Many medieval convents were major centers of dramatic activity, with nuns and other members of their communities frequently participating in plays and other performances. However, because much of the evidence of this activity in the British Isles was destroyed during the Reformation, English-speaking scholars tend to ignore the crucial role played by women in medieval drama. The Medieval Convent Drama project, based at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, is trying to change this through scholarship and performances. The project’s members join us to tell us about this surprising, richly-varied, and woman-centered drama.

 The Carmelite convent of Vilvoorde, Belgium, where nuns continue to perform in plays to this day. Picture courtesy of Aurelie Blanc.

Links:

  • Learn more about the Medieval Convent Drama project at their website.
  • Watch the Medieval Convent Drama’s production (with Frideswide Voices) of the medieval English play Herod’s Killing of the Children in New College Chapel, Oxford.
Barking Abbey, site of one of the few surviving medieval convent dramas from England. Picture courtesy of Aurelie Blanc.

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