Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  60%
Semester Assessment 30 minute group summative assessment  40%
Supplementary Assessment in the event of failure in the essay assignment an essay on a new topic to be submitted. In the event of a failure in the oral presentation a 15 written script on a new topic written as if for an oral delivery with accompanying visual aids 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1 demonstrate knowledge of a range of dramatic texts surviving for the period c. 1400-1550

2 discuss and explain why these texts were produced and how they were performed

3 communicate the knowledge and analytical skills gained during this course in written assessment

4 demonstrate, through oral presentation, a critical understanding of the themes, forms and contexts of selected dramatic texts of the Medieval and Tudor period

Brief description

This module will focus on the drama of the period c. 1400-1550, and will explore the literary, cultural and performance issues relevant to that period and also to today. By examining attitudes to the production and reception of these dramas you will be provided with a means of understanding this literature as a valuable part of our literary heritage.


This module examines popular drama of the period c. 1400-1550. It will draw on the surviving pageants and plays produced and performed in medieval and Tudor Britain. These plays are an important part of English (and 'British') literary culture, all the more so because they were one of the most accessible forms of literature in this period. This drama also comments on some of the major religious and social changes experienced by people living during this century and a half.

The module will run chronologically beginning with a selection from the comedy and horror of the fifteenth century 'mystery plays' and continuing with the sometimes rude and often ranting 'moral plays' of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In seminars, we will examine, in detail, a selection of plays; also some writings concerned with their censorship; some contemporary pictures of dramatic scenes from early books, wall paintings and church windows; and the songs and other music important for the performance of this literature. We will investigate the cultural, social and political contexts of this drama. In the seminars, you will also be encouraged to experiment with performance and so develop an awareness of the different ways of staging the plays in the past as well as exploring the possibilities for modern adaptations


  1. Introductory Seminar:
  2. Seminar, Mystery Plays 1: eg. Adam and Eve, The Fall of Lucifer
  3. Seminar, Mystery Plays 2: eg. The Second Shepherds', The Crucifixion
  4. Contexts of Drama 1, Heresy and Censorship: The Tretise of Miraclis Pleying
  5. Contexts of Drama 2: Image, Song, Ritual, Carnival, Community
  6. Practice Presentations (formative assessment component of oral assessment) on 'Approaches to Medieval Drama'.
  7. Seminar, Moral Plays 1: eg. Mankind / Everyman
  8. Seminar, Moral Plays 2: Interludes: eg Nice Wanton, Medwall, Skelton's Magnificence
  9. Seminar, Moral Plays 3, Protestant Polemic: eg Bale's King Johan ( extracts)
  10. Contexts of Drama 3: Household, Controversy, Propaganda, Patronage

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Written communication in essay. Spoken communication in seminar discussion. Oral performance in oral assessment
Improving own Learning and Performance Development of time-management skills through independent reading and research
Personal Development and Career planning Critical self-reflection and development of transferable communication and research skills
Problem solving Developing evaluative analysis and critical skills in an extended argument
Research skills Developing independent study through seminar preparation, research for written assessment, and project research
Subject Specific Skills Detailed analysis of literary text in writing and discussion; evaluation of approaches to literary text in relation to cultural, social, political, theoretical contexts
Team work Group and small group discussions in seminars Group work in assessed project


This module is at CQFW Level 6