Join us to hear from Medieval Studies alumnus Dr. Kyle A. Thomas, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Missouri State University on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Dr. Thomas will share his work on how medieval theatre engaged with and responded to the needs of its many audiences. You can register for this Zoom event here:


"Monks Making Theatre: Towards a More Complete History of Early Medieval Drama"

The history of medieval theatre opens rather imprecisely, with traditional narratives commencing from the dubiously defined point of “liturgical drama.” Yet, many early Latin plays of the Middle Ages reflect dramaturgical roots tangled in a concentration of theatrical experimentation that was emanating more from the particular needs of monastic communities and their multifaceted approaches to living a cloistered life. This talk will explore several medieval plays that have been traditionally marginalized in the history of medieval drama in favor of promoting a tidy narrative in which medieval theatre originates from within the liturgy. Using plays from the dramatic corpus of Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, the St. Nicholas plays of Hildesheim—Tres filie and Tres clerici—the Ludus de Antichristo, and others, this talk will show how theatres were actively operating to address the communal needs of monasteries across early medieval Europe—theatres that facilitated liturgical worship, the pedagogy of classrooms, networks of communication, and the soteriological aims of Benedictine life.