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Theatre 110 - Understanding Theatre - Susan Hinshaw

Course:Understanding Theatre
Professor:Susan Hinshaw
  • Online
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Photo of instructor


I'm Susan Hinshaw and I am happy to be teaching Understanding Theatre online this semester!   

I have worked as an actor in London, Seattle, and Los Angeles, appearing in numerous leading roles on-stage and in films. After graduating with an MFA in acting, I trained and studied with many notable artists including Barry Kyle (artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company), members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Michael Shurtleff, George Shadanoff (formerly of the Chekhov Theatre, in partnership with Michael Chekhov), and studied for seven years with Jose Quintero (cofounder of the Circle in the Square Theatre, collaborator/ interpreter of Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neil). I have studied voice using the Linklater technique with training from the Nobel institute in Sweden, and movement using the Alexander technique with training under Jean-Louis Roderique. 

I have been teaching theatre for thirty-three years and have been at COC for 22 years.   

I look forward to working with you and sharing my love of theatre with you!  

Course Description

Official course description:

Analyzes theatre and the theatrical event from the audience perspective, including the functions of the producer, architect, playwright, director, actors, designers, and critics. Students will be required to attend live theatre productions. (Due to Covid-19, our live theatre productions will be virtual, and will have no cost to attend them.)

Student learning outcomes:

Appraise and evaluate a theatrical or dramatic presentation through an examination of production elements such as the script, direction, acting, costumes, scenery, properties, music, choreography, lighting, and sound.

Course Objectives:

 1. Analyze the nature of theatre and its role in society.

 2. Determine the impact audience participation, theatre space and environment has on  a theatrical event.

 3. Differentiate the goals, processes and tools of individual theatrical collaborators and explain their contribution to theatrical production.

 4. Assess the historical, artistic, social, and philosophical contexts in which theatre exists.

 5. Critically analyze dramatic literature and performances.

 6. Propose alternative solutions to theatrical production situations.

What to Expect in this Course

This course is 100% online and requires you to work independently. We will not be meeting on Zoom.

You need a computer with Internet access that you can rely on. You will need enough time on the computer to take part in the course and complete all the assignments and quizzes. Plan to have access to a computer. The college is loaning computers to students who do not have computer access. 

You need the following software on the computer:

  • Internet browser
  • Microsoft Word

You will utilize the following apps and techniques:

  • Web browser software. 
  • E-mail sending, receiving, forwarding, saving, printing, attaching files, and retrieving attachments. 
  • Web-based communication tools, such as discussion forums, chat, and webinars. These are all accessed through the Canvas website.
  • Word processing software including creating, modifying, saving, and retrieving Word files.  

Types of Assessments

Discussion boards

Individual homework assignments: (Examples of such assignments include writing personal responses to course material, analyzing play structure, and play critiques.

Due to Covid-19, our live theatre productions will be virtual, and will not have a cost to attend them.)


Textbook Information

Online educational resources will be provided.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 07/11/2021 Sub#: 367