Reading Early Modern Drama in Parts

First year Lancaster University students triumphed in spite of the pandemic by completing a reading of the anonymous 1652 play The Bastard from individual parts. Provided with only their own lines and cue lines, they pieced together the plot through careful listening.

Having received their parts, everyone made ‘roles’ of them, using sticks, and experimented with reading from them. Alice Fairlamb commented,

Alice Fairlamb

‘As a theatre student, the use of a scroll was one of the only areas of the process that I was unfamiliar with and it turns out it is more difficult than it appears!’

Alice said, ‘A surprising thing I have learned through this process is how much you learn about your character through other people’s characters’ and ‘receiving the play in parts really highlighted this‘.

See Alice’s blog on playing her roles of Chaves and Frederique at

Working out the relationships between characters was also a key task to build a sense of a role as E. Khanna explains in the blog for the role of romantic lover Roderiguez:

Since face-to-face practical work was not possible due to Covid, the company  read online using a theatre and actors represented by playmobil. Professor Martin White (Bristol University) joined the reading to discuss staging and lighting.