On the 17th May we were very pleased to welcome Professor Tiffany Stern from Oxford University, to AGGS to deliver a lecture to our year 13 literature students on Sheridan’s 18th century play The Rivals. We were also pleased to welcome 12 sixth form students from Chetham’s School of Music, who are also studying the same play.
Tiffany Stern is Professor of Early Modern Drama (English Faculty) at Oxford University and a Beaverbrook and Bouverie Fellow in English (University College). She is also the editor for the Mermaid edition of The Rivals that girls have been studying for their A2 examination.
Using a selection of very informative slides, Tiffany took us through the exciting (and at time infamous) life of Sheridan and how his life events influenced both the themes and characterisations present in the play; she also looked at the Bath setting in detail, explaining why it was unusual in the 18thc to set a play outside London and why Bath was so significant for the themes Sheridan wanted to explore.
This was a wonderful opportunity for the students both to add to their knowledge of AO2 and 4 assessment criteria for the examination and to experience a high level lecture in preparation for their university life in September. We are very grateful for Tiffany having made the journey up from Oxford for us!
Here are some of the comments from the girls:
‘I found the comment Tiffany made on all the characters containing elements of Sheridan and his wife Elizabeth really interesting’ Niamh
‘I liked her point about Jack Absolute being both whimsical and devious’ Thasmia
‘The point Tiffany made about there being untenable conflict within the text, made me think about how the themes worked in more depth’ Holly
‘The point that stuck with me was the comment that Jack is his own biggest rival’ Victoria
‘I enjoyed: Lydia Languish likes trashy novels and wishes she were in one and in fact in The Rivals she is nearly the star of one with Jack’ Katherine
‘This was a really useful lecture and will help me a lot in the examination’ Afiya