Ancient Greek Theatre - DR347

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
4 30 (15) DR A Varakis-Martin







The module introduces students to historical theatre traditions that are remote from present stage conventions. It offers a study of some of the key ancient Greek plays and a detailed exploration of the societal conditions and theatrical realities of 5th century BCE, allowing for an understanding of theatre as an artistic product of a particular historical context and culture. Modern stage adaptations of Greek drama will also be considered, taking account of issues regarding historical and cultural transposition. As comparative foil, the module will also discuss non-European 'classical' traditions such as Japanese Noh theatre, and the Indian theatre tradition based on the Natyasastra.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Contact hours = 40
Independent Study Hours = 260
Total learning hours = 300

Method of assessment

30% - Essay of 2.000 words
50% - Essay of 3.500 words
20% - Group lecture presentation

Indicative reading

Easterling, P. E. ed. (1997) The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy. Cambridge: CUP
Postlewait, T. (2009) The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Historiography. Cambridge: CUP
Postlewait, T., and B. McConachie, eds. (1989) Interpreting the Theatrical Past. Iowa: University of Iowa Press
Nellhaus, Tobin et al, eds. (2016) Theatre Histories: An Introduction. 3rd totally revised ed. Abingdon and New York: Routledge
Rabinowitz, Nancy Sorokin (2008) Greek Tragedy. Oxford: Blackwell
Wiles, David (2000) Greek Theatre Performance. Cambridge: CUP
McLeish, Kenneth and Trevor R. Griffiths (2003), A Guide to Greek Theatre and Drama. London: Methuen.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

- Demonstrate a knowledge of ancient Greek theatre and performance;

- Articulate an understanding of the relationship between ancient Greek theatre, drama and performance and the specific political, cultural, and social contexts in which it was produced;

- Demonstrate a specific understanding of the work and significance of key theatrical practitioners (for example, ancient Greek playwrights, and performers);

- Undertake analysis of non-realistic dramatic texts and performance traditions that are informed by myth, ritual, and oral traditions different from our own, present conventions and expectations;

- Demonstrate research skills in using secondary and, where available and appropriate, primary materials such as ancient iconography and artefacts.

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