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SEL3392 : Between the Acts: English Theatre, 1660-1737 (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Harriman-Smith
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to:
(i) inform students about the evolution of the English stage between 1660 and 1737;
(ii) enable students to connect historical cultural issues to contemporary concerns;
(iii) improve students’ ability to make use of a wide range of sources (including archives and live performances) as a basis for persuasive argument;
(iv) improve students’ ability to present literary material in a variety of formats.

Outline Of Syllabus

Eight decades fundamentally reshaped English theatre: the first professional actresses performed, the first celebrities emerged, Shakespeare became a national icon, government censorship took on modern forms, and plays began to be published in scholarly editions. This module will introduce you to the period 1660 to 1737, with a focus not only on the wide variety on drama produced at this time (everything from tragedies and comedies to burlesques and pantomimes), but also on the people who made such drama possible. As you acquire a familiarity with this little-known period, you will have the chance to introduce others to it by contributing to a collection of online introductions to plays by seventeenth-century women: these introductions will both compensate for a biais towards male authors in the modern study of this period and offer an opportunity of learning how to share scholarship in an accessible format with a wide audience.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00End-of-module essay preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00Weekly lectures (with two lectures in the first week)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion84:0032:00Website preparation and composition for mid-module assessment
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading118:0088:00Weekly reading for lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00Weekly seminars
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity41:004:00Study group work for the second half of the module
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time21:002:00Website construction tutorials
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to knowledge outcomes relevant to the module. They address themes and techniques common to the authors studied and encourage the students to think comparatively.

The seminars allow both for the development of knowledge outcomes through close analysis of specified texts and performances, and for the practice of skills, especially oral presentation and interpersonal communication.

Between the lectures and the seminars, and during the first half of the semester, students will be required to work in groups on websites devoted to individual plays from the period 1660-1714. Tutorials and other activities will provide the necessary training for this. The finished websites will then be assessed, as detailed below.

In the second half of the semester, study groups will be formed to undertake tasks intended to help prepare for the end-of-module assessment.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio1M35Assessed website: see rationale for details.
Essay1A65A keyword-based essay of 2 500 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MRequired webpages: see rationale for details.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Contributing to a group website on a little-known play from this period will test students' ability to present historical theatrical material to a wide audience in an online format. This assessment breaks down into three tasks, which all students must undertake:
(1) The composition of a webpage on a set topic (for example, a plot summary of their group’s play) – this is the formative assessment ‘Written Exercise 1’;
(2) The composition of a webpage on a topic of the student’s choice to do with their group’s play – this is part of the summative ‘Portfolio 1’ assessment;
(3) The integration of the student’s webpage and those of the rest of their group into a website about their group’s play – this is part of the summative ‘Portfolio 1’ assessment. Where appropriate & only with prior agreement from the module leader, an additional individual contribution may replace this element.

Essay: This module’s final assessment will take the form of a long essay (2 500 words), in which students will need to make use of all the skills they have practised in particular weeks on their websites to write in response to a keyword and with reference to multiple module set texts/performances.

Reading Lists