Indigenous Playwrights | Online Drama Courses Arts and Science ONLINE

Indigenous Playwrights

DRAM 303/3.0

A survey of the work of First Nations, Inuit and Métis playwrights, exploring the stories, concerns and aesthetics of these contemporary, mostly Canadian, theatrical practitioners. Course work involves reading, discussion, and writing descriptively, critically or creatively about selected pieces in artistic, social and/or political contexts.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the winter term

Learning Outcomes

After completing DRAM 303, students should come away with the following knowledge and skills:

  • An understanding of some of the historical and contemporary social/political/economic circumstances that inform the creative work of First Nations playwrights in 21st century Canada.
  • An understanding of some of the alternative world views that inform, and are expressed in, both the creative and critical work of these playwrights.
  • A familiarity with the dramaturgical strategies and the political effects of those strategies in contemporary plays by First Nations playwrights.
  • The ability to effectively and responsibly use and share information in support of these playwrights, and their work as artists/thinkers, to develop a better understanding of the contextual foundation of their plays.
  • The opportunity to explore and engage openly with both familiar and unfamiliar issues, ideas, world views, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.
  • The ability to combine and synthesize existing ideas and images in original ways that are marked by a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking and risk-taking in their own work as students, scholar-critics, and potential future artists.

The ability to develop and effectively express ideas in writing using a variety of genres and styles.


DRAM 303 is designed as a humanities elective for students from various backgrounds with an interest in Indigenous playwrights. It offers a brief introduction to the history of these playwrights and their work, but its main focus is on the artists and their world views, as communicated through their writing.

Students will read a variety of plays and essays by prominent contemporary Indigenous Playwrights and consider the social and artistic issues associated with various dramatic and theatrical techniques. Course work involves reading, discussing, and responding to the ideas, world views, and creative provocations raised by these artists.

Some commentators say these plays are part of the fulfillment of Louis Riel’s prophecy (see the quote posted above). Others take John Ralston Saul’s conception, in A Fair Country, of an indigenously-inflected Canadian identity to heart. However interpreted, this body of work represents an alternative artistic theatre practice here on Turtle Island - one focused through traditions of storytelling, traditional beliefs, political articulation and activism, social rescue, cultural survival and reconstruction.


The historic and ongoing harms of settler colonialism are impossible to avoid. As such, several of the plays in this course contain representations and/or discussions of difficult subject matter including sexual violence, abuse, suicide, racism, misogyny and intergenerational trauma. Facing these harms is an unavoidable part of studying this literature.


Winter 2023
Course Dates: 
Jan 09 - Apr 10, 2023
Exam Dates: 
April 14 - 27, 2023


20% - First Impressions Responses
20% - Guides Discussion Forums
60% - Four Short Play Reports (15% each)

*Evaluation Subject to Change*


Professor Grahame Renyk ( and Tara Beagan (

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a week (120 hours per term) in study/practice and online activities for DRAM 303.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks, if required, can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.