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Fine Arts (FA) – Theatre

Chair: E. Asselstine
Professors: P. McKinnon, D. Rubin, J. Rudakoff
Professors Emeriti: J.G. Green, J. Henry, R. Singer, D. Smukler, P. Thomson
Associate Professors: E. Armstrong, E. Asselstein, E. Batdorf, I. Buchli, G. Dobie, M. Greyeyes, A. Guevara, B. Hyman-Zatzman, S. Kerwin, P. Lampert, L. Levin, J. Mayberry, P. McKinnon, T. Przybylski, M. Schweitzer, P. Silver, R. Stuart
Associate Professors Emeriti: D. Bentley Boice, K. Bradley, D. Buck, J. Courtney, R. Fothergill, D. Pequegnat, D. Rotenberg, A. Stephenson
Assistant Professors: J. McKernan
Graduate Program Director MFA: E. Armstrong
Graduate Program Director MA/PhD: M. Schweitzer (interim)

General Information for Fine Arts Students

York’s Department of Theatre, with 22 full-time faculty members teaching more than 50 half- or full-year courses for majors, is the largest theatre department in Eastern Canada. Because of the department’s location in Metropolitan Toronto, students have access to Canada’s biggest concentration of English-language professional theatre companies and artists.

The Department of Theatre offers BA, Specialized Honours BA and Specialized Honours BFA degree programs, providing students with different approaches to achieving their own theatrical goals. (For information on the MFA in acting, directing (teaching or Canadian Stage) and design or the MA/PhD in theatre studies see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar.)

All students must be evaluated by the department for admission as well as meet the academic requirements of the university.  Students with credits from other postsecondary institutions may possibly be placed in first- or second-year courses, depending on their background and ability. It should be noted that a satisfactory academic standing in itself does not guarantee admission to any course. Be aware that the study of theatre requires a special commitment and demands enormous amounts of time and energy.

The first undergraduate year is a foundation year for theatre majors and does not focus on a certain area of study. The student will learn about all aspects of theatre, from acting and backstage work, to understanding theatre as it existed in other times and places. In this first year, students must also complete several courses in other areas of the University.

In their remaining years, students may choose a broad program of study or apply to follow a more specialized option in acting, devised theatre, production, design, playwriting and dramaturgy, criticism, dramatic literature, educational theatre or theatre history.

Admission to courses above the first-year level is usually by audition, portfolio and/or interview, with the student’s work in first year both within the department and the University given particular emphasis. Advancement within the department is based upon demonstrated proficiency in one or more aspects of theatre and a satisfactory academic standing as defined in this Undergraduate Calendar.

Most majors take far more than the minimum number of courses in theatre and, for that reason, the department recommends completing the general education requirements as soon as possible. The Specialized Honours BA degree, which is usually chosen by those considering graduate study and careers in teaching, criticism or playwriting and dramaturgy, requires at least 48 credits in theatre with a majority of these in theatre studies. The Specialized Honours BFA degree for professionally-oriented students such as acting, requires students to take 81 credits in theatre, and in production and design, 60 credits in theatre, the majority of which are studio courses. Detailed regulations and programs of study are available in the Faculty of Fine Arts Rules and Regulations section of this Undergraduate Calendar and in the department’s handbook.

Students pursuing an Honours degree in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies may combine a 42 credit or 48 credit Honours Major in an arts discipline with a second major in theatre (theatre studies or production streams only). Honours degree students in the Faculties of Environmental Studies, Fine Arts, Liberal Arts and Professional Studies or Science and Engineering may also qualify for a 30 credit theatre minor in theatre studies or theatre production. For details contact the department.

Department classes and productions are only part of the excitement of studying at York University. The Centre for Film and Theatre provides a focus for most departmental activities. Winters College is a designated fine arts college and home for many of our students. Professionals from across Canada, the US, England, France, Eastern Europe, China and other countries have come to York University to share their vision and expertise.

Three-credit courses normally meet three to six hours a week for one term. Six-credit non-studio courses meet either three or four hours a week for the whole academic year. Six-credit studio courses normally meet either six or eight hours a week for the whole year. Additional rehearsal and/or crew hours are often required. Not every course listed here is offered every year.