Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Divinity : Divinity

Undergraduate Course: Theatre, Religion and the Search for Peace (DIVI10096)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Divinity CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn Theatre, Religion and the Search for Peace students are encouraged to analyse in detail a range of set plays, productions and theatrical revivals, alongside pertinent secondary literature. Through this detailed analysis, and by focusing upon how individual productions portray the search for different kinds of peace, the complex relationship between theatre and religion will be investigated.
Course description Academic Description:
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 carrying out this detailed analysis and focusing on how individual productions portray the search for different kinds of peace (e.g. positive or negative peace), the complex evolving relationship between theatre and religion will be investigated. This course goes beyond the textual analysis of individual plays to consider the ways in which different productions engage in practices of adaptation and re-interpretation.

Syllabus/Outline Content:
Different kinds of plays and theatrical revivals performed over the last one hundred years 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 re-interpretation or adaptation) will also be considered.

Student Learning Experience Information:
The course involves one two-hour seminar per week and one one-hour tutorial in smaller groups. The full class seminar (2hrs) will consist of a combination of interactive lecture-style presentations, brief rehearsed readings of short extracts from the set play, and debates about the play and set texts. The smaller tutorial groups (1hr) will provide the opportunity for students to discuss the weeks set text(s) in detail. Each student will be required to give a short presentation on the text for the day at one tutorial during the semester. The
additional one-hour small tutorial group has also proved successful in other classes (e.g. Film, Religion and Ethics) and ensures that even less talkative/confident students are able to contribute/participate. There are a number of precedents for a third honours contact hour in New College and beyond, which is vital for the intended pedagogical approach and the creative coverage of primary and secondary texts. (For students from the English department this hour replaces their hour-long Autonomous Learning Group). Through participation in seminars, prepared readings, and tutorial discussions, as well as through the written work and the examination included in the assessment schedule, students will demonstrate their achievement of the intended learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Theatre, Religion and the Search for Peace (THET10064)
Other requirements Students who have previously taken the following course MUST NOT enroll: Theatre, Religion and the Search for Peace (THET10064)
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting 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? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. View and interpret plays in a critical, discerning and imaginative fashion.
  2. Summarise, compare and critically discuss specific interpretations of individual productions, revivals and/or adaptations. Engage explicitly with significant & relevant literature, & where commentaries disagree students should be able to rehearse debates & adjudicate between differing accounts.
  3. Draw upon different appropriate critical approaches when interpreting the religious themes and the different kinds of peace enacted within the set plays.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to identify and understand key terms, concepts and themes in the emerging field of theatre and religion and good judgement about how to assess the relative importance of items on course bibliographies, especially in relation to the set plays.
  5. Develop transferable skills in presentation, public reading of plays, discussion and communication in a group context, especially in relation to theatre and religion.
Reading List
Indicative Primary and Secondary/Alternative Plays in order of appearance: Sophocles, Antigone, c.441 BCE, Translated by Reginald Gibbons & Charles Segal (Oxford: OUP, 2003)
Anouilh, Jean, Antigone (London: Methuen & Co Ltd, 1951)
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 University, 2011)
Harrison, Tony, Plays 1 - The Mysteries (London: Faber and Faber, 1985)
Anon. Everyman, 1510. Cawley, A. C., Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays (London: Orion, 1993 [1956])
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 [2008])
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: Methuen, 1980)
Miller, Arthur, Death of a Salesman: Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and a Requiem,
1949 (London: Penguin Classics, 2000)
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 Hares Trilogy, which also includes Murmuring Judges, (London: Faber and Faber, 1991 and the Absence of War, London: Faber and Faber, 1993.)
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, R., The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Theatre (Cambridge: CUP, 1994) Beckwith, S., Signifying God: Social Relation and Symbolic Act in the York Corpus Christi Plays, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003)
Boal, Augusto, Theater of the Oppressed (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1993) Brecht, Bertolt, Brecht on Theatre, trans. John Willett (London, 1978)
Bevington, David, editor, Medieval Drama (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2012 [1975]) Brook, Peter, The Empty Space (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968)
Brown, John Russell, The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre (Oxford: OUP, 1997 [2001]) 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 Antigone's Hands.]
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.
Case, Sue-Ellen, Feminism and the Theatre. 2nd edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2008) Hutcheon, Linda, and Michael Hutcheon. Here's Lookin' at You, Kid: The Empowering Gaze in Salome. Profession (1998): 1122.
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: Becketts 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)
Eckehar, Simon, editor, The Theatre of Medieval Europe: New Research into Early Drama
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008 [1991])
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 Press, 1989)
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)
Gale, Maggie B. and Viv Gardner, (editors). Women, Theatre and Performance (Manchester: MUP, 2000)
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, 2015
Goldhill, Simon, Reading Greek Tragedy (Cambridge: CUP, 1986)
Goodman, Lisbeth, with Jane de Gay, editors, The Routledge Reader in Gender and Performance
(Abingdon, Oxon and New York, NY: 2014 [1998]).
Hall, Grace R.W., The Tempest as Mystery Play, (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 1999) esp. chapter 2 The English Cultural Climate and Mystery Play Scholarship.
Grotowski, Jerzy, Towards a Poor Theatre (London: Eyre Methuen, 1975 [1968] ) 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, 2006)
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 Publications, c. 1901)
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)
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 [1936])
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 Macmillan, 2012)
Taxidou, Olga, Tragedy, Modernity and Mourning (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004).
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 [2000]).
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, 2009)
Willett, John, The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht: A Study from Eight Aspects (London: Methuen, 1959)
Wyllie, Andrew. Sex on Stage: Gender and Sexuality in Post-War British Theatre (Bristol: Intellect Books, 2009)

Many of the plays and other secondary resources are available online (e.g. Records of Early English Drama [REED] at the University of Toronto - Additional digital resources and their links will be provided at the start of the course.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Gather, analyse, evaluate and critique evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources
- Organise and structure arguments and draw these together into a coherent conclusion in written and oral form
- Formulate a coherent written or oral presentation on the basis of material gathered and organised independently on a given topic
- Organise their own learning, manage workload, and work to a timetable
- 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 organiserProf Jolyon Mitchell
Tel: (0131 6)50 8922
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information