Introduction: reflections on the Medieval Convent Drama Project

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Colleges, School and Institutes


Essays on the performance of drama from the Middle Ages, ranging from the well-known cycles of York to matter from Iran.

Theatrical performance is central to the groups and communities discussed in this volume, and to their particular and local expressions of faith. The articles presented explore the drama of a variety of different communities from religious orders and houses, through local, medieval and post-medieval lay communities, to contemporary worshippers. Contributors examine complex relationships between theatrical performance and faith, understanding religious theatre as a mode of worship and a method of exploring belief, as well as a site for the study of synchronous and asynchronous connections and fractures within communities. Particular topics addressed include the fragments of play-scripts surviving from the monastery at Mont-St-Michel; the Barking Abbey Easter celebrations; and how the sixteenth-century community which owned the surviving copy of the Towneley plays might have understood them in relation to their own faith. The volume is completed with an exploration of traditional Iranian religious theatre from an ethnographic perspective, in a bid to uncover and understand its very particular effects on the contemporary communities who perform and attend it in the twenty-first century.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedieval English Theatre
Subtitle of host publicationVolume Forty-Two: Religious Drama and Community
EditorsElisabeth Dutton, Olivia Robinson
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Publication series

NameMedieval English Theatre
ISSN (Print)0143-3784