And Before Shakespeare......The Mystery Plays

Ref: C2341804

It sometimes seems as if the explosion of drama onto the Elizabethan stage sprang fully formed from nowhere. But, of course, as Shakespeare himself observed, nothing will come of nothing. There is imput from classical and contemporary European drama, but England too had a rich and developing history of drama, before theatre. Starting from a religious base, simple bible tales were transformed into realistic, and often comic, drama. Gradually invented stories commenting satirically on the original appear, then allegorical plays and and by the sixteenth century plays produced simply for entertainment. The day will be based on a play from one of the cycles of mystery plays and the more ambitious Second Shepherds’ Pageant from the Wakefield plays. The day will begin with a 2 hour session, followed by a lunch break and two one and a half our sessions with a tea break.

Course aim

To explore the roots of English drama, by reading, discussing and acting out our earliest plays. To increase our understanding of the place of drama in the English mediaeval world.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • An enthusiasm for drama, curiosity about its development and a willingness to experiment

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explain the origins of English drama
  • Describe the start of the development from religious to secular drama in England
  • Suggest ways of presenting mediaeval plays
  • Show an increased understanding of mediaeval attitudes and their similarities to ours today

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Reading and discussing the plays themselves in class, and acting out scenes using only simple props.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

And Before Shakespeare......The Mystery Plays

Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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