Last Updated: Sep 17, 2013
The History of Theatre
- 534 B.C. - Greek God Dionysus
- Dithyrambic chorus
- Leader & chorus
- Thespis & Thespian - Stepped out of dithyrambic chorus
- Playwrights included Aeschylus (Oresteia, which introduced the concept of a second actor); Sophocles (Oedipus Rex, which diminished the dithyrambic chorus); and Euripides (who provided a more naturalistic approach to works
- "Play" comes from the Latin word ludas
- Religious re-enactments
- Mystery, miracle, morality, and passion plays
- Italy provided the first steps taken toward the development of the proscenium or "picture frame" stage.
Romanticism and the Theatre
- The Industrial Revolution brought about elaborate mechanisms for changing scenery: fly-lofts, elevators, revolving stages.
Realism and the Theatre
- With the death of the silent movies musicians and actors became unemployed. That, combined with the Great Depression, leads the federal government to getting involved in Theatre.
Technological Advances: Musicals into Film, or how Hollywood competes with Broadway
- Biography in Context
Contains articles from encyclopedias, books, and other reference sources on thousands of significant and lesser-known individuals. Sources include: Contemporary Authors, Encyclopedia of World Biography, Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Contemporary Musicians, Historic World Leaders, Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists, Contemporary Black Biography, Religious Leaders of America, and the International Dictionary of Art and Artists.
- Discovering Collection
Searches reference books for geography & cultures, science, history, literature, current biographies, authors, & the like. Also has a multimedia section with audio, video, & still images, as well as a searchable timeline feature.
- Encyclopedia Britannica
The academic edition of Encyclopedia Britannica provides more college/university level information for all of your research needs.
- Grolier Online
Click here for access to New Book of Knowledge, Encyclopedia Americana, and many more.
Click on the websites below to find one of the nine eras of theater.
- Origins of the Theatre
Read this page from Dr. Scott Robinson of Central Washington University on the origin of theatre.
- Background information on Greek Theatre
Background information on Greek Theatre from Dr. Scott Robinson.
- Timeline of Greek Drama
A useful timeline of Greek drama, along with explanations of the origins of Greek drama, their staging, and Greek theatres.
- Greek, Roman and Medieval Q&A
This site features answers to questions on Greek, Roman and Medieval theatre.
- Dionysus and Greek Drama
The origins of Greek theatre was connected to the worship of the god Dionysus.
- The structure of a Greet theatre
Click on this link to see a drawing of a classic Greek theatre and read an explanation on its various parts.
- The Greek Chorus
A quick history of the Greek chorus.
- Greek Playwrights
Web page on Thespis, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.
- Database of Greek Actors and Playwrights
Our very own Biography in Context has pages on Greek actors and playwrights!
A summary page of resources from Biography in Context database.
- Overview of Roman Theatre
An overview of the Roman theatre from the Northern Virginia Community College, including the different types of plays the Romans used, actors, and theatre design.
- Roman Theatre
From Dr. Scott Robinson, a quick summary of the state of theatre during the Roman era.
- Scholarly Article on Medieval Theatre
From Encyclopedia Britannica comes a great overview of Medieval Theatre.
- Overview of Medieval Theatre
Dr. Scott Robinson presents an overview of Medieval theatre.
- Medieval Theatre
Another page from the North Virginia Community College with information about medieval theatre.
- Overview of Italian Theatre
Dr. Scott Robinson's overview of Italian theatre.
- Neoclassicism and Italian Theatre
From the North Virginia Community College, a summary of Italian theatre and its evolution to neoclassicism.
- English Theatre and William Shakespeare
Dr. Scott Robinson's overview of English theatre and William Shakespeare.
- English and Elizabethan Theatre
From the Northern Virginia Community College's page on theatre, this is another good overview of the state of theatre when William Shakespeare arrives on the scene (pun intended).
- Elizabethan Theatre
More information on Elizabethan theatre from the Northern Virginia Community College.
- Romanticism, the Industrial Age, and Theatre
Romanticism and the Industrial Revolution had lasting impact on theatre, as you can read on this page from the Northern Virginia Community College.
- European and US theatre, mid to late 1800s
Dr. Scott Robinson presents European and American theatres from the mid to late 1800s, and how they were affected by the Industrial Revolution.
- Realism and Theatre
Northern Virginia Community College offers an excellent page on realism and its impact on theatre.
- Realism and the Beginning of Modern Theatre
Dr. Scott Robinson summarizes the current of realism and how it evolved into the modern theatre.
- Early Modern Theatre
Northern Virginia Community College offers a great page on the early modern theatre.
- The Federal Theatre Project
The Federal Theater Project was created to combat depression-era unemployment between World Wars I and II.
- The Federal Theatre Project
From the Northern Virginia Community College's page on the Federal Theatre Project, which attempted to put unemployed theatre workers back to work.
- Quick overview of the history of Musicals
This is a quick overview of the history of musicals.
- The Rise of Musicals
Dr. Scott Robinson provides an overview of the theatre in Europe and the United States from 1940 to 1968.
- Scholarly Article on the Actors Studio
Grolier Online features a scholarly article on the Actors Studio.
- The Actors' Studio
Homepage of the Actors' Studio.
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