Online TA 9 - Appreciation of Theatre Arts

Taught by Robin Aronson, Ph.D.
Cabrillo College
Department of Theatre Arts
6500 Soquel Drive
Aptos, California 95003
(831) 477-5201 ext.1362

Welcome to Online Appreciation of Theatre Arts. This course is offered as a full term, 16 week class and as a 6 week summer session. The summer session is an intensive version of the full term course.

Appreciation of Theatre Arts
is a comprehensive exploration of the art form known as theatre. Its goal is to familiarize the student with the various aspects of theatre, and to cultivate an appreciation of theatre's place in the human experience. It covers the literary, historical, design, architectural and performance aspects of theatre. It introduces the student to the fundamental principles and practices of theatre, and to the many collaborative artists who contribute their special talents to the production process.

Theatre is a living art, and this course aims to conjure for the online student a sense of theatre's aliveness; it therefore includes, along with the textual component (reading and writing), theatre going experiences.


  1. Teach students how theatre works both artistically and technically
  2. Help students develop a critical ability in evaluating a theatre production
  3. Show students how to analyze a playscript
  4. Challenge the creative and artistic imagination
  5. Instill an appreciation and love of theatre 

Textbook: The Theater Experience, 13th edition, Edwin Wilson, McGraw-Hill. You can purchase the 13th edition, print or online version, at the Cabrillo College Bookstore. The 12th edition can also be used, and can be purchased from online booksellers (, and No earlier editions can be used. Textbook is required; materials that may come with are not used in the course.

A Streetcar Named Desire

Play: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. You can find a copy at the library, in used book stores and at online bookstores.  Online purchases range from $1-10 at, and Three copies are on reserve at the Cabrillo College library.

The course is comprised of 5 parts, corresponding to the 5 part format of The Theater Experience. Each part covers a distinct aspect of theatre arts.


The following assignments are standard for each unit:

1. Textbook Reading-— The Theatre Experience by Edwin Wilson

This comprehensive and engaging textbook contains the course content, plus an abundance of beautiful photographs of past and contemporary theatre productions.  By the time you finish reading the book, you'll have a wealth of information about theatre and, hopefully, a new found and deeper appreciation!

2. Open Book Multiple Choice Quizzes

There are 5 quizzes that correspond to the 5 Parts of the textbook.  

3. Discussions

Students respond to weekly Discussion topics and to the postings of classmates.  

4. In addition to the reading, quizzes and discussions, the following projects are assigned:

  • See live theatre productions. Submit theatre critiques. Theatre Critique Guidelines are provided.
  • Read A Streetcar Named Desire and submit Play Analysis. Play Analysis Guidelines are provided.


Your grade is based on the timely and successful completion of all assignments.
Discussion Board
Play Analysis
Theatre Critiques

Tips for successful involvement in this course:

  1. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the reading assignments.
  2. Stay on top of all reading and assignment deadlines. 
  3. Be part of the learning community by responding thoughtfully in Discussions.
  4. Do your best work, and encourage your classmates to do the same.