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Course overview

Paulina (The Winter's Tale)

Sicilian noblewoman Paulina never hesitates to speak truth to power. When King Leontes “runs mad” and causes the death of his wife, she fearlessly castigates him. But is Queen Hermione actually dead? Or does Paulina mystically restore her to life? Unravel this mystery with RADA tutor Alison Skilbeck. Joining Alison on this course is Dr Anna Maerker, Reader in History of Medicine at King’s College, London; and an international authority on the material and visual culture of medicine and science.

Memorably, three witches inhabit Macbeth, and these ‘weird sisters’ are supernatural beings. But what about Shakespeare’s other plays in which women are unthinkingly dubbed ‘witches’? How are these crude assumptions questioned?

This short course explores sorcery and sexual politics in Shakespeare's work, examining a remarkable woman who existed within male dominion – and who, by transgressing patriarchal norms, became labelled as a witch.

No specialist knowledge is required, but you should be prepared to read portions of texts, as these courses are both practical as well as discursive; and the “act of acting” will play a key part in discovering the way the play works.

Reading material

In advance of the course starting, please ensure you have read a copy of The Winters Tale, and have one to hand during the course. We recommend the Arden addition. Please play particular attention to the scenes with Paulina in them.

Course dates - Paulina, The Winter's Tale

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How to book

Book your place online

If you have questions relating to your booking, please email

About RADA's Winter Shorts

RADA's Winter Shorts is a set of ten online acting courses, designed to challenge and inspire.

Delivered by tutors from RADA's acting faculty, you can book all ten courses, or each one separately.

Terms and conditions

Please note: All courses are non-refundable and non-transferable. All classes begin promptly and latecomers may not be admitted.

Even though we're working through screens, participants should wear loose and comfortable clothing and be prepared to remove their shoes.