Queen's University

Medieval Theatre Studies (Summer)

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Undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in a two week immersive experience at Herstmonceux Castle, the home of the Bader International Study Centre. Students will explore a range of dramatic works from the Medieval period in England, reading works from both religious and secular traditions, including liturgical drama, morality plays, cycle dramas and interludes. The program also features a practical performance component where students will actively explore historical performance styles and conventions. The focus of this course will be the rehearsal of one or more plays to be presented in period acting style and costume as part of England’s Medieval Festival at the culmination of the course.The Medieval Festival at the Castle is Britain's largest and most magnificent celebration of the colourful Middle Ages. For more fantastic pictures on this program, please click here.

To obtain more information about the Field School in Medieval Theatre Studies, please contact the program coordinator Jenn Stephenson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (613) 533-6000 x78597




DRAM 271/3.0 Medieval Dramatic Literature

DRAM 273/3.0 Medieval Performance

Prerequisite: Level 2 or above. 

Daily Schedule

  • DRAM273 meets 9am-noon
  • Lunch in the dining hall noon-1pm
  • DRAM271 meets 1pm-4pm
  • Dinner in the dining hall 6pm-7pm
  • Rehearsal as needed 7pm-10pm

Teaching Methods

DRAM 271 is a seminar course devoted to the exploration of a range of dramatic works from the medieval period in England. Students will read works from both religious and secular traditions, including liturgical drama, morality plays, cycle dramas and interludes. Taught exclusively at the BISC, this course aims to provide students with an immersive awareness of the cultural role of theatre in this era.

Expected Learning Outcomes

1.   Students will practice strategies of dramaturgical analysis to generate understandings of “how plays mean.”

2.   Students will analyze and assess medieval dramatic texts to trace their influence on contemporary dramatic texts.

3.   Students will apply knowledge of medieval performance and production practices to dramatic texts to create historically-engaged re-enactments of these texts.

4.   Students will immerse themselves in the culture and social practices of medieval England to gain appreciation for the status and function of performance in medieval society.​

DRAM 273 is an intensive workshop course exploring medieval dramatic performance practice in England. Students will be involved as actors, devisers, and designers, and will engage with the pragmatic and aesthetic processes involved the production of medieval drama. Through a combination of primary source research and the theatrical production of one medieval play, students will explore the key functions of plays within medieval culture.

Expected Learning Outcomes

1.   Students will learn to read medieval theatrical texts for clues to performance.​

2.   Students will develop techniques to effectively perform medieval dramatic texts.

3.   Students will immerse themselves in the processes involved in the production of medieval theatre and come to understand their cultural function.

4.   Students will explore ways in which religious ideas can be situated in the body of the worshipper/actor and in the work involved in making theatre. 

Experiential Learning Opportunities

There will be all day field trips included in the course:

Further Information

Program Schedule 2018 Dates


Enrolment / Deadline


Participant Profile

Undergraduate students with Level 2 standing


TBC (includes tuition, residence and meal plan, transport and entrance fees for field studies. Students will need additional funds for personal spending, visas (if applicable), health and travel insurance, and transport to UK.)


Jenn Stephenson (Program Coordinator) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Drama at Queen’s University where she teaches Dramatic Literature and Theatre History. As a graduate student at the University of Toronto, Jenn was a research assistant with the Records of Early English Drama project and has published on the narrative implications of hypertextual structures in the REED Patrons and Performance database. Twitter: @queensjenn URL: www.queensu.ca/drama/jstephenson


Craig Walker (DRAM 271) is Director of the Dan School of Drama and Music and Professor of Drama. His directing credits include ten years as Artistic Director of Theatre Kingston, productions with St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Prescott, Ontario including a production of Twelfth Night, which won the 2012 Prix Rideau Award for Outstanding Production, and numerous productions for Queen’s Drama. Dr. Walker’s writing for the theatre includes his adaptation of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, which played in Kingston and also at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. Lately, he has been writing two new plays, One Last Night With Mata Hari, which is a piece of music theatre that he is creating in collaboration with composer John Burge, and These Deeds, a play about Henry Irving, Bram Stoker and “Buffalo” Bill Cody that he developed while a member of the 2013 Playwrights’ Unit of the Thousand Islands Playhouse. He is the author of The Buried Astrolabe: Canadian Dramatic Imagination and Western              Tradition (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001) and co-editor (with Jennifer Wise of the University of Victoria) of The Broadview Anthology of Drama: Plays from the Western Theatre, Volumes I and II (Broadview Press, 2003) and The Broadview Anthology of Drama, Concise Edition (Broadview Press, 2005). He has also edited Shakespeare’s King Lear (Broadview Press, 2011) in a version that features parallel Folio and Quarto texts, and which was also published in The Broadview Anthology of British Literature. He has written a number of articles for The Canadian Encyclopedia and The Literary Encyclopedia, and for journals such as Modern Drama, Theatre Research in Canada, Australasian Drama Studies, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Journal of Canadian Studies, English Studies in Canada and Canadian Theatre Review.

Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
Fax: +44 1323 834499
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
Fax: (613) 533-6810
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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