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Title: Theatre in late-medieval East Anglia
Author: Wright, Robert R.
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 1992
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In surveying and mapping aspects of the geographical and social conditions in medieval East Anglia, this study assesses the influence of industry and commerce and of the church on the developments towards theatre. The study develops the notion of a church Festive Calendar, and suggests that this and the availability of the church building and other, out-of-doors settings, provided the programme and the sites for a sequence of plays of devotion and celebration. The study, in pursuing questions of staging techniques, first asks what plays were performed in, and belonged to. East Anglia. Chapter 2 presents, with established and new material, such a list of extant plays - Moralities, Mysteries, Corpus Chisti plays, and Saints' plays. To this is added well documented, regional evidence of a large number of plays, sometimes recorded as "games", as "mays", as "interludes", and as "ales" or "drinkings", summarised in my map of East Anglian Medieval Theatre. Chapters 3 and 4 use this wide-ranging evidence to establish methods of staging and conclude that there was a regional style the forms of which are summarised in the practices of the "game place" suggested in the plan and the stage directions of the East Anglian Castle of Perseverance. These structures were certainly used in six instances, and, my collected evidence urges, in many other, unnamed equivalents, and were available for the presentation of plays by parochial companies, by neighbouring touring players and by patronised, professional troupes on tour. They were a cornerstone of the regional theatre and, as in the case of those other cornerstones - the monasteries and the religious and craft guilds - their decline was among the most regrettable aspects of social deprivation caused by the Reformation. This study newly reveals that some "game places", having replaced the monasteries as accommodation centres for players and audience, continued as Bridewells, and it suggests that touring companies from London, denied playing dates in East Anglia, took their "game place" experience back to the capital and applied it there.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available