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Look Inside London Civic Theatre

London Civic Theatre
City Drama and Pageantry from Roman Times to 1558


  • Date Published: October 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521120364

£ 29.99

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About the Authors
  • Civic theatre - drama and pageantry sponsored by city and town governing bodies - is prominent in histories of early English provincial drama but has been largely ignored for pre-Elizabethan London. Anne Lancashire explodes the widely held notion that significant London theatre arose only in the age of Shakespeare, when the first commercial playhouses were built there. She outlines the extent and types of early civic theatrical performance, specifically in London, from Roman times to Elizabeth I's accession to the throne in 1558, focusing on Roman amphitheatre shows, medieval and early Tudor plays, mummings, royal entries, and other kinds of street pageantry. With evidence from a multitude of primary sources and extensive use of early chronicle histories, the book raises questions about this urban, largely political theatre which provided an important foundation for the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

    • Takes in non-scripted drama from Roman London to the Elizabethan period, i.e. medieval and Renaissance drama in one book
    • Author edited the Records of Early English Drama volume on this topic, published in 2003
    • For historians as well as drama specialists
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… a major, eye-opening book about London theatre before Shakespeare, written by the scholar who knows the subject from the ground to the top.' Scott McMillin

    Review of the hardback: 'A work of awe-inspiring scholarship covering 1500 years of civic theater in London. [It] will undoubtedly become standard reference material for anyone interested in the field …This book is a monumental achievement.' Studies in English Literature

    Review of the hardback: 'This book should be required reading for all scholars and teachers of drama and theatre, not only because it establishes many of the facts (and corrects many of the fictions) about theatre in London before 1558, but also because it demonstrates the extent to which Medieval theatre in general was a civic activity …' English Studies in Canada

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521120364
    • length: 376 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of abbreviations
    Company designations
    London Mayors and Sheriffs
    Transcription Practices
    Part I. From Roman Times to 1410:
    1. Roman London
    2. London c.410–1200
    3. London 1200–1410
    Part II. From 1410 to 1558:
    4. Company hall plays: performance records
    5. Company hall plays: types and performers
    6. Civic theatre and John Lydgate
    7. Land entries
    8. Water shows
    9. The Midsummer Watch
    10. The Lord Mayor's Show
    Appendices: Appendix A. Royals and other entries 1400–1558
    Appendix B. Selected civic records.

  • Author

    Anne Lancashire, University of Toronto

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