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Early English drama was essentially folk plays performed by traveling players in public sites. Secular and often not scripted, it answered the public’s desire to see familiar stories acted out. Medieval drama (1400-1500) evolved as workers’ guilds became more powerful. Plays called “pageant plays” (a pagond is a wagon on which the plays were performed thoughout a town) or “Corpus Christi plays” (the religious feast on which the plays were performed by guildsmen). In each major city (the scripts from Coventry, Lincoln, and York have been preserved), the guilds sponsored a parade of “pagonds” on which the stories of the Bible were performed in chronological order. A second kind of drama, which drew from both classical models and native wit, were “morality” plays such as Gammer Gurton’s Needle and The Four P’s.
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