A Brief History Of The Theatre

Now there are numerous avenues to peruse on the internet about the history of arts and culture, but I thought her I would give a brief overview of the decades of the art. For those of you who want more I found a visit, well a number actually, to the Victoria and Albert Museum an absolute delight. The information is so well presented and informative. They also run courses one of them Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Theatre; 4,000 years of theatre in 2 days. Wonderful!
Knowing something about the history of theatre and drama helps you understand something of the context of a play before you watch it. The origins of the history of drama is unknown, suspected that primitive tribes would re enact they days hunting or an event they saw for the education and amusement of the tribe. What follows still remains true today, shamans and tribal leaders saw the value of this and possible turned them into rituals, which continues to develop as did early man. We certainly know they had art so not so far removed to say they had a form of theatre.

While we might not know the beginning we certainly know that the Ancient Greeks enjoyed theatre. They had festivals to honour their gods, built amphitheatres to enact ritual dramas about their gods. Dioynisis the Greek god of wine and fertility being very popular festivals. Who does not like a party? Famous playwrights came forth in this period; Sophocles, Aeschlus and Euripides, although sadly much of their work has been lost. These drama’s where performed by very few people on stage; most being the ‘chorus’, a group of men and boys who narrated and provided the commentary. As individuals actors started to take to the stage the ‘chorus’ remained as important then as today in helping the audience find the nuance of what was being performed. Masks where in developed in this period to enhance the storytelling.

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