Tudor and Stuart England: Plays, Print, Politic and Performance

Course details

From £1365.00

Sun 14 Jul 2019 - Sat 20 Jul 2019

Tudor and Stuart England: Plays, Print, Politic and Performance


The Oxford Experience is a residential summer programme providing one-week courses in a variety of subjects aimed at non-specialists. It offers a choice of seminars each week over a period of six weeks.

Over the course of the week, students will explore a range of plays, poems, and songs from the sixteenth and seventeenth century, in order to learn what they have to teach us about the cultural and political world of Tudor and Stuart England.  Drawing on little-known works, the classes will examine on gender relations in the home and on the stage; on the connections between poetry and the big political developments of the time; and on the relationship between print and performance.  Each class will take as its focus one particular text, and seek to develop an understanding of it in its historical context.   

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.


Poems and politics: in this session, we’ll look at some short poems by a variety of writers from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, to examine the role they play in political discourse at both public and private levels, in print and in manuscript.


Gender and power on the sixteenth-century stage: today’s classes take as their focus plays from the sixteenth century that stage gender relations within the household, as well as in the wider world.  We will use them as a starting point for an investigation of what ‘gender’ meant in this period, and how it compares with the present day.


Speech acts: today we will see what it was possible to say and write, and what was unsayable.  We’ll also be looking at the way that printed plays were shaped in performance, using some famous and familiar works to test out the kinds of rehearsal practices used in the Tudor and Stuart period, and seeing what difference this makes to our understanding of the texts.


Domestic tragedy: in this session, we will read together a little-known text based on a ‘true crime’.  The play illuminates several key political and social issues of the late-Elizabethan period, and has much to teach us about how Tudor and Stuart communities thought about themselves, their neighbourhoods, and their social responsibilities.


Popular song: our course finishes with a look at the ballad culture of early modern England.  We’ll be reading, looking at, and listening to some of the hits of the Tudor and Stuart period, to see how popular songs expressed and shaped ideas about society, culture, and politics.

Recommended reading

Collinson, Patrick. The Sixteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Publishing, 2002.

Wormald, Jenny. The Seventeenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.


During your course, you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Christ Church in buildings which range from the 18th to the 20th century. Bedrooms are modestly-furnished, do not have air-conditioning and are arranged on a staircase of four or five floors.

The fee £1545 includes a bedroom with private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet). Most are single but a few twins are available for couples or those who wish to share with a friend. Those couples wishing to book a twin room should contact us direct ipoxex@conted.ox.ac.uk, as these rooms cannot be booked online.

There are also a few standard rooms available which all have their own washbasin and shaver point but the bath and toilet facilities on each staircase are shared. To apply for one of these rooms please select the ‘Programme Fee (with single standard accommodation and meals)’ option on the application form.  Early application for these rooms is essential.

Most standard rooms are single but there are a few ‘twin sets’ (two single rooms opening off a sitting room). If you wish to book a twin set, please contact us direct ipoxex@conted.ox.ac.uk, as these rooms cannot be booked online.

Please indicate your accommodation preferences (either online or on your application form) together with a note of any mobility problems.

We regret that we are unable to offer you accommodation at Christ Church prior to or following your course. Additionally, family or friends who are not enrolled in the programme cannot be accommodated in college.


Programme fee (with single en-suite accommodation and meals): £1545.00
Programme fee (with single standard accommodation and meals): £1365.00


Dr Freyja Cox Jensen

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Online registration closes on Wednesday 1 May 2019 but please note that this course may be fully booked very quickly so early registration is recommended.