Just-Shakespeare....! Shakespeare in his time - and for ours... "He was not of an age but for all time..." [Ben Jonson, Shakespeare First Folio, 1623]
Thank you for your interest in accessing our site. The courses have been operating under my tutorship for over twenty years, originally as part of Warwick University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning but in recent years, when the University withdrew all funding, privately.
My main aim is to approach the plays in an academically serious way but hopefully without being stuffy – there is certainly plenty of laughter as well as serious discussion in most sessions, I think.
The group has a wide range in terms of background with most members who join not having studied any Shakespeare since they were at school - and several without that experience - so I tend to approach the plays with the assumption that members will not be familiar with the play under discussion.
We start at the beginning of Act I Scene 1 and work our way through the play pausing regularly to explain any difficulties with the language and to raise other matters of interest. I tend to leave the reading aloud to the members but there is no pressure to read and there is usually someone who will choose to ‘pass’ when it would normally be their turn – and there is never any shortage of willing readers...! However, we are not primarily a play reading group and the quality of reading varies considerably.
As well as trying to show how the plays have things to say that are still very relevant to our own time I also try to look at the plays with reference to the time in which they were written and so I tend to distribute handouts fairly regularly to put aspects of the plays into historical context. You will be able to see some of this material by looking under individual play titles given in the drop-down menu under ‘More’.
All you would need to bring to our sessions is a copy of the play. I recommend that members do not use a Complete Works but single editions of the plays. Complete Works invariably have flimsy pages and very small type fonts so that it is difficult for members to engage with issues that the plays raise.
Several members use the Penguin editions but these have notes at the back which are not convenient for speedy reference. Good editions are the Oxford, New Cambridge and Arden editions. I would not recommend the Cambridge Schools Shakespeare which is mainly for practical work in the Drama Studio. Personally, I tend to use the New Cambridge although I refer to other editions when preparing.
After each session I provide a summary of the ground covered that week so it is usually fairly straightforward to 'catch up' if you should happen to miss the occasional week.
We usually break for coffee & cake or scones etc. from the excellent café at the Friends (in Warwick) at about 11.00 and we resume between 10-15 minutes later. Some members choose to stay on for lunch at the café after we have finished for the day. In Stratford we have access to a kitchen area and tea/ coffee will be available at no charge.
The fee for the 10-week courses (autumn and spring terms) is currently £75.00 with £40.00 for the 5-week summer term course. Most members choose to pay by cheque at the first meeting of term (cheques payable to ‘L. Green’) but several choose to pay in cash and I am happy to issue a receipt if required. Given the current ‘squeeze’ on incomes, I have also introduced the option to pay the fee in instalments in any way convenient to the individual (post-dated cheques, weekly, monthly etc.).
Incidentally, I always suggest to new members that they are welcome to treat the first couple of weeks as 'taster' sessions and I am happy to give a full refund if members find that the course is not the sort of thing they were looking for.
Normally in autumn and spring terms we take a half-term break which usually matches the Warwickshire schools’ half term.