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Queen Mary Summer School

London Theatre and Performance: Past and Present

Crowd of people at a theatre


This module draws on London’s rich theatre and performance history, and the wide-ranging opportunities the city offers to engage with historical and contemporary theatre and performance. It explores how historical, social, cultural and architectural contexts produce meaning through theatre and performance. It introduces you to a range of ways of analysing plays and performances in relation to the conditions in which they were created.  We will cover a range of historical periods and genres including, for example,  Shakespeare and his contemporaries, eighteenth and nineteenth-century theatre, contemporary theatre, and performance beyond the literary play text (e.g. Live Art and performance art, club and pub performance, performance in galleries, sound walks). The module includes regular field trips to performances and other relevant locations.

Download course syllabus: SUM501D London Theatre_2022 [PDF 83KB]

Course content is subject to change.

Course aims

This course aims:

  • to give you the opportunity to study theatre and performance within London, a city that offers a wide range of opportunities to see live performance
  • to teach you a rigorously historicist approach to theatre in a range of both its past and contemporary forms
  • to explore with you a range of contexts for thinking about theatre in scholarship: historical, cultural, architectural
  • to explore ways in which a range of historical sites and cultural documents might be productively studied in relation to theatre and performance texts and practices.

Teaching and learning

You will be taught through a combination of seminars, field trips, and theatre visits.

Learning outcomes

You will learn about:

  • theatre and performance from the early modern period to the present day
  • how culture, language, technology, and economics affect how, where and by whom texts and performances are produced and received
  • the role of audiences and readers in shaping the meanings of texts and performances
  • critical, theoretical linguistic and stylistic concepts and terminology appropriate to the study of theatre and performance.

You will be able to:

  • read play texts and live performances closely and critically
  • develop independent and imaginative interpretations of plays and live performances
  • clearly, accurately and effectively articulate ideas through discussion, formal presentation and writing
  • make connections between texts, performances, cultural histories and conditions of performance
  • respond creatively and imaginatively to research tasks
  • discuss and present information within a wide range of contexts
  • test, interpret and analyse cultural products and information
  • work with others to define and refine idea and arguments.


The Queen Mary Summer School costs: £1,900 per session, which includes tuition and social programme. 

We offer a 10% discount to:

  • Students and staff from partner institutions
  • Alumni
  • Current Queen Mary students 


The cost of accommodation is £877 per session. For further information, please visit our accommodation page.

Additional costs and course excursions

There may be additional costs for field trips, such as entry to exhibitions, which will be in the region of £30. All reading material will be provided online, so it is not necessary to purchase any books.

Please note there is no deposit payment required for the Queen Mary Summer School.

Entry requirements

To join our Summer School, you should have completed a minimum of two semesters’ study at your home institution.

We welcome Summer School students from around the world. We accept a range of qualifications:

  • if your home institution uses the four-point Grade Point Average (GPA) scale, we usually require a 3.0 GPA
  • if your home institution uses the letter scale, you will need to have a B+

We welcome international qualifications and we consider every application individually on its academic merit.

English language requirements

All of our courses are taught and assessed in English. If English isn’t your first language, you must meet one of the following English Language requirements in order to join the Queen Mary Summer School:

  • If you hold a degree from a majority English speaking country plus Canada you may use this degree to satisfy the English language requirements for entry, provided the degree was completed no more than 5 years before the start date of the course to which you are applying.
  • IELTS, 7 overall or higher
  • TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 100 (L22; S25; R24; W27)
  • China UEE (University Entrance Exam) -  110
  • CET 4 – 550 or CET 6 – 490
  • PTE Academic 68
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English 185 70- grade C (old marking system)
  • Applicants with an alternative qualification should check it is equivalent to the above or contact us at


How to apply

Have a question? Get in touch - one of the team will be happy to help!


Teaching dates
Session 1: 27 June- 15 July 2022
Course hours
150 hours (of which 45 contact hours)
Group Presentation, 12-15 minutes, 30% Essay, 2500 words, 70%

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