Course: ARCN 3003/5003 – Theatre Production Workshop

Professor: Yvan Cazabon

Year: 2008


The Theatre Production workshop was created by Professors Don Westwood and Phil Sharp who, with their students, created numerous theatrical productions in the 70s and 80s both in-house and in concert with Ottawa’s GCTC (Great Canadian Theatre Company) for which they were consultants and collaborators. The design-build workshop returned to the School of Architecture in 2002 under the direction of Prof. Yvan Cazabon who continued collaborative drama productions until 2020.

Early collaborations include in-house and off-site co-productions with Algonquin College’s Drama Studies program staged at the Bronson Centre, the NAC’s 4th Stage, and the Pit in the school of architecture. Other projects include set designs for Carleton’s South Asian Alliance dance competitions and a fund raising production sponsored by the GCTC. 2019 marked the 8th year working in collaboration with Carleton’s English Department. Early productions, directed by Sarah McVie, introduced contemporary interpretations of plays by Shakespeare (As You Like It – 2012, A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2013) and collaged Shakespeareanpassages in five parts (You Will be Mine – 2014). Acting and Directing provided by students in the English department are enhanced by sets, lighting and multi-media stage-craft created by architecture students within the labs of CIMS (Carleton Immersive Media Studio) and more recently the School of Architecture Pit. Recent co-productions have introduced experimental theatre whereby English Department students with faculty member Rebecca Benson, collaborated with students from Architecture to write and construct their own scenes. Productions include Soliloquies, Sonnets & Selfies (Part 1: Water into Wine 2016, Part 2: Letters Home 2017) and Dialogues Duets & Diatribes – Perspectives (2019). Texts were quoted, borrowed, collaged, edited and reconciled in a collaborative experiment of scripting, design and performance of a unique piece of theatre.

Other productions include the multi-act play Love and Information by Caryl Churchill in 2018 and a sound, image and light environment: Life’s Spatial Interludes (2020). This co-production was in collaboration with student-composers in the B.Mus program of Carleton’s Music department. This multi media event, interrupted by the university’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, embraced digital modelling and rendering in a YouTube-based live broadcast event in 2020.


Course Description and Objectives

This workshop introduces the complex workings of live theatre. It is concerned with the theoretical and technical aspects of theatre production including questions of interpretation, abstraction, representation, design and construction. Students in the workshop work closely in teams in order to communicate and debate ideas about specific scenes in plays as well as more general concepts relating to (re)-presentation and live performances.

The structure and scheduling of this workshop is in large part determined by the readings, rehearsals and eventual live performance of a multi-themed play, as set by the participants from Architecture and from the Drama Workshop group from Carleton’s English Department. Working in concert, students and experts from both departments undertake to prepare, produce and present the year’s play.