Why did the Germanic-speaking people develop a theatre tradition so late?
Before the Age of Enlightenment, many of the German-speaking territories were not part of an overreaching country, but separated and distinct. Many of them did not have ancient traditions to draw on; there was also a cultural acceptance of France as the pinnacle of culture and art. Because of this, the Germanic Theatre traditions started in imitation and recycling of French and European traditions.
Around the 18th and 19th centuries, Germany began to unify a cultural base of legend, history, and tradition. These had all existed in some form, but were not considered historically important until the German Cultural Identity was created. Each separated State inside Germany had its own ruler, and its own traditions; each attempted to outshine the others, but with vastly different techniques. Near the end of the 19th century Germany was unified under Wilhelm of Prussia, and as each state integrated into Germany, their traditions integrated as well. In time, the Germanic Theatre Traditions became well-known and considered as historically important as any other European Theatre.