The History of English Theatre

Authors Avatar by danvanshat (student)

Nalin Dissanayake

In our first lesson we learnt about Mystery plays, which was early English theatre, it was heavily religious and was a popular form of teaching the bible to ordinary people. Mystery plays were performed by small companies that moved from town to town on small carts, performing on each cart was a show of different part of the bible. We also learned that Secular drama was a form of religious drama, but was suppressed in the 150s buy Henry VII; he saw entertainment as a way to impress his courtiers and foreign kings.

The first playhouses were purpose built and started appearing in London as secular drama began to dominate the entertainment scene. IN 1576 Britain’s first playhouse ‘The theatre’ was outside the city walls as the city of London was hostile to public performances. Many new playhouses had been created, the most famous them being ‘the globe theatre’ which performed plays written by William Shakespeare.

Join now!

 During Elizabethan theatre, plays were popular with everyone and people enjoyed various genres. New companies flourished and writers were employed to satisfy the demand for novelty. IN the 17th century King James I and his son Charles I commissioned p private performances called ‘masques’ which involved music, dance, costume and special effects. Inigo Jones introduced the proscenium arch and moveable scenery arrange in the perspective into British theatre., he used a series of of shutters that slid in and out, using grooves. He even flew in scenery from above and introduced coloured lighting by placing candles behind tinted glass.

In ...

This is a preview of the whole essay