Trace the development of english drama in the elizabethan period

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Elizabeth had already been on the throne for ten years when we see the first commercial public play house being built by records from 1567 and these venues were specially for the performance of plays. They offered novel entertainment opportunities for London,  but drama, plays and pageantry had toured the countryside a long time before.

There were performances called mystery plays and miracle plays which were the main part of early Elizabethan performance and drama – and these had been going around for centuries. They  dramatised the Bible and illustrated the lives of saints, so were  linked to the church's calendar being performed at special times of the year, such as holy days and sanits feast days.

Play wagons were taken around the towns, halting at important locations to perform plays outside for the general public. Players would sometimes act out the whole Bible and a holiday atmosphere prevailed with side shows and music and trade.

However Henry V111 split with the Catholic church so the religious drama died out and the space was filled with tragedies, histories and  comedies which we now link with Shakespeare and other writers of his time.

This new kind of drama was more professional and commercial performed by employed actor/writers who travelled the country staging plays wherever they might get a ready audience such as pubs,  taverns, guildhalls, churches and churchyards, Eventually of course, one enterprising young actor/writer realised the entrepreneurial potential of a fixed venue - and that was William Shakespeare's first theatre.

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