London Summer Program

Study In Shakespeare's London!


Students interested in this program should enroll in Melissa Aaron’s ENG 403 in Spring quarter.  ENG 403 normally consists of four Shakespeare plays, studied in historical and cultural context and encompassing a performance aspect.  This class always fills with a substantial waitlist.  To participate in the summer study program, they will enroll in ENG 404.

The centerpiece of this study program is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.  Dr. Aaron is uniquely qualified to guide students through the intricacies of Elizabethan performance at the Globe, as she has worked as a volunteer and is personal friends with the Globe’s director of Education.  One segment includes Dr. Aaron’s personal tour of Shakespeare’s Southwark, beginning at London Bridge Station, down past Southwark Cathedral (formerly St. Savior’s Church), where Shakespeare’s younger brother, Edmund, and Shakespeare’s successors, John Fletcher and Phillip Massinger, are supposedly buried.  The tour continues past St. Mary Overies’ dock, past the Clink prison and the Rose Theatre (which has been partly excavated), the Bear Gardens, the old Globe site, and finally to the New Globe. 

Additionally, the class will visit locations important to Shakespeare, including Stratford-upon-Avon, Trinity Church (Shakespeare’s burial place), the Birthplace Museum, and the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford (including a play).

Students will attend at least two performances at Shakespeare’s Globe, including, if available, an “original practices” performance. “Original practices” performances are those that make use of Renaissance staging techniques, including “universal lighting,” accurately constructed Renaissance clothing, Renaissance instruments, and all-male casting. 

Additionally, students will read four plays by Shakespeare that represent a variety of the styles he wrote in—tragedies, histories, comedies, and romances.  This specific course will enable the class to explore "Shakespeare on Location."  What sort of environment were the plays originally produced in?  What style went into that production?  How do we react to Shakespeare now, on the page and on the stage?  In order to make the best possible use of that location, this course will involve offsite contact.  A walk through Shakespeare's Southwark will demonstrate the grimy and unusual character of the district--the docks, St. Savior's Church (now Southwark Cathedral), the Clink prison, the other theaters--and finally end with a tour of the Globe exhibits.  There will be a day trip to Stratford on Avon for a tour and matinee performance.  

Students will be expected to attend four different Shakespeare performances and write critical essays on them, comparing them to the texts as we have discussed those texts in class.  Students will be purchasing and reading these texts, and writing some preliminary work, on the CSU Pomona Campus during the spring quarter.  The reading will also include Andrew Gurr’s theater history classic The Shakespearean Stage.  Finally, students will prepare and perform a scene as a culminating project, along with a short collaborative essay.

Both English majors and non-English majors are very much welcome in ENG 403 and 404.



Contact information

Laura Lee
Request that you be added to the interest list for further information.

Program Director

Dr. Melissa Aaron
Office Phone: X3839


Southwark Cathedral

Globe Theatre, London