Plays in Performance

Ref: C2344304

Covid 19 is giving theatre, like the rest of us, a hard time. At the beginning some theatres were streaming previous productions via YouTube, but more recently to cinemas. What will be available after Christmas is unknowable. Mounting new productions while socially distancing is difficult, and some have turned to zoomcasts. We shall be looking at one or more local productions and shall discuss how this works: is it theatre? Is it a play? What is drama? We will also consider the process of adapting a text to a dramatic form looking at The Lace Market Theatre's "Journal of the Plague Year 1665/2020". We shall also spend part of the course looking at more conventional drama which is accessible online. This is likely to be modern classics for the class to choose. Possibilities are: Anton Chekov’s "The Wood Demon", Oliver Goldsmith’s "She Stoops to Conquer", DH Lawrence's "The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd" or "The Collier’s Friday Night" and Harold Brighouse’s "Hobson’s Choice".

Course aim

We will study theatre available to us now, probably online, that is free or has minimal cost. We will spend some time looking at adaptations of theatre for lockdown times, including zoomcasts, but not forgetting traditional forms of drama.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit:
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • This course is for a group of around 15 students studying in a live video-learning platform conference and an online digital learning environment platform from the comfort of your own home.
  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • You need only an enthusiasm for drama or theatre or plays in all their forms

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

  • Identify and discuss ways of presenting drama outside a theatre
  • Explain the relevance of works written in earlier times to today's world
  • Explain how the plays studied convey social and political commentaries, while keeping us entertained
  • Show how these plays and their authors fit into the development of drama
  • Describe the theatrical techniques used in the productions of the plays studied

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • 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
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • You will be asked to watch plays and excerpts online, between classes, read or listen to short extracts and to feed back your impressions to the class.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be able to keep a record of your progress and achievement using photos, audio, text or documents uploaded into the WEA’s digital learning platform, WEA Canvas.
  • You will be able to keep a digital portfolio of your work on WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas.
  • 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
  • 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
  • In each class we will use break-out rooms for small group discussion, which will also help students get to know each other, as well as reading and discussing texts

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • A questioning mind

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • You need only an enthusiasm for drama in all or any of its forms

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • It is still possible, even in lock-down to join local theatre groups and become a friend of particular theatres.

Download full course information sheet

Plays in Performance


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • 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 2020
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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