Canterbury Tales

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Oxford World Theatre and Chain offer a series of courses around Great Stories of Mankind. Each course will centre around one of the stories, but in each course we will also search for more fundamental elements and patterns, regarding the content as well as the literary forms.

During these courses we will approach the story in various ways:
* The story itself
* Background and tradition
* Literary forms and structures
* Underlying structure(s) of the story/stories - fundamental elements and patrons (e.g. the hero and his quest) - correspondence with other stories
* How do these (dramatic characters reflect their own societal background?
* How do they influence their own and our society?
* How do these characters develop and how are they reflected in (later) history, visual arts, film, poetry?

The main methodological form will be drama/theatre. We will play part(s) of the story, partly in our own (re)writing of texts. During this process the questions mention above will be tackled, partly with the help of a content expert. Embedded in this methodology we will pay attention to the following aspects:
* How to organise/create a play/drama/theatre?
* Drama as an educational tool: what happens in a group when they prepare a performance/perform (together)?
* Drama as the best form of CLIL (content language integrated learning)

Canterbury tales
The Canterbury tales is collection of over 20 stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer (end of the 14th c.), during the time of the Hundred Years' War. The tales are presented as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together on a journey to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The stories contains many parallels to Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron. Both stories feature a number of narrators who tell stories along a journey they have undertaken (to flee from the Black Plague).
The course will follow the pilgrims. The stories will be a starting point to create a deeper insight in medieval English and European society. During the course stories will be performed and represented in various forms of artistic presentations. Attention will also be given to the Tales in fine arts and drama.
In addition to this course will pay attention to the phenomenon of pilgrimage and compare the one to Canterbury with other well-known routes like the Francigena, the Camino de Santiago and the Muslim Hadj.

Course organiser
Chain foundation
London to Canterbury, United Kingdom


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