Do you want to immerse yourself in the works of Shakespeare? Are you interested in understanding how Shakespeare’s plays work in performance?
This innovative Shakespeare Institute programme allows you to study the performance history but also the way in which Shakespeare’s plays have been performed through history, up to the modern moment. It encourages a historical approach to interpretation and styles of presentation and it promotes the value of close reading as the basis for evaluating the plays on the page, stage, and screen. You will have the opportunity to look at different productions and adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays in their historical, political, and cultural contexts and to think about the performance choices actors and directors make when approaching Shakespeare’s texts. You can also study how the textual history of Shakespeare’s plays influences performance today.
There are two admission routes to the programme:
Those who have a 2:1 degree in an appropriate subject or the Certificate of HE in Shakespeare Studies register for the MA.
Those who do not meet these formal admission requirements register initially as ‘Affiliate´ students and then change status on the successful completion of the two core modules.
In addition to the usual supporting documents, all applications must be supported by a sample of written work on Shakespeare of around 2,000 words. If you do not have an existing piece of writing to submit, please take a short passage of up to 60 lines from any Shakespeare play and write an essay of around 2,000 words which discusses the performance possibilities of this extract and how it contributes to the play as a whole.
We accept a range of qualifications
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
by holding an English language qualification to the right level
by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students
You will study two core modules:
Shakespeare´s Theatre (on-site and distance learning)
There are three components of this module. The first is a close reading of text that will lead to a consideration of the theatrical function and distinctive qualities of Shakespeare´s language. The second is a study of Elizabethan and early Jacobean stages and performance; and the third is an extension of the historical perspective, including Shakespeare´s medieval inheritance, that will inform inquiry into the contemporary and continuing theatrical life.
Research Skills (on-site and distance learning)
This module provides you with essential research skills training applicable in the fields of Shakespeare studies, with a particular emphasis on performance studies. You will actively assess the different kinds of evidence and methods used in these fields and critically evaluate the epistemological assumptions that underline them.
You will then choose four optional modules from a range of Shakespeare Institute modules:
Shakespeare´s Craftsmanship (on-site and distance learning)
Shakespeare´s Legacy (on-site and distance learning)
Shakespeare’s Text (on-site and distance learning)
History of Shakespeare in Performance (on-site and distance learning)
This module will consider trends of acting and directing Shakespeare from the Restoration to the present day, and will exploit the Stratford archives to undertake studies of individual actors and directors from the eighteenth century onwards.
Shakespearience (distance learning only)
This module considers the ways in which Shakespearean language and drama bears on experience, with a view to making the experience of Shakespeare more available to contemporary Shakespeare scholarship and creative practice.
Shakespeare and Theatre Practice (on-site only)
This module will provide you with experiential knowledge that will inform the way you interrogate and interpret performance evidence in a variety of media.
History of Shakespeare Criticism (on-site only)
The course will combine a historical overview of the main developments in Shakespeare criticism from the 1590s to the present with detailed investigation of key texts, covering: the canonisation of Shakespeare; character criticism; biographical criticism; imagery and symbolist criticism; critical study of the plays as created artifacts; the relationship between criticism and performance; historicist criticism; and new critical approaches.
Plays and Poems A (on-site only)
Plays and Poems B (on-site only)
Early Modern Drama: Middleton and Jonson (on-site only)
This module will introduce and contextualise two of the most significant dramatists working in the same period as Shakespeare. Each week you will focus on a pair of plays, usually one by Jonson and one by Middleton.
Dissertation (on-site and distance learning)
In this module you will undertake a substantial piece of independent research. This may be based on but will extend work undertaken for previous modules in the programme. There should be some element of originality in the research and the research may make a contribution to the field of study. You will report your research in a dissertation of 15,000 words in appropriate academic English. In designing, carrying out and writing up the study, you will be supported by a supervisor.
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.
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