Stephen Heatley


Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

The Story of an Idea: Moving with a Playmaking Education (2015)

This dissertation combines the disciplines of theatre, film, and education through a living inquiry which tells the life story of a playwriting idea. I document my playwriting process for a new full-length play written from research-based sources, which include in-person work at archives in London, UK and Los Angeles, CA. I examine the source of the idea and its continued influences. I move with its evolving nature through the interstitial spaces, especially as it pertains to what I term Father/author(ity), a relational presence within my creative writing. I ask what the making of art may teach if we are able to accept the invitation to learn. The subject (and object) of my study moves through the charged creative dynamics in the making of the 1962 biographical film, Freud (Huston). The resulting play, The Freudian Palimpsest of Monty and John, was staged and read for an invited audience as part of the research. I locate my work as a combination of theory as practice within an extended community of playwrights, drama educators, and theatre artists. I reference Freud’s theories of play and writing (Freud & Nelson, 2009), as I inquire through the arts based educational research method of a/r/tography, which sees knowing/making/doing as métissage.To make what Brook has called the “invisible visible” (1968, p. 48), I use dialogues and prose poems and auto/biographic narrative reflections on the source idea(s). I reveal some elusive ‘understandings’ offered as a playmaking education from within the process. The importance of learning through questions as provoked by making the play is analysed. The organizational concepts of the palimpsest and underwriting and Freud’s magic slate are examined. I reflect on the role of fear in creative writing. I offer Britzman-like notes on the “teacher’s illness” (2009, p. 123) and the redemptive joy of making art. Through seeing the entire project as an exegesis, a recursive, reflexive and responsive description of the story of a source idea for a playwriting process, I bridge the gap of knowledge by building further understandings of father/author(ity) and playmaking education.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

i wouldn't have said that if i'd known (2022)

No abstract available.

Springboards: an actor's investigation into preparing and performing Michel Tremblay's Hosanna (2021)

No abstract available.

Lion in the streets: safely exploring the dangerous (2019)

No abstract available.

The Crucible: an exploration of the classical mixing with the contemporary (2018)

This is the written component of my thesis production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. This document chronicles my experience directing The Crucible on the Frederic Wood Theatre at the University of British Columbia for the Theatre at UBC’s 17/18 season; from pre-rehearsal planning, advising meetings, design meetings and planning, script analysis, rehearsal journals, rehearsal process, to finally post show reflections, and my growth as a director throughout this whole process. The first section outlines my script analysis and thinking of how to unlock, understand, and best direct The Crucible in a 2018 world with a feminist perspective in mind.The second section entails my thoughts about the play from auditions, design meetings, and rehearsals with the actors until opening night on March 15th, 2018. This portion reveals my thoughts about the play as I am making new discoveries and unlocking questions or puzzles around the play in real time during the entire pre-production and rehearsal process. The third section includes my analysis and personal reflections on the final product of The Crucible and myself as a director.

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The Fluidity of Collaboration: Directing Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice (2016)

The Fluidity of Collaboration: Directing Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice explores the development of my directorial practice as I directed Eurydice in the UBC Department of Theatre and Film 2015-2016 season January 21 – February 6, 2016 at the Frederick Wood Theatre.The first sections of this document consists of the original script analysis I submitted as the basis for the production. This analysis traces my thinking about the play from first impressions and dominant images, through character and structural breakdown, the given circumstances of production and my intended approach to the text. The second section describes the process of producing the play, from the initial design concept meetings, the design refinement, budgeting and finalization process, casting, rehearsals and production. The bulk of this thesis, the second section focuses on how collaboration with designers, actors, coaches, stage management and technicians changed my thinking about the play. I also discuss the challenges that we faced through the design and rehearsal process, and how I attempted to overcome these challenges.The third section is a self evaluation, written after the run of Eurydice. In the evaluation, I compare my original intentions to the reality of the production, note the elements of the production I thought were generally successful, and examine the less successful aspects of the play. Specifically, I note the way that collaboration with the team of theatre artists that brought Eurydice to the stage changed my initial vision for the play. This collaborative effort brought many exciting and innovative ideas to the show, but it also diluted some of the thematic content I wanted to forward. Thus the overall question of this thesis is an exploration of the impact of collaboration on theatre creation.

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An Experiment in Alchemy: Directing Triumph of Love, The Musical (2015)

An Experiment in Alchemy: directing Triumph of Love, the musical explores my directorial practice and the challenges presented in staging Triumph of Love as part of the UBC Department of Theatre and Film’s season at the Frederic Wood Theatre, March 19 – April 4, 2015.As presented in the following pages my primary objective was to present a wholehearted, entertaining production of this rarely presented musical. My practice explored the process of directing musical theatre by placing equal weight on text, music and movement. I believe that when all three elements are explored equally in the process of a musical, the alchemy of these three elements can have transformational effect on the audience. I also examined the idea of artistic collaboration within the role of director. In doing this I was able to overcome some of my previous challenges and anxieties and re-discover my strengths and love for the practice of directing theatre. This thesis includes my director’s preparation of the script, the journal chronicling my production process, production photos and a chapter containing my reflections on the experience in its entirety.

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"Elasticity and Image": Directing George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man (2011)

“Elasticity and Image”: Directing George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man examines the research, preparation, and rehearsal process behind Arms and the Man, staged at the University of British Columbia’s Frederic Wood Theatre from March 18-27, 2010. My objective was to discover how to create a production that stayed true to the text, while appealing to a more contemporary audience. The ideas of elasticity and image were cornerstones in the development and rehearsal process. I was interested to see in which ways I could stretch the world of the play while maintaining its authenticity. During rehearsal, I wanted to create an environment of exploration and support the actors in staying connected to the text. Chapter 1 identifies key areas of research on George Bernard Shaw’s life leading up to and directly following 1894, when he wrote Arms and the Man. It includes bibliographical information. Chapter 2 is a detailed directorial analysis. Chapter 3 is a journal that follows my process from early design meetings, through development and research, rehearsal and the complete run of the production. Chapter 4 is a reflection, focusing on two elements of the process, using the theme of elasticity as the foundation for creation and the transition from the rehearsal hall into the theatre.

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The utterance of our names: The practice and the person in vocal work (2010)

The author’s intention in undertaking a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre wasto gain a deeper understanding of vocal training for actors and to investigate themethodologies of a number of master voice teachers. Her program of study undertakenwithin the Department of Theatre and Film had a voice specialization. The learningframework included graduate courses in directing, assisting Gayle Murphy in voiceclasses and Neil Freeman in Shakespeare text classes in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Actingprogram at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and vocal coaching on theatreproductions at UBC. The author was a participant and then an associate instructor atCanada’s National Voice Intensive led by David Smukier and Judith Koltai. As well asobserving Dale Genge’ s voice class at Langara College’s professional theatre trainingprogram, Studio 58, she participated in Richard Armstrong’s International VoiceWorkshop at the Bauff Centre for the Arts.From this multi-layered learning experience, the author examined a variety ofapproaches to vocal and physical practices which increased her understanding of theevolution of voice work. She also reviewed her own early vocal development as well asher experience as a voice teacher and coach, and reflected on her pedagogical practice.In this thesis the author describes a greater awareness of the critical role the bodyplays in vocal work and outlines her discovery of the importance of examining thelanguage used by teachers. She found that asking students to articulate their direct, livedexperience aided in student development. As well, she reviewed her previous assumptionthat teachers choose either a prescriptive teaching model or an exploratory one exclusively, and concluded that there is value in both. Her investigations into theconnections between voice and body provide a clearer sense of the breadth of possibilitywithin this work. For the author, this course of study has reinforced the universality of thework: to begin an inquiry into the mysteries of the human voice is to begin to askourselves, at the deepest level, who we are.

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