People and places : the social and topographical context of drama in York, 1554-1609.
Drama in York did not take place in isolation from the other happenings in the city, and this study examines the context of the presentation of drama between 1554 and 1609 through the lives of those people involved and the events of their time as revealed in the city records. The first chapter looks at the events of the years 1554, 1569, 1572, 1584, 1592 and 1609, including the dramatic presentations of those years: the final performances of the Corpus Christi Play and Pater Noster Play, Grafton's Interlude, the travelling players and an attempt to establish a theatre in York. It demonstrates in particular the effect on drama of the establishment of the Church of England and the growing strength of central authority. The longest chapter sets out information on people before whose houses the various plays were performed, and attempts to locate those houses and indicate the original appearance of the streets through which the pageants were taken. This is followed by an examination of the few people known to have been involved in presenting drama, comparing the different opportunities open to John stamper in 1554 and Richard Middleton in 1609. The implications of the documentary evidence for events, places and people are discussed in the final chapter, which notes how drama ceased to be a community activity, and how participation passed from the craftsmen to the professional and leisured classes.