Early Drama - EN302

Sorry, this module is not currently running in 2019-20.




Available as Wild module



This module will introduce students to a range of medieval and early modern dramatic genres, from ninth-century Latin church drama to the commercial theatres of Elizabethan London. Students will learn about methods for analysing past performances and existing texts, as well as how drama interacted with and responded to pivotal moments in British history, and the culture, politics and religion of the period. As such, the module will function as an introduction to medieval and early modern studies more broadly and a platform from which to undertake early English literature and drama modules at Years 2 and 3. Students will read and discuss playtexts in modern translations, both as literary objects and live performance events. Regular optional site visits and screenings will contribute to students' understanding of the drama's contexts, how plays might work in performance and to what extent they still speak to twenty-first century audiences.

Lectures and seminars are designed to be varied and interactive, with the opportunity for everyone to participate and to develop academic skills. The module is assessed by seminar contributions, creative and research-based coursework and a final end-of-year project, which will allow students the freedom to explore a topic of their choice creatively.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

1 hour lecture and 2 hour seminar per week

Method of assessment

Coursework (40%), Project (40%), Seminar Contributions (20%)

Indicative reading

Essential: Early Drama booklet (available at the beginning of the module)
Essential: Christina M FITZGERALD and John T SEBASTIAN (eds.) - 'The Broadview Anthology of Medieval Drama' (Broadview Press, 2012)
Recommended: Janette DILLON - ' The Cambridge Introduction to Early English Theatre' (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
Recommended: Richard BEADLE and Alan J FLETCHER (eds) - 'The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre' (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following subject specific learning outcomes:

• an understanding of and the ability to identify and discuss key medieval and early modern dramatic genres, the different aims and objectives of those forms and their effects in performance
• a sound knowledge and understanding of the ways in which early drama speaks, responds, and contributes to its immediate social, religious, political and cultural contexts, and how early plays communicated with their audiences
• a sound knowledge of the period, its continuities and breaks, its significant events and their impact on English culture
• a basic knowledge of and an ability to analyse key poetic forms and literary devices of the period, as evidenced in the playtexts studied
• an awareness of the methods and resources used for research in medieval and early modern studies

On completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following generic learning outcomes:

1. Research Skills
• an understanding of how to locate and employ additional contemporary sources
• the ability to identify and search for appropriate secondary and critical resources
2. Analytical Skills
• skills in the close reading of literary and dramatic texts
• the ability to analyse playtexts within a performance context
3. Writing & Presentation Skills:
• a command of written and spoken English and the ability to articulate a coherent critical argument
• presentation skills
• good practice in formatting and referencing conventions
• an ability to employ secondary and additional primary sources in a way that usefully illuminates dramatic and literary texts and their relationship with immediate contexts

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