Approaches to Early English Performance - MT879

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
View Timetable
7 30 (15)







This module will examine the social, material and experiential conditions of medieval and early modern drama. It will draw on a range of theoretical approaches to do so and consider the implications of applying these various approaches. Students will consider the implications of analysing performance as an ephemeral art form and the difficulties of doing so at a historical distance. This will entail analysing a wide range of primary sources, as well as engaging with current debates in Performance Studies and about contemporary theatrical 'reconstruction' projects, such as Shakespeare’s Globe and Staging the Henrician Court. The module is structured around five key approaches to performance which students will examine in relation to a late-medieval and early modern playtexts over the course of ten weeks, as follows:


This module appears in:

Contact hours

weekly two hour seminar

Method of assessment

100% coursework (1 x 5,000 word essay)

Indicative reading

Medieval Drama: An Anthology, ed. Greg Walker (Blackwell, 2000).
English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology, ed. David Bevington et al (Norton, 2002)

Learning outcomes

• Students will improve their skills of 'close reading' and analysis, enabling them better to analyse primary sources, including performance text, theatre history documents and performances
• Students will develop their knowledge of a range of medieval and early modern texts and the original conditions of their staging
• Students will develop their knowledge of the function and significance of performance theory and its use in the study of medieval and early modern performance, and of the various methodological and theoretical debates which surround it.
• Students' ability to engage critically with and integrate a range of material, textual and theatrical primary material will be cultivated

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.