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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: March 2008

1 - From Roman to Renaissance in drama and theatre

Today, the rise and fall of the phantom Roman Empire and its cultural dominion seem far-off events in a sequence hard to imagine, hard to suggest as even tangentially important to a modern history of British theatre. With the single blink of an eye, a contemporary theatre aficionado with interests in scripts, stages and costumes might quickly bypass whole centuries of Roman invasion, occupation and cultural colonialism. Theatres in the towns of Britannia like Verulamium provided sites for entertaining the well-to-do crowd and they also provided a home for communal gatherings of all kinds. In ancient Rome and its provinces, theatres were used for a number of purposes, some of the earliest ones clearly religious. Twenty-first-century theatre historians face a similar challenge in dealing with medieval drama at a time in history when religious faith is suspect in public ceremony and certainly abandoned on stage.
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The Cambridge History of British Theatre
  • Online ISBN: 9781139054058
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