Image of Elizabethan London

Join popular historian and published author Catharine Arnold on a journey of discovery into the world of William Shakespeare

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • 2 hours a week
  • Day: TBC
  • 10 weeks: October to December
  • Tutor: Catharine Arnold
  • Fees from £110 to £205
  • Imperial College Attendance Certificate (T&Cs apply)

The life of William Shakespeare, England’s greatest dramatist, was inextricably linked with the history of London. Together, the great writer and the city came of age and confronted triumph and tragedy. In this lecture series well-known historian and author Catharine Arnold, takes us on a tour of London through Shakespeare’s life and work.

No previous knowledge of history, literature or Shakespeare is necesssary to join this online course.

Online Access to Course

This is a taught live online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time on a specific day of the week. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course Delivery'.

Attendance certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Course Information

Course Programme

Outline Programme

  1. London, the flower of cities all – life in Elizabethan London
  2. A fellowship of players – the early origins of English theatre
  3. The Theatre – London’s first permanent venue
  4. The upstart crow – Shakespeare and his critics
  5. The hollow crown – the politics of the history plays
  6. All the world’s a stage – actors and acting
  7. The great Globe – the most famous theatre in London
  8. Gunpowder, treason, and plot – Guy Fawkes and his conspirators
  9. Chimes at midnight – farewell, a last farewell
  10. The Globe reborn

This programme may be subject to modification

Additional Reading

To be confirmed

Your Tutor

Photograph of Catharine Arnold

Catharine Arnold is a well known popular historian, lecturer and TV presenter. Her books include Necropolis, London and its Dead, Bedlam, London and its Mad and City of Sin. Her most recent book is Pandemic 1918, an account of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. 

You can view a recorded interview with Catharine here.

Any Questions?

If you have any questions about this course please contact the Manager for Adult Education, Dr Michael Paraskos at