Spring 2022 - CA 351 D100

Acting VI: The Artist in Ensemble Process (3)

Class Number: 7690

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 11:30 AM – 2:20 PM
    GCA 4210, GOLDCORP

  • Prerequisites:

    CA (or FPA) 252, 253, 350, and 354. Corequisite: CA 355.



The sixth and final Performance acting course features student-led creation of original in-class performance(s). Students with credit for FPA 351 may not take this course for further credit.


CA 351 Acting VI: The Artist in Ensemble Process (ENVIRONMENT 3) will use ensemble process to create student-led creations in original off-site performances. From site specificity, site-responsive, immersive, site-adaptive and staged ecologies, students will research, experiment and create original works in response to, or for a specific site. The course will concentrate on time-based interactive sound walks, immersive forms and the body in response to architecture. By activating public space as a venue to explore private and subjective experiences, students will explore how site and architecture can adjust our point of view, influence the structure of the work, or text, by altering the relationships between spectator and performer and questioning what is real or imagined. We will look to the past, present, and projected future of a given site to reveal a narrative both visible and invisible, to observe the everyday occurrences within a location and ask how an audience might navigate through the fiction and reality of a site-responsive, immersive, or site-adaptive work.
This course aims to create a working laboratory where students can choose to be inspired to work in response to a site, extant plays, new playwrights, a novel, an overheard conversation, an article in the newspaper, collective written text and/or from personal writing. As a collective, we will discuss, question and discover through rigorous exploration the relationship between movement, text, architecture, sound, light, site and design. We will investigate how an audience experiences a given work and how we can translate each project’s concept from a rehearsal room into a live performance.

The course combines techniques in creating devised live performance, building ensembles and the vocabulary of composition, improvisation, the language of cinema, the exploration of emotion, desire, movement and working in concert or in contrast with music. Students will engage in the process of writing as it relates to the development of the students' devised work, scoring, planning, research, project statements, methodologies, form, point of view, dialogue, characters, plot and editing.

Visiting artists in time-based sound walks, immersive forms and artists in the field of sound and dance will be invited into the class to share their knowledge of site-specific work as well as developing complex time-based structures to create off-site work. We will explore and review leading artists' work in site-specific and off-site works both internationally and locally.


  • discuss, analyze, and apply the composition tools: their use and application as both a performer training tool and to create composition for off-site work.
  • utilize a greater theatrical presence through listening skills and heightened body awareness.
  • attain kinesthetic awareness, group listening, strength, flexibility and freeing the physical instrument.
  • ability to explore, perform, direct, adapt, design and create new devised work site specific locations.
  • perform various warm-up exercises, stretches, and ensemble training and be able to lead rehearsals and ensembles.
  • experience in working with actors, building a character and physical performance using the training, improvisations, text analysis and research.
  • attain a greater understanding of ensemble work by creating, constructing and writing original material.
  • attain a greater understanding of source material, translating themes, novels and texts to create time-based work.
  • ability to create performance scores, create project proposals and to write clearly about the work generated in class.
  • the ability to collaborate and conduct rehearsals, delegate and communicate with co-collaborators.
  • experience gained in writing original material, creating devised work, time- management and telling a story through light, sound, text, music, new technology and movement.
  • a greater knowledge of creating, navigating and encouraging a positive working environment made of discipline, rigor and a shared vocabulary of performance.
  • understand the value, discipline, research and focus it takes to create new innovative work.


  • Participation, attendance, engagement, positive work ethic, knowledge of vocabulary, collaboration engagement 30%
  • Articulation of research and process / project documentation of scores / project proposal / writing / website 20%
  • In class progress showings, micro assignments, ability to experiment, adjust and apply constructive criticism within the work 15%
  • Final Presentations (Three showings: includes research, rehearsals, technical rehearsals, performance) 30%
  • Visiting Artist attendance and participation 5%


Please note the class will present a combination of micro assignments in class, as well as three larger works in February, March and April of 2022. Students will be expected to rehearse outside of class time.

Special note: Sound Design: a working knowledge of sound design and sound editing programs such as Logic and Audacity is highly recommended. Students will record, conduct field recordings and create voice overs in which sound will be scored and layered under narration for the exploration of the sound walks, immersive sound loops and sound environments.

*Anticipated Guest Artists /Desire Line Sessions: Site-Specific Theater Company, Begat Theater of France and the immersive theater company PunchDrunk. To be confirmed.


Physical Training: we will be covering and utilizing the vocabulary of composition, improvisation, the language of cinema (close-up, medium shot, long shot and point of view), exploration of emotion, desire, movement and working in contrast or in concert with music. The course will cover elements of Viewpoints, visual art and dance - tempo, duration, kinesthetic response, repetition, shape, gesture (behavioral and gestural), architecture, spatial relationship, topography - and apply these to composition as it relates to a text, body, design or theme.

Attire: Please come prepared to be physical and wear clothes appropriate for movement and ensemble work.



Source material, articles and reading material given out throughout class on the class website.

Off Sites: Contemporary Performance Beyond Site-Specific by Bertie Ferdman

The Viewpoints Book: – A Practical guide to Viewpoints and Composition by
Anne Bogart + Tina Landau

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.