London on the World Stage: Theatre, Architecture, and Society

Led by Professor Chris Kauffman
Gettysburg College Department of Theatre Arts

Springing from Shakespeare’s famous line “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players,” this course asks the questions “What if the city of London was a stage, an its buildings were characters? What can we learn about the history of the city and its inhabitants by examining the dramatic cityscape of one of the world’s most dynamic places?” This interdisciplinary course examines British culture and history by making connections between British theatre and the city of London itself. By synthesizing the vocabularies of playwrights, directors, and architects, students will match the goals and action of characters to the purpose and outcomes of architectural design, imagining human experience in England as reflected on the theatrical stage and on the stage that is the London cityscape. Students will read plays by Shakespeare, Shaw, and others prominent British playwrights, see theatrical performances, read texts on architecture, and make daily excursions into the city with an eye for looking at London’s buildings and public spaces through the lens of some of its most compelling dramatic stories. No previous theatre experience necessary.