Performing Shakespeare Outdoors

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
13 March 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA Q300 English Literature,
BA Q303 English Literature (Including Placement Year),
BA Q320 English Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA Q321 English Literature (Including Year Abroad),
MLITQ391 Literature,
BA Q210 English and Comparative Literature,
BA Q211 English and Comparative Literature (Including Year Abroad),
BA Q212 English and Comparative Literature (Including Placement Year),
BA Q218 English and Comparative Literature (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module involves an intensive study of oneShakespeare text. Students on the module will take a series of practical performance workshops, combined with academic lecture-seminar sessions, culminating in work towards an assessed performance of a short scene from the Shakespeare play studied.

The practical workshops focus on an actor's approach to performing Shakespeare, and will include rehearsal exercises, approaches to verse-speaking, breath and movement when working on a classical text, approaches to adaptation, characterization, handling imagery, and conveying meaning in performance.

Lecture-seminars will offer a thorough grounding in the historical and theoretical contexts of the play, as well as its contemporary resonances and performance histories, and will involve close textual analysis aswell as discussing different productions of the plays both on film and in the theatre. Different directorial approacheswill be compared and analysed.

Content Note - This module will address several sensitive topics, such as rape/sexual violence, suicide/self-harm, physical violence (including warfare and kidnapping), and racism. A more specific content note will be provided in the module handbook and on the module Moodle page. Please contact the module supervisor if you have any questions, or if there are particular topics that you are concerned about.

Module aims

The aims of the module are for students to have a deep knowledge and understanding of a work from the Shakespeare canon; to achieve a confident relationship with the language, the dramatic conventions and generic characteristics of play; to learn and put into practice a variety of acting approaches to Shakespeare; to be able to compare and analyse different directorial approaches to Shakespeare in production; to analyse and compare film and theatre productions, and to take both a creative and critical approach to the performance of Shakespeare.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will have:
1.acquired a deep and critical understanding of a single Shakespeare play, along with broad knowledge of relevant historical and theoretical contexts;
2.developed the skills to approach Shakespeare plays as performers and directors, and the critical knowledge to choose an appropriate style/approach;
3.demonstrated a critical creative approach to the performance and direction of a short scene;

Module information

This module takes a deep dive into a single Shakespeare play in order to facilitate students' engagement with the text, its contexts, and its contemporary resonances. While our focus on one play is deep and narrow, the theoretical and practical range of the module is broad, asking students to grapple with a range of approaches and techniques, from so-called "original practices" to radical adaptations. Along the way, students are asked to negotiate their own creative voicesin relation to Shakespeare's, addressing the 400-year-old text with twenty-first-century eyes, to investigate what it means to perform Shakespeare today.

Learning and teaching methods

Anticipated teaching delivery: Weekly 1-hour lecture and 2-hour workshop


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Critical-Reflective journal   25/03/2024  45% 
Practical   Performance of a Scene (In-class - week 24)    50% 
Practical   Participation    5% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Nora Williams, email:
Dr Nora Williams
LiFTS General Office, email



External examiner

Dr Christina Papagiannouli
University of South Wales
Research Fellow
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

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