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Field School in Medieval Theatre Studies

Dates: August 11 2019 - August 28 2019
Based: Herstmonceux, UK
Apply by: April 1 2019

This program is a unique ‘immersion’ experience where you will learn about and practice medieval performance techniques and repertoire in a medieval setting. An intensive but fun program, you 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. In past summers, under the direction of experienced directors, the students have performed excerpts from the Digby Mary Magdalene play, the N-Town Mary play, and two Robin Hood plays.

The program also features a practical performance component and you will participate in a unique learning context that combines theoretical study with practical application in a deeply immersive experiential environment. For students interested in drama, you will actively explore historical performance styles and conventions, with the focus of this course being 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. For students interested in music, you will have the opportunity to learn how to play period instruments and receive masterclasses from experienced musicians and also have an opportunity to perform at the Festival. The Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux Castle is Britain's largest and most magnificent celebration of the colourful Middle Ages.

This program appeals to Drama and Music majors, as well as students in other programs including but not limited to English, History, Art History and Education.

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

Questions Info Sheet (PDF, 6.86MB)APPLY NOW!

  • Immersive: engage with dramatic works from the medieval period in a medieval castle, culminating in a musical or theatrical performance at the UK's largest medieval festival
  • Accelerated: take 2 courses in 2 weeks
  • Experiential: whether you're acting or helping to stage manage, this is an opportunity for hands-on learning
  • Fun: students in the field school form friendships quickly, enjoying all that Herstmonceux Castle and the surrounding area have to offer
Dates and fees based on 2018 and subject to change.

Courses in this program can be used to satisfy plan requirements for DRAM Major and Medial. All students take DRAM 271 and have the option of taking DRAM 273 or MUSC 272.

DRAM 271/3.0 Medieval Dramatic Literature

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.

Prerequisite: Level 2 or above

DRAM 273/3.0 Medieval Dramatic Performance

A practical performance course 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 Fair at the culmination of the course.

This 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.

Prerequisite: Level 2 or above

MUSC 272/3.0 Medieval Music Performance

MUSC 272 is a combination historical performance practice seminar and ensemble devoted to the exploration of performance practice, musical works, and historical context of secular vocal and instrumental music of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. The study of performance will be accompanied by the exploration of period performance techniques, notation, and historical performance settings and roles such as the troubadour and civic wait. Performance activities will occur both through the voice and through instrumental performance for all participants. Students should know how to read music and play an instrument or sing, but need not have previous experience in Early Music performance.

Prerequisite: Level 2 or above (TBC)


  • Course offerings are subject to change for reasons including, but not limited to, enrolment numbers. Students will have access to academic advising services if changes impact their course selections. 
  • Experiential Learning Opportunities and mid-term trip are indicative and may change subject to operational and/or academic requirements.
  • Queen's students: Grades will show on your Queen's University transcript and count towards your CUM GPA.
  • Non-Queen's students: Following the grade release date you can request a transcript from the University Registrar. Transcripts will be sent automatically to students from partner universities.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

There will be all day field trips included in the course:
  • Canterbury Cathedral: http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/visit/
  • The Globe Theatre, London: http://www.shakespearesglobe.com
  • The Rose Theatre, London: http://www.rosetheatre.org.uk
External shot of the Globe Theatre, London Shakespeare's Globe: a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, London

Dr. Jacqueline Jenkins, University of Calgary

DRAM 271 Instructor
Prof. Jenkins' research and teaching interests include medieval performance and dramatic productions; women's literacy, and the patronage, production and transmission of manuscripts in the late Middle Ages; vernacular devotional literature and lay spirituality and devotional practices. Prof. Jenkins teaches and supervises across the field of medieval literature, and has taught graduate courses on medieval drama and performance, on Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich, on Middle English literary theories, and on medieval mystical and visionary writing. Recent supervisions have focused on medieval dramatic texts, performance studies, the York cycle of biblical plays, manuscript studies, women's devotional practices, visionary writing.

Dr. Margaret Walker

MUSC 272 Instructor
Dr. Margaret E. Walker is a graduate of the University of Toronto (Musicology/Ethnomusicology) and the Royal Conservatory of Music Professional School (Piano Performance and Pedagogy) and she joined the School of Music at Queen’s in 2006. Her teaching and research cross disciplinary boundaries, and include ethnomusicology, historical musicology, historiography, music teaching and learning, and dance studies.

Dr. Matt Sergei, University of Toronto

DRAM 273 Instructor
Matthew Sergi specializes in medieval English drama and performance. His courses at the U of T focus primarily on British drama through 1603, but he also teaches present-day drama, the history of the English language, critical writing, and pedagogy. Periodically, he also offers practical performance courses and workshops beyond the U of T campus, geared toward the live production of medieval play texts. As Scholar-in-Residence at the Harbourfront Centre World Stage, he also facilitates frequent pre-show discussions for Toronto theatre goers.

2019 schedule
August 11 Students arrive
August 11 Performance: Rude Mechanicals "Ikarus Inc"
August 12 Classes begin
August 24 - 26 England's Medieval Festival
August 27 Classes end
August 28 Students depart

Daily Schedule

DRAM273/MUSC 272 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

During the festival you will typically perform your production 2-3 times. Productions tend to be approxiamtely 30 minutes but may vary. You are free to experience the festival when not performing.

Schedule is subject to change without notice based on availability

Queen's Students

  • Make sure you meet the basic prerequisites:
    • Minimum 1.6 GPA
    • Good academic standing
    • Level 2 standing (by time program starts)
  • Request to change campus
  • Receive campus confirmation from Undergraduate Admission
  • Register in class on SOLUS(pre-reqs may apply to some courses)
Apply Now

Non-Queen's Students

  • Make sure you meet the basic prerequisites for studying abroad at your home institution.
  • Apply online
  • Register online for your chosen program
  • Submit Letter of Permission
  • Accept your offer
Apply Now

What is a Letter of Permission?


A Letter of Permission (LOP) is an official document issued by your home institution. The LOP allows you to take courses for credit at the BISC for a specified semester/program, transferring the credits back to your home institution for the purpose of completing your university degree.

Your academic advisor or the person issuing the LOP will typically look at the course content and your current transcript to assess whether you will be academically prepared for the course/program. Pre-requisite courses listed on the BISC website are therefore not necessarily mandatory for non-Queen's students, but may be used as part of the assessment process by your home institution when granting an LOP.

We will also make admission decisions based on current transcripts, but please note that without an LOP you may not be able to transfer credits back to your home institution.

Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
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