Free Learning Day, November 2013

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Thursday 14th November 2013 was Free Learning Day for DC’s Year 10 boys. The theme was “Who killed Christopher Marlowe?”

After a very interesting talk from barrister Mark Gatley, the coroner’s report on Marlowe’s death was read to Year 10 in preparation for the day’s activities, which included sword fighting and forensic discovery.

In the Wodehouse’s Inner Room, Mr Fletcher’s groups used the book The Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories to analyse  the facts surrounding the death of Marlowe and some of the theories that have grown up around the story. Following this they looked at the deaths of some other significant figures that have become the subject of conspiracists including Malcolm X, John Lennon, Martin Luther King and Marilyn Monroe. Boys were divided between those who thought that there might be some truth in the theories and those that thought people believe what they want to believe and sometimes look for deeper meanings in events than are warranted.

In the IT Area Mrs Stein’s groups looked to the internet, using links stored on our Delicious bookmarks page to help them decide whether they believed the official version of events, i.e.: that Christopher Marlowe was killed by Ingram Frizer in a row over a bill.

Much lively discussion flowed from our reading with most groups deciding that they didn’t believe that Marlowe was killed as a result of a simple row over a bar bill, indeed, many doubted whether Marlowe really did die at Eleanor Bull’s establishment. His death was faked, said some, whilst others were persuaded by the idea that he was killed to protect information about his friends that he might have given up under torture!

Boys asked some excellent questions about their web-based research, comparing facts between sites and noticing differences. All the groups contributed keywords based on their reading which have been added to a tag cloud you can see here:

Tagxedo cloud

Upstairs in the Archives and in the Masters’ Library, Mrs Lucy, Mrs Cerio and Mr Weaver’s groups spent some time studying three key archival documents and their relevance to the staging of Christopher Marlowe’s plays. The College’s founder, Edward Alleyn, took the lead role in some of these plays. The Archives holds the Costume Inventory* which holds a costume for the Duke of Guise from The Massacre at Paris and one for Faustus from Dr Faustus. Henslowe’s Diary** which notes all the plays, their performance dates and box office takings was also examined as was the Platte, or plot, of the Second Part of the Seven Deadly Sins.***

*MS I f44

**MS VII

***MS XIX

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