please alert us if you notice discriminatory behavior or feel discriminated against. We hope that you feel welcome to talk with one of us at any point so we can work to address it.

    Please avoid behaviors that are can be disruptive to learning include, but are not limited to

  •   having side conversations
  •   talking while others are speaking
  •   using cell phones, mp3 players, etc; or wearing headphones
  •   arriving late or leaving early
  •   disrespectful and discriminatory comments
  •   Internet surfing, checking email and other forms of multi-tasking during class activities


  1. Keep up with the work and be prepared for classComplete assigned readings, writing assignments and reflections and come prepared for each class session.  You are expected to be able to integrate readings into class discussions and embodied activities. 


  1. Timely completion of assignments.

You are expected to turn in assignments when they are due.  If an emergency arises, you should notify your instructor so that a new date for submitting your work can be arranged.  Please make arrangements in advance with the instructor for any due dates that you may miss. Points will be deducted for late assignments.


  1. Check Canvas and your email daily for additional information or announcements about the course.

When we need to contact the whole class, we will post a message on “Announcements.” As soon as possible, make sure that your “Notifications” are set so that you receive a message whenever we post a new announcement. Otherwise, you may miss information you need or find yourself checking the web site at random  to see if there is anything new you should know.

  1. How do I get help with Canvas?
  2. Contact UW IT at help@uw.edu.
  3. How do I contact the instructors with a question?
  4. First,  go to the “Course Questions” discussion board to see if others have asked a similar question and received a response. If not, please post your question on this discussion board and we will respond to you there.
  5. What if my question is about an individual situation?
  6. Please email your question to both instructors.   You may also schedule an appointment with one or both of the co-instructors.


Class grading and Assignments:

In this course, we will be using a combination of instructor graded, peer graded and self-assessment grading. The rubrics for grading are built on completing assignments in time, integrating feedback from your instructor and peers, and supporting the learning of everyone in the course.  Credit will be given for active participation in all aspects of the course--in-class and completion of assignments (and their respective tasks) by their due dates.  Collaboration and communication is key for this learning community. Peers will rely on each other for group activities. Active participation and contributions in group activities such as the group play making projects and Theater of the Oppressed class performance workshop are necessary to how we grade this course.  




Reading Discussion Questions and engaging with them in class

15 %

Embodied class exercises and activities


10 %

Short reflection assignments  (3 @ 5 points each)

15 %

Sharing Individual Stories assignment

10 %

Collaborative Theater Project

-Multi-part Interactive collaborative theater group playmaking project

-Community sharing workshop using Theater of the Oppressed methodologies and other interactive theater methods

30 %

Final Reflection and/or Lesson Plan and Facilitation

Students in Drama 490 F can choose to do EITHER the final reflection assignment or the Lesson Plan and Facilitation Assignment

Graduate Students in Drama 599 C Need to Complete a combined project which includes a final reflection and a lesson plan and facilitation assignment.

20 %


Assignment Descriptions (brief overviews; more details and assessment criteria will be provided on a timely basis throughout the quarter)  


Reading Discussion Questions:

For each in class meeting you will have to engage with 1-3  Learning Materials that will give context, concepts and can preview the class activities.
You will need to submit 1 question per each Learning Material assigned to the class. The questions are submitted in a Canvas discussion board the night (11:59pm) before the class.
The Learning Materials will be posted in Canvas, as well as a description of how to write the questions. 

To prepare for class:

  • In each assigned reading, underline or mark 2 brief passages that you think would be

productive and interesting to address in class and raise 2-3 questions, critiques, or

comments to help focus our discussions (posted in canvas the night before). You will be asked to share these passages and discuss your questions in class.

  • Read specifically with application in mind: How might these ideas inform or change the

way that you teach/learn/engage in activities? How might you use the specific practices or strategies discussed in the reading? How do the learning materials connect to our class activities? If practices or strategies that reflect the class activities  aren’t discussed, what possible practices or strategies would you suggest?


The 2 reading questions assignments with your lowest grades will be dropped at the end of the quarter.


Embodied class exercises and in class activities

Active participation in embodied activities, class group work and written in class reflections. Participation will be assessed through: your demonstrated preparation for class, contribution and engagement with class embodied activities, and on occasional short assignments done in-class (done in groups and individually).

The 2 class activities with your lowest grade will be dropped at the end of the quarter. 


Short Reflection Assignments:

Short Reflections Due on Canvas:  These reflections will be between 300-400 words and the reflection prompt will be available at least one week before they are due.  The reflection is related to a combination of both, the class activities and the weekly course readings. 

Reflection 1 Due Sunday April 10th by 11:59pm

Reflection 2 Due Tuesday April 19th by 11:59pm

Reflection 3 Due Wednesday May 18th by 11:59pm


Sharing Individual Stories Assignment:

Due on Canvas: Sunday April 24th at 11:59pm

Collaborative Theater Group Project Timeline:                                 Students will have some in class time to work on these assignments as well as need to coordinate collaborative time outside of class-time to work together.

       First Draft Script due via Canvas: May 2rd, 11:59 p.m.

        Reflection on Equity, Collaboration and Group Process due: May 3rd, 11:59 p.m.

Final Draft Script due via Canvas: May 6th, 11:59 p.m.

       Forum Theater Performances and Interventions  May 17th

Final Draft of Group Facilitation Plan May 23rd. 11:59p.m.

Community Sharing Workshop (In Class)    May 26th

Final Reflection and/OR Lesson Plan and Facilitation Assignment
* (Note for students that choose the lesson plan assignment there will be an option to facilitate a portion of their lesson plan in the 10th week of the quarter.)

Final Reflection
Final reflection assignment. More instructions and guidance will be posted on canvas. Directions will be given the seventh week of class and available on canvas. 


Lesson Plan and Facilitation Assignment
The student will complete a short lesson plan assignment utilizing classroom learning and tying it to their own field of study. Students will be able to pick a topic that weaves their own expertise and context and how they might utilize interactive theater in their own teaching or creative facilitation. Students will have a chance to consult with course instructors to help choose a topic and develop the lesson plan activities. More instructions and guidance will be posted  on canvas. 

     Due by Tuesday, June 7th, 11:59 p.m.


Grading Scale
The final grade will be based on the percentage of possible points earned in the class using the conversion table below:

This scale is in accordance with the standard UW grading system. If you are interested in learning more about the grading scale, you can find it on this page.

Please note that grades below 0.7 are recorded as a 0.0 by the Registrar and the student will not receive credit for the course. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation.


> 98% = 4.0 (A)

87% = 3.0

76% = 2.0

66% = 1.0

96-97% = 3.9

86% = 2.9

75% = 1.9

65% = 0.9

95% = 3.8 (A-)

85% = 2.8 (B-)

74% = 1.8 (C-)

64% = 0.8  (D-)

94% =3.7

84% = 2.7

73% = 1.7

63% = 0.7

93% = 3.6

83% = 2.6

72% = 1.6


92% = 3.5

82% = 2.5

71% = 1.5

< 62% = 0.0 (E)

91% = 3.4 (B+)

81% = 2.4 (C+)

70% = 1.4 (D+)


90% = 3.3

80% = 2.3

69% = 1.3


89% = 3.2

79% = 2.2

68% = 1.2


88% = 3.1 (B)

78% = 2.1 (C)

67% = 1.1 (D)



Life continues to be complex and full of challenges and surprises. Please do not hesitate to communicate with us when you need support or have questions. Aligned with the overarching goals and purpose of this course, it is of the utmost importance for us to take care of ourselves and each other.


Face Coverings Recommendations for Spring Quarter:

Face coverings are strongly recommended indoors during the first two weeks of spring quarter (March 28 through April 8), regardless of vaccination status, due to many people returning to campus from travel and gatherings over spring break.

After April 8, face coverings are recommended indoors, particularly for the following:

  • University personnel and students with approved COVID-19 vaccine exemptions; weekly testing continues to be required for these individuals.
  • Immunocompromised individuals or those at high risk for severe illness (particularly when COVID-19 community levels are medium and high)
  • Childcare settings
  • Activities that may generate more respiratory aerosols and involve frequent close contact (being within 6 feet of others), such as indoor performing arts
  • Crowded settings especially when there is a decreased ability to distance from others or when in spaces that may not be well ventilated
  • When an EH&S risk assessment of activities determines there is a higher risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (e.g., working with unvaccinated populations)

When you wear a mask, choose a well-fitted, high-quality mask — such as a KN95, KF94, N95 or surgical mask — which when worn helps protect you as well as those around you.

Personnel and students should carry a face covering with them while on campus. Free masks can be picked up at a variety of locations on each UW campus.

Personal reasons to wear a face covering

While not required in most indoor settings, face coverings remain an important intervention against respiratory illnesses of all kinds and offer an additional layer of protection. Individuals may choose to wear a face covering if they are in close contact with someone who is at high risk for severe illness (such as a household member) or have close contact young children who are not yet eligible for vaccination.

Some people may choose to wear a mask out of consideration for people who may be at high risk in public settings, or if they want to further reduce their own risk for any reason. Please remember that individuals may need to or choose to wear — or not wear — masks for a wide range of reasons. Thank you for respecting those needs and choices.


Access and Accommodations
Your experience in this class is important to us. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to us at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but 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), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or uwdrs@uw.edu or disability.uw.edu  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.

Basic Needs Security
If you are facing food insecurity: Any Hungry Husky http://www.washington.edu/anyhungryhusky has resources for both on and off campus.

Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)
The Center for Teaching and Learning is dedicated to supporting the UW teaching community. Their services are grounded in research, draw on established pedagogical approaches, promote innovation, and are deeply collaborative in nature. They provide individual and group consultations as well as workshops. To arrange an appointment or consultation, visit their contact page http://www.washington.edu/teaching/about-the-ctl/contact-us/ 

Counseling Center
For free counseling, assessment, referrals, etc. at Schmitz Hall, Health & Wellness at Elm Hall, and Hall Health: http://www.washington.edu/counseling/

Covid 19 FAQs for Students

Spring 2022 – Covid-19 Expectations and Recommendations
Masking is strongly recommended indoors, but not required, for the first two weeks of the quarter, regardless of vaccination status.Masking is recommended indoors, but not required, for the remainder of spring quarter, regardless of vaccination status.

FAQ for students on Covid: https://www.washington.edu/coronavirus/student-faq/
Everyone is required to be fully vaccinated unless they have approved medical or religious exception. Avoid drinking or eating during in-person class meetings. If in need of food or drink, student should step outside the classroom. Enroll in the Husky Coronavirus Testing Program to help monitor symptoms and get access to Covid-19 tests on UW
campuses. For testing in other locations, please, see the WA Department of Health website.

If you have tested positive to Covid-19 or had close contact exposure notify UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team at covidehc@uw.edu or 206-616-3344. Also, notify instructor to arrange make-up assignments or deadline extensions. Information is confidential however instructors may decide immediately to change class format to limit spread.

Guidelines for Covid flowchart: https://www.ehs.washington.edu/resource/covid-19-public-health-requirements-and- guidance-flowchart-updated-22522-1175?_ga=2.223587992.206548737.1648137927-923271154.1505159679. Enroll in Washington Exposure Notifications – WA Notify, a free tool for smartphones that alerts users if they have been exposed to Covid-19.

Diversity UW
Includes contact information for a number of networks, including the Q Center, Native and Tribal Relations, Southeast Asian Community, Education & Leadership Network, the Women’s Center, and more: http://www.washington.edu/diversity/ 

Members of the campus community can access information on the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in a document that outlines Frequently Asked Questions. https://www.washington.edu/omad/daca-faq/

Emergency Aid at UW
Emergency Aid assists students who are experiencing unexpected financial hardships that may disrupt their education or prevent them from earning their UW degree, including:

  • Emergency medical/dental costs
  • Housing and living expenses
  • Family emergencies
  • Natural disasters
  • Loss of income
  • And more…

For more information: https://www.washington.edu/emergencyaid/ 

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 (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/).

Information Technology (UW-IT)
For any technology help, please call 206.221.5000 or email help@uw.edu. http://www.washington.edu/itconnect/   

Leadership Without Borders:  Offering resources and support for undocumented students at UW: http://depts.washington.edu/ecc/lwb/

Let’s Talk : Let’s Talk is a program that connects UW students with support from experienced counselors from the Counseling Center and Hall Health Center without an appointment. Counselors hold walk-in hours at two sites on campus. Let’s Talk offers informal consultation – it is not a substitute for regular therapy, counseling, or psychiatric care.

Talking with a counselor can help provide insight, solutions, and information about other resources.

Let’s Talk drop-in visits are:

  • Free
  • Confidential
  • No appointment necessary

Let’s Talk is available during autumn, winter, and spring quarters, and does not run during finals or breaks. https://www.washington.edu/counseling/services/lets-talk/ 

Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC)
The Odegaard Writing & Research Center is open to all members of the University of Washington community -- students, staff, and faculty and provides writing and research support. For more information and to make an appt for Library Research Consultations and Writing Consultations please visit http://www.lib.washington.edu/ougl/owrc 

SafeCampus: 24 hour help line for UW community, 206-686-SAFE

Student Parent Resources: Offering resources for student parents, including childcare assistance: https://www.washington.edu/financialaid/types-of-aid/child-care-assistance/


Veterans Center: Offering support for student veterans and their dependents:https://depts.washington.edu/vetlife/

If you are looking for something that you don’t see offered here, please let us know and we are happy to help you find support.

Catalog Description: 
Independent projects or group study of specialized aspects of theatre arts. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Last updated: 
September 24, 2022 - 9:27pm