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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


The deadline for booking a place on this course has passed. Please use the 'Ask a Question' button to register your interest in future or similar courses.

Samuel Beckett (1906-89) was a major author of the 20th century, whose work occupies a central position in modernism, existentialism, and the theatre of the absurd. The central image of his play Waiting for Godot (1952) – two Chaplin-esque tramps waiting by a tree – is so recognisable that it has been parodied by New Yorker cartoons and the muppets of Sesame Street. But his work can seem intimidating to new readers. This accessible course explores how Beckett’s strange but often very funny plays can speak to us today about difficult and important topics: love, friendship, meaning, aging, illness, death, and identity.

Prior reading: Students are required to read the five plays discussed on the course – Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Happy Days, Krapp’s Last Tape, and Not I – before the course starts.



Who can book?

Our Virtual Summer Festival of Learning is open to students aged 18-80+. Courses are taught at approximately first-year undergraduate level. Unless otherwise stated, you don’t need any previous knowledge or experience of the subject. Unfortunately we cannot accept bookings from anyone under the age of 18. However we are also running a Virtual Pre-University Programme for 16-18 years olds in July. 

English Language requirements:

To ensure that all participants are able to enjoy studying with us, you will need to be confident understanding and following arguments presented in written and spoken English at University level. 

If English is not your native language, you will need to satisfy yourself that you have an appropriate level of English language proficiency in line with the following recommended tests (achieved in the same sitting and no more than 2 years before the date of booking): 

  • IELTS Academic or IELTS Academic for UKVI: Overall band score of 6.5 or above (with no less than 6.5 in each of the four individual components) 
  • CPE (Cambridge English: Proficiency): Grade C or above or 200 points overall on the Cambridge English Scale 
  • CAE (Cambridge English Advanced): Grade A or B or 193 points overall on the Cambridge English Scale 

Alternatively, you may have undertaken all, or part, of your education in English and/or may have extensive experience using English on a regular basis in your professional life. On this basis, you could reasonably expect to fully participate in our Virtual Summer Festival of Learning. 

Technical requirements:

All of our courses will be delivered via our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You will receive access to the VLE a week before your course starts (see the Course schedule and delivery tab). Here you can study and learn online, access resources and activities, and interact with your Course Director and fellow students via the forums. 

You will need to have access to: 

  • the internet via a computer, laptop, tablet or other smart device  
  • speakers or headphones in order to hear pre-recorded course videos provided by the Course Director 
  • a webcam and microphone for any interactive Zoom sessions which may be available  

 When you first log into the VLE we recommend that you view the Online course tour. This will help you to familiarise yourself with the learning environment.  

Full instructions and support on how to use the VLE is available on request.  

Test Video

By playing the video below you can test your home set up to ensure you are able to access our pre-recorded course videos. 

Accessibility and additional support for students 

We make every effort to meet the requirements of those students with additional needs. Please let us know about any additional requirements as soon as possible so that we can offer you the support and advice you require before and during the Festival. Please note that all of our courses are subtitled.

Course dates

05 Jul 2021 to 09 Jul 2021

Course duration

1 week

Apply by

04 Jul 2021

Course fee


Course director


Virtual Festival of Learning

Qualifications / Credits


Course code