Shakespeare in Performance

Ref: C3741633

The course aims to study Twelfth Night in detail by reading together and watching/listening to performances on dvd/audio. The focus of our study will be performance and contextualising the play within its historical framework. The play was probably written in 1601- 2, in the middle of Shakespeare's career. The play is concerned with the extraordinary things done in the name of love adn is considered one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies alongside Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Music has been written for and about the play, including an opera by Smetana, and works by Brahms, Schubert and Sibelius. We will enagage with the linguistic and performance challenges which the text presents to actors, designers and directors. By analysing a variety of performances we will be able to evaluate the choices made by the creative teams.

Course aim

An opportunity to study Twelfth Night in detail with a focus on performance.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • The course is open to anyone with an interest in Literature and theatre and is taught at level 3.

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

  • Read and discuss Twelfth Night from an informed perspective
  • Identify the genre and give examples of the play's themes
  • Analyse and evaluate ideas for characterisation, staging and dramatic realisation
  • Compare and contrast the stage and filmic interpretations of the play ( where possible).

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

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • You will need your own copy of the play, either as an individual copy or in a Complete Works of Shakespeare. You may also find a pen/pencil and notebook useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • We will watch a version of the play together .The websites for the RSC, National Theatre and Globe have archive materials and video clips to view. You may want to find out more about Shakespeare and his life .

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • Attend a workshop run by a professional company or see a performance with confidence.... Both the RSC and National Theatre have productions on in 2017 -18.

Download full Course information sheet

Shakespeare in Performance


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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