Postgraduate Course: Drama, Religion and History (THET11047)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||In Drama, Religion and History students are encouraged to analyse in detail a range of set plays and theatrical revivals, alongside pertinent secondary literature. By focusing upon how individual productions reflect and interact with their distinct historical settings, the complex relationship between theatre and religion will be investigated.
A. The aim of this interdisciplinary course is to enable students to be able analyse in detail a range of set plays and theatrical revivals, alongside pertinent secondary literature. By focusing upon individual productions and their distinct historical contexts, the complex evolving relationship between theatre and religion will be investigated. This course goes beyond textual analysis of individual plays to consider the ways in which historical context informs the production and reception of individual plays, both adaptations and revivals.
B. Different kinds of plays and theatrical revivals performed during the long Twentieth Century (1895 - Present) will be considered in detail, including: Greek drama (week 1), medieval mysteries (2), morality and passion plays (3-4), early modern (5-7) and modernist dramas (8-10), and contemporary productions (4, 11 etc). The relationship between the original plays and later revivals (as forms of reinterpretation or adaptation) in their historical settings will also be considered.
C. The course normally involves one two-hour seminar per week (and will usually be linked with the honours course Theatre, Religion and the Search for Peace), and a distinct one one-hour Postgraduate tutorial in smaller groups (This additional hour devoted to the postgraduates has worked well in other PG courses when paired with honours courses). The seminar and tutorial will consist of a combination of interactive lecture-style presentations, debates, brief rehearsed readings and discussions based upon readings and viewings prepared in advance. Each student will be required to give at least one short presentation at a tutorial during the semester on the text for the day. PGs will be encouraged to present their findings regarding the impact of the historical context upon individual productions. (It is possible that this course may run some years as a stand alone level 11 course, and it would then be based around a two hour PG seminar/tutorial, with additional voluntary viewings). Through participation in discussions, as well as through the written work and presentations included in the assessment schedule, students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 3 Divinity/Religious Studies courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this).
We will only consider University/College level courses.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||A 3000 word essay (80%) and«br /»
participation and presentations in tutorials / seminars (20%).
||There will be an opportunity in Week 4 or 5 to discuss an essay plan.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- View and interpret plays in a critical, discerning and imaginative fashion, demonstrating particular awareness of the significance of the historical context
- Summarise, compare and critically discuss specific interpretations of individual productions, revivals and/or adaptations. Engage explicitly with significant literature relevant to set plays, and where commentaries disagree students should be able to rehearse debates and to adjudicate between differing accounts
- Draw upon appropriate approaches within historical analysis and theatre criticism when interpreting the religious themes, interpretations and reinterpretations within both the set and selected secondary plays.
- Demonstrate an ability to identify, to understand and to critique key terms, concepts and themes in the emerging field of theatre and religion, as well as good judgement about how to assess the relative importance of items on course bibliographies, especially in relation to the set & secondary plays.
Indicative Primary and Secondary/Alternative Plays in order of appearance:
(NB - Set plays may vary from year to year.)
Sophocles, Antigone, c.441 BCE, trans. by R. Gibbons & C. Segal (Oxford: OUP, 2003)
Anouilh, Jean, Antigone (London: Methuen & Co Ltd, 1951)
Brecht, Bertolt, The Antigone of Sophocles, 1948 trans. by Judith Malina (New York, NY:
Applause, 1984), see especially the Prologue. [Brecht¿s play is based on the poet Friedrich
Holderlin¿s 1804 translation of Sophocles¿ tragedy into German.]
Beadle, Richard and King, Pamela M., York Mystery Plays: A Selection in Modern Spelling
(Oxford: OUP, 1984)
Davidson, Clifford (ed.), The York Corpus Christi Plays (Kalamazoo: Western Michigan
Harrison, Tony, Plays 1 - The Mysteries (London: Faber and Faber, 1985)
Anon. Everyman, 1510. Cawley, A. C., Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays (London: Orion,
Duffy, Carol Ann, Everyman (London: Faber and Faber, 2015)
Marlowe, Christopher, Doctor Faustus (New York: Longman, 1995) [Probably using text A]
Goethe, Faust: A Tragedy ¿ Part One, 1808 and Part Two, 1832.
Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1610/11. In David Lindley, editor, The New Cambridge Shakespeare
(Cambridge: CUP, 2013).
Molière, Tartuffe, 1664, The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, and other Plays translated by Maya Slater
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001 )
Wilde, Oscar, Salomé, 1891/4. Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest and other plays.
(London: Penguin, 1986).
Shaw, George Bernard, Saint Joan, 1924. G.B. Shaw, Saint Joan: A Chronicle Play in 6 Scenes
and an Epilogue (London: Constable & Co, 1924). Read also his introduction.
Elliot, T.S., Murder in the Cathedral (London: Faber and Faber,1935)
Brecht, Bertolt, The Life of Galileo, 1945. In Collected Plays: Five. Translated by. John Willett.
John Willett and Ralph Manheim, editors, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose (London:
Miller, Arthur, The Crucible, 1953 (London: Penguin Classics, 2000)
Beckett, Samuel, Waiting for Godot: A Tragi-comedy in two acts, 1954 (London: Grove, 1982)
Hare, David, Racing Demon, (London: Faber and Faber, 1990), part of Hare¿s Trilogy, which
also includes Murmuring Judges, (London: Faber and Faber, 1991 and the Absence of War,
London: Faber and Faber, 1993.)
Many of these plays and other resources are available online (e.g. Records of Early English
Drama [REED] at the University of Toronto - http://reed.utoronto.ca/). Additional digital
resources and their links will be provided at the start of the course.
Indicative Secondary Literature:
Artaud, Antonin, Theatre and its Double, trans. Mary Caroline Richards (New York, 1958)
Axton, Richard, European Drama of the Early Middle Ages (London: Hutchinson,1974)
Banham, Martin, The Cambridge Guide to Theatre, Revised Ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 1995)
Beadle, Richard, The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre (Cambridge: CUP,
Beckwith, S., Signifying God: Social Relation and Symbolic Act in the York Corpus Christi Plays,
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003)
Bevington, David, editor, Medieval Drama (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2012 )
Bevington, David, editor, Medieval Drama (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2012 )
Boal, Augusto, Theater of the Oppressed (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1993)
Brecht, Bertolt, Brecht on Theatre, trans. John Willett (London, 1978)
Brook, Peter, The Empty Space (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968)
Brown, John Russell, The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre (Oxford: OUP, 1997 )
Brown, D., God and Mystery in Words: Experience through Metaphor and Drama (Oxford:
University of Oxford Press, 2008)
Buckner, S. Clark and Matthew Statler, editors, Styles of Piety: Practicing Philosophy after the
Death of God (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006). [Especially, Ch. 8 ¿Tragic
Dislocations: Antigone's Modern Theatrics¿ and Ch. 9 ¿A Touch of Piety: The Tragedy of
Carpenter, Sarah. ¿Performing the Scriptures: Biblical Drama after the Reformation¿ in
Happe, P. & Husken, W. (eds.). The Bible on Stage: Theatrical Traditions in Medieval England.
Brill, Vol. Ludus 14, 2015)
Hutcheon, Linda, and Michael Hutcheon. ¿ ¿Here's Lookin' at You, Kid¿: The Empowering
Gaze in Salome¿. Profession (1998): 11¿22.
Case, Sue-Ellen. Feminism and the Theatre. 2nd edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2008)
Cheney, Patrick, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Christopher Marlowe (Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press, 2004)
Cohen, Cynthia E. Roberto Gutiérrez Varea, Polly O. Walker, editors, Acting Together I:
Performance and Creative Transformation of Conflict. Volume I: Resistance and Reconciliation in
Regions of Violence (Oakland: New Village Press, 2011)
Cohen, Cynthia E. Roberto Gutiérrez Varea, Polly O. Walker, editors,
Acting Together II: Performance and Creative Transformation of Conflict Volume II: Building Just
and Inclusive Communities (Oakland: New Village Press, 2011)
Cohn, Ruby, Just Play: Beckett¿s Theatre (Princeton, NJ, 1980)
Corbett, Tony, The Laity, The Church and the Mystery Plays (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2009).
Davidson, Clifford, Festivals and Plays in Late Medieval Britain (Aldershot and Burlington,
VT: Ashgate, 2007)
Cornelius, R. M. Christopher Marlowe's Use of the Bible (New York : P. Lang, 1984).
Degenhardt, J.H., Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage
(Edinburgh University Press, 2010)
Diller, H.J., The Middle English Mystery Play: A Study in Dramatic Speech and Form, translated
by Frances Wessels, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)
Dolan, Lill, Theatre & Sexuality (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010)
Dox, Donnalee, The Idea of the Theater in Latin Christian Thought: Augustine to the Fourteenth
Century (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007)
Eckehar, Simon editor, The Theatre of Medieval Europe: New Research into Early Drama
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008 )
Eliot, T.S., Religious drama: mediaeval and modern. (New York: House of Books, 1954)
Elliott, J., Playing God: Medieval Mysteries on the Modern Stage (Toronto: University of Toronto
Esslin, Martin, The Theatre of the Absurd (Harmondsworth, 1968), especially ¿The absurdity of
the Absurd¿ and ¿The search for the self¿.
Fisher, Jerilyn and Ellen S. Silber, Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender
(Westport, CT. Greenwood Press, 2003). [Especially, ¿Righteous Activist or Confrontational
Madwoman: Sophocles' Antigone (441 B.C.E.)¿, p. 18ff.]
Friedman, Saul S., The Oberammergau Passion Play: A Lance Against Civilization, (Carbondale:
Southern Illinois University Press, 1984)
Gardiner, H.C., Mysteries' End: An Investigation of the Last Days of the Medieval Religious Stage,
(North Haven, CT: Archon Books, 1967)
Gardley, Marcus, A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes ¿ or the Gospel of Tartuffe (London: Bloomsbury,
Goodman, Lisbeth, with Jane de Gay, editors, The Routledge Reader in Gender and Performance
(Abingdon, Oxon and New York, NY: 2014 ).
Goldhill, Simon, Reading Greek Tragedy (Cambridge: CUP, 1986)
Hall, Grace R.W., ¿The Tempest¿ as Mystery Play (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company,
1999) The second chapter on ¿The English Cultural Climate and Mystery Play Scholarship¿
is particularly pertinent.
Howarth, W.D., Molière: A Playwright and his Audience (Cambridge: CUP, 1982)
King, P.M., The York Mystery Cycle and the Worship of the City (Suffolk, UK: D.S. Brewer,
Kernodle, George R., The Theatre in History (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1989)
Kolve, V.A., The Play Called Corpus Christi (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1966)
Krauskopf , J., A Rabbi's Impressions of the Oberammergau Passion Play (Philadelphia: Rayner
Johnson, Todd E. and Dale Savidge, Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2009).
McNeill, Dougal. The Many Lives of Galileo: Brecht, Theatre and Translation's Political
Unconscious. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang Academic. (2005).
Mongrédien, G. Daily Life in the French Theatre at the Time of Molière, trans C.-E. Engel
(London: Allen and Unwin,1966).
Normington, K., Modern Mysteries: Contemporary Productions of Medieval English Cycle
Dramas, (Woodridge, Suffolk, 2007)
Parker, John. The Aesthetics of Antichrist: From Christian Drama to Christopher Marlowe (Ithaca,
NY: Cornell University Press, 2007)
Pettegree, Andrew. Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2005), especially chapter 4 ¿Reformers on the Stage¿.
Prosser, E., Drama and religion in the English mystery plays: A re-evaluation, (Palo Alto, CA:
Stanford University Press, 1966)
Rogerson, M., Playing a Part in History: The York Mysteries, 1951-2006, (Toronto: University of
Toronto Press, 2009)
Shapiro, J., Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play
(London: Little Brown & Co, 2000 and New York: Vintage Books, 2001)
Sheers, Owen, The Gospel of Us (Brigend: Poetry of Wales Press, 2012)
Silk, M. S. Tragedy and the Tragic: Greek Theatre and Beyond (Oxford: OUP, 1998)
Stanislavsky, Konstantin, An Actor Prepares (London: Methuen, 1988 )
Sticca, S., The Latin Passion play: its origins and development summary, (Albany, New York:
State University of New York Press, 1970)
Streete, A., Early Modern Drama and the Bible: Contexts and Readings, 1570-1625 (Plagrave
Taxidou, Olga, Tragedy, Modernity and Mourning (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press,
Trexler, R.C., Reliving Golgotha: The Passion Play of Iztapalapa. (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 2003)
Trussler, Simon, The Cambridge Illustrated History of British Theatre (Cambridge: CUP, 1994
Quash, Ben, Theology and the Drama of History (Cambridge: CUP, 2005).
Versényi, Adam, Theatre in Latin America: Religion, politics and culture Cortés to the 1980s
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1993)
Walker, Greg, editor, Medieval Drama: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000)
Williamson, E., The Materiality of Religion in Early Modern English Drama (Farnham: Ashgate,
Willett, John, The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht: A Study from Eight Aspects (London: Methuen,
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||i. Gather, analyse, evaluate and critique evidence from a wide range of
primary and secondary sources.
ii. Organise and structure arguments and draw these together into a
coherent conclusion in written and oral form.
iii. Formulate a coherent written or oral presentation on the basis of material
gathered and organised independently on a given topic.
iv. Organise their own learning, manage workload and work to a timetable.
v. Effectively plan, and possess the confidence to undertake and to present
scholarly work that demonstrates an understanding of the aims, methods
and theoretical considerations relevant to students working in areas such as:
Theology/Religious Studies and/or English Literature.
|Course organiser||Prof Jolyon Mitchell
Tel: (0131 6)50 8922
|Course secretary||Dr Jessica Wilkinson
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227