Joint-honours information for 2016 entry

Spectacular Imaginings: Renaissance Drama and the Stage 1580-1640

Module Q3202

Module details for 2016/17.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

Spectacular Imaginings explores English Renaissance drama and its staging between the advent of the commercial theatres in London (circa 1580) and their closure during the early 1640s as a consequence of the English Civil War. This module has been developed with, and will be cotaught by, scholars and theatre practitioners at London's Globe Theatre. The Globe's programme at both its indoor Jacobean theatre (the Sam Wannamaker theatre), as well as its main outdoor theatre, will form an important part of this module with students attending performances. The module will focus on a selection of plays from this period, exploring them in their original social, cultural and aesthetic contexts. It will also reflect upon why plays from this era are so frequently and successfully re-produced for the modern stage and screen. What roles did theatre play in London during the Renaissance and why was England virtually unique in Europe (Spain is the only counterpart) in creating a large-scale commercial theatre that generated a vast corpus of new plays? The module examines many of the most significant themes with which this theatre engages; among them, unruly sexualities (incest, adultery, rape); violence and eloquence; London and city commerce; domestic tragedy; marriage and divorce; the place of the court; the foreign and the exotic; and the supernatural. It considers the roles of genre, acting styles, theatre companies, star actors, boy players, audiences and the varying physical spaces of the theatres in mediating these themes. Students will have access to the unique Globe archives when researching their dissertation projects. Some of the plays will be determined by the Globe's season (including at least one by Shakespeare). The readings are likely to include works by Marlowe, Webster, Ford, Middleton, Dekker, Beaumont and Fletcher, Cary, Marston and Shakespeare. Module Delivery: Weekly lectures at the University of Sussex by Dr Rachel Stenner, Prof Matthew Dimmock, Prof Andrew Hadfield and Dr Chloe Porter. Some 2hr seminars at the Globe Theatre in London, followed by an evening performance of the play studied. These will be interspersed with 2 hour seminars in the remaining weeks led by Dr Rachel Stenner at the University of Sussex. Students will make and pay for their own travel arrangements to and from London but theatre tickets will be block-booked by the School of English.

Module learning outcomes

Ability to research widely and acquire expertise in an area of particular interest.

An accurate understanding of the interplay of drama and performance with the politico-social contexts of early modern England.

An ability to analyse the ways in which the drama responded to commercial demands and shifts in aesthetic 'taste'.

The skills requisite to organising complex material into an extended piece of written work.

Dissertation (6000 words)Semester 2 Assessment Week 1 Thu 16:00100.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterLecture1 hour11111111111
Spring SemesterSeminar2 hours11111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Ms Emma Carlyle

Assess convenor

Miss Trudy Cadman

Assess convenor

Dr Rachel Stenner


Dr Chloe Porter

Assess convenor

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