Key texts of 19th & 20th century drama: Ibsen, Wilde, Williams and Stoppard

Course Dates: 20/09/21 - 06/12/21
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: Online
This course will explore the concerns,styles and influences of 4 key dramatic texts from the late 19th and 20th centuries and how they reflect the times in which they were written. Texts studied include Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, A Streetcar named Desire by Tennessee Williams and Travesties by Tom Stoppard.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Only 4 left
Full fee £219.00 Senior fee £175.00 Concession £134.00

Course Code: HLT41

Mon, day, 20 Sep - 06 Dec '21

Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online course concerns the themes and styles of 4 plays.

We will look at the structure, language and characterisation of the plays and assess how they work as performance texts -that is, how a director, actor, set, sound and costume designer can combine and breathe life into a text and make it a powerful theatrical experience.

The social and political background to the plays will also be explored.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

We will cover why these plays have ‘lasted’ - why they are significant.
We will explore the structure, dialogue and methods of characterisation of the plays and how they work on stage.
We will look at how they were received by audiences and critics when they were first performed.
You will be made aware of what the plays reveal about the society in which they were written.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Discuss a range of plays in an iformed and confident manner
Identify key trends and concerns of the periods
Understand different ways in which characters are created
Assess the ways different writers explore genres, eg comedy, tragedy, pastiche
Make an imaginative attempt to translate the literary into the performance text.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You will need an enthusiasm for reading and discussing plays and an interest in hearing the views of others.
You need to be willing to do some preparatory work before the classes to ensure class discussion has depth and focus.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

There will be a mixture of tutor presentation, small and whole group discussion. We will read key scenes from each play aloud in class and try to capture as far as possible the plays tensions,drama or humour. You will only take part if you wish to.
You will be directed to productions of the plays on video,You Tube or streaming services where available and be encouraged to respond critically to such performances when back in class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will need to borrow or buy the following:
Hedda Gabler Ibsen (Methuen drama student edition, translated by Michael Meyer)
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (Bloomsbury Methuen drama, 2nd ed.)
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (Penguin Classics ed)
Travesties by Tom Stoppard (Faber and Faber).

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please see our range of Literature/Drama courses under History, Culture and Writing on the website at

Jenny Baynes

Jenny has a BA in Literature and an MA in Performance Arts, She has taught English and Drama in schools and Further Education Colleges and English Literature at University level. She has taught Literature at The City Lit since 1998 and was the Co-ordinator for Literature and Film for the Humanities Department for several years. Jenny writes plays and poetry and has been a stand up poet.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.