Skip Course Information

Course Information

Instructor Info:William MacAdams
Office Extension x6202
TA Info:Skye Murie
Vicki Capote
Term: 2014S
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 4
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 4

From anti-Apartheid Protest Theater to Teatro Campesino to the street performances of ACT-UP, theater artists and performers have often taken the lead in envisioning and embodying social change. What sparks their passion? How do they balance theatrical craft with an activist vision? And what is the impact of their work? In this course, students will read key texts and see videos of the work of many of these artists as a way to explore the dynamic, electric, and sometimes explosive relationship between artists and their time.

Course Objectives:
  • To introduce students to a range of artists who embody, celebrate, and provoke social change
  • To engage deeply with the artists’ work through both dialogue and creative response – rooted in questions
  • To find connection between the artists in the course and the work we see and envision in order to imagine how its lineage can be extended (and reinvented)  for our own time and place
  • To explore work of ‘theater and performance of social change’ on the Hampshire campus and beyond
  • To recognize that no course can summarize a field as broad and deep as this – so to plant seeds for ongoing exploration
Evaluation Criteria:

Students in the course will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Active engagement in class.  Engagement includes completing the reading, sharing ideas and listening actively.
  • Attendance and punctuality
  • Sharing of in-class presentations and creative responses, and doing so rigorously and with a sense of daring
  • Attendance at two ‘Theatre and Performance of Social Change’-related events in the Valley over the course of the semester writing and a short (2-3 paragraph) response for each.  Possible events at the end of the syllabus.
  • Writing assignments, including a 5 page exploration of an artist (2/20); and a vision statement (5-7 pages) for your own social change-inspired theater or performance (one page proposal 3/31; final paper 4/28 - the final project can also take the form of a video, an on-line presentation, or another medium of your choosing); several shorter writing assignments, as described below.

A 1-2 page self eval, turned in during the final class and posted on-line.  Note that you cannot receive an evaluation without completing the self eval

Additional Info:



ATTENDANCE IS ESSENTIAL: two absences will not affect your evaluation; three will be reflected in your evaluations; four, with rare exception, will result in no evaluation.

LATE ARRIVALS (once the doors have been closed) will be counted as an absence

Written assignments must be typed, and double spaced, on 8 ½ X 11 paper with one inch margins on all sides, using a 12 point font maximum. 

Plagiarism is “the presentation of the work of another person, or other persons, as if it were one’s own, whether intended or not. This includes published and unpublished work, material on the Internet and the work of other students and staff.   Citation: Glossary, University of Wellington, New Zealand    (

Plagiarism will result in a number of consequences, outlined in more detail at:

Silence your cell phones, and don’t text or take calls during class



Although the structure of the course will vary from week to week, we will typically explore artists for two class sessions: 

Class 1:  In small groups, we’ll develop a list of questions that will frame the conversation; followed by a presentation and dialogue about the material, including video and, possibly, Skype sessions

Class 2:  Creative responses, in which students share individual creative responses that the readings evoke



Readings will be posted to the Moodle one week prior to when they are assigned.  Please buy (or check out from the library) the following book.  We will read it on 2/26, so please order soon to allow time (and in case there are limited copies available).

Liars, Thieves and Other Sinners on the Bench, by Jo Carson