Course overview

Aristophanes (c.450-388 BCE) writing in the Fifth Century is regarded as the key author in Ancient Greek comedy. His plays will be studied, read and workshopped. We shall look at how his plays might be put on, and staged today. His plays often have structures similar to a sketch show and he uses many comic devices still popular with comedians today. His plays are a little rude though (sometimes very rude). We shall look at how he creates his comic characters and situations. We shall discuss the issues that he wants to write about and consider if these are still relevant to a modern audience trying to make sense of the political and social world today. Over ten weeks, two to three plays will be discussed and workshopped to appreciate the various theatrical devices that Aristophanes often uses.

Course description

Fewer than ten plays survive by Aristophanes from 5th Century BCE Athens. These include ‘Lysistrata’, ‘The Clouds’ and ‘Frogs’.

Through class readings and also workshops where scenes from his plays will be staged, we shall consider what devices he uses. Recurrent themes in his works shall be identified. In particular, we shall explore how Aristophanes creates characterisation and uses this to explore his various themes. The structure and comedic devices of each piece will be considered. In addition, it will be shown how Aristophanes always has a concern for poetry and imagery in his dialogue. His plays use striking, and often rude comedic devices and theatrical imagery. Aristophanes’ writing produces powerful stage-pictures and dialogue which take audiences into the heart of the issues he explores. It will be possible to consider the layout and various components that made up the ancient Greek theatre and discuss how modern theatres could be used to stage his plays today.

This class would be of interest to those who enjoy theatre and finding out more about it. The class has a warm and friendly group atmosphere. No experience is necessary just an interest in reading plays aloud and discussing concepts related to theatre and the stage.

Over 10 weeks 2 or 3 plays will be considered during the course.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

Share this page:

Lady giving a thumbs up to her tablet as she watches a WEA member lecture
Image overlay triangle

Become a WEA member today

For just £15 per year, you can access many great benefits, including our award-winning weekly member lectures.

Need more information?

Need help? Complete our form and our friendly Support Services team will be back in touch.

Course contact
I am most interested in (tick all that apply)

How do we use the information we gather from you?
Please see our privacy policy.