Medieval and Early Modern Texts in Historically-Based Performance

These performances were created in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 2015 and 2016. We present these texts in as close to the original language as we could manage, as they might have been first performed at a particular time and place, in a specific historical context.

The performances

The General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer) Sheen Palace, London
Saturday 6 June 1389
The Miller's Tale, from the Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer) The Tabard Inn, Southwark
Sunday 7 December 1388
The Nun's Priest's Tale, from the Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer) The Tabard Inn, Southwark
Sunday 26 April 1394
The Death of Arthur, from the Morte Darthur (Thomas Malory) Newbould Revel Manor, Warwickshire
November 1470
The Second Prebend Sermon (John Donne) St Paul's Cathedral, London
29 January, 1626

Who made these performances

The performances were initiated and directed by Peter Robinson (Chaucer), Brent Nelson (Donne) and Michael Cichon (Malory). Colin Gibbings was, in turn, Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Malory and John Donne. We are very grateful to these groups within the University of Saskatchewan for their support: the Department of English (which provided the intellectual motive, performers and material); the Media Production Unit (which made the videos); the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness (which provided a grant to pay for the filming through their Curriculum Innovation Fund.

The license

All performances are made available for unlimited open access under a Creative Commons Free Cultural Work licence: formally "CC BY". We would appreciate you acknowledging the source of these videos in any use you make of them. Otherwise, you are free to republish them, excerpt them, recombine or edit them, in any way you wish.

Using these videos in teaching

The "About" link above against each video will take you to a page of background information about the historical context supposed for each performance. The same page also contains a series of questions and hints for teachers and students for each video.

Some hints for teachers who want to have students make their own performances

Here are performances made by members of Peter Robinson's 400 class on "Medieval texts in performance" in 2016, using the videos on this site as guidance.

Kyla, Jessica, Mitchell and Peter performing the opening of William Langland's Peirs Plowman, the hunt from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the pursuit of the fox from the Nun's Priest's Tale and the opening of Beowulf.