An Illustrated History of British Theatre and Performance : Volume One - From the Romans to the Enlightenment book cover
1st Edition

An Illustrated History of British Theatre and Performance
Volume One - From the Romans to the Enlightenment

ISBN 9780367580407
Published June 30, 2020 by Routledge
660 Pages

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Book Description

An Illustrated History of British Theatre and Performance chronicles the history and development of theatre from the Roman era to the present day. As the most public of arts, theatre constantly interacts with changing social, political and intellectual movements and ideas, and Robert Leach’s masterful work restores to the foreground of this evolution the contributions of women, gay people and ethnic minorities, as well as the theatres of the English regions, and of Wales and Scotland.

Highly illustrated chapters trace the development of theatre through major plays from each period; evaluations of playwrights; contemporary dramatic theory; acting and acting companies; dance and music; the theatre buildings themselves; and the audience, while also highlighting enduring features of British theatre, from comic gags to the use of props.

This first volume spans from the earliest forms of performance to the popular theatres of high society and the Enlightenment, tracing a movement from the outdoor and fringe to the heart of the social world. The Illustrated History acts as an accessible, flexible basis for students of the theatre, and for pure fans of British theatre history there could be no better starting point.


Table of Contents

Prologue : The Romans in Britain  Part 1 : Theatre Before Theatres  Interlude : The Queen’s Men  Part 2 : Open Air Public Theatres  Interlude : The boy companies of St Paul’s and the Chapel Royal  Part 3 : Cavalier Theatre  Interlude : Dramatick Opera  Part 4 : Theatre and Bourgeois Society  Interlude : Eighteenth Century Amateur Theatricals  Part 5 : Theatre and the Enlightenment  Interlude : Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee


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Robert Leach has been schoolteacher, political activist, teacher of acting, freelance theatre director and academic. Not only has he taught at Birmingham, Edinburgh and Cumbria universities, he has also acted professionally in Britain and the USA, directed plays in Russia and Britain and published five volumes of poetry.