Origins[ edit ] Mystery play, Flanders15th century As early as the fifth century living tableaux were introduced into sacred services. At an early period chants from the service of the day were added to the prose dialogue.
Though initially tinged with religious zeal, Medieval theatre went through centuries of evolution and themes outside of the Bible were eventually accommodated.
It continued to flourish for centuries and served as an inspiration for Renaissance stage plays. Medieval Theatre History Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, a small band of performers travelled from place to place to entertain audiences from all walks of life.
These nomadic groups toured countries and regions to tell stories and jests, play music or perform acrobatic acts.
Festivals emerged wherever they went. However, despite the fun and excitement they brought to towns and cities, religious practitioners were antagonistic towards these travelling entertainers.
The influential Catholic Church attempted to convert them and put a stop to their street performances, which were deemed sinful. Despite the apparent hostility toward travelling performances, the Church was highly responsible for the growth of the Medieval theatre.
The Medieval church offered a service that required the dramatization of Biblical stories within the church premises. It was not until the s that religious dramas were held and performed outside of the church. Theatre experienced a paradigm shift over the centuries and gradually became more secular.
In the 16th century, Medieval theatre ended its reign. History of Medieval Theatre quick facts: Religious plays became more prominent outside of the church during the late Middle Ages.
Medieval theatre changed bit by bit since those times. The emergence of guilds, a bustling local economy and the gradual decline of feudalism were other factors that greatly contributed to the growth of Medieval theatre.
Vernacular Plays Vernacular plays grew in popularity from around to and took over the top spot once held by liturgical plays. A number of these plays were performed on open venues during the spring and summer seasons.
Also gaining fanfare were cycle plays, which were both religious and secular in nature. Though cycle plays dealt with a wide assortment of plots, it was not uncommon or unusual to base their stories on Biblical figures, sermons and church writings.
Cycle plays consisted of several episodes or chapters but without regard for chronology. They could also last for as short as a few hours and as long as several days. The author of cycle plays normally preferred anonymity.York plays, a cycle of 48 plays, dating from the 14th century, of unknown authorship, which were performed during the Middle Ages by craft guilds in the city of York, in the north of England, on the summer feast day of Corpus Christi.
Mystery Plays are still produced regularly throughout the United Kingdom. The local cycles were revived in both York and Chester in as part of the Festival .
Cycle Plays in medieval theatres required large numbers of actors up to people Medieval women were not often allowed to act in medieval theatres Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, wrote the world’s first liturgical drama, Regularis Concordia. York plays: York plays,, a cycle of 48 plays, dating from the 14th century, of unknown authorship, which were performed during the Middle Ages by craft guilds in the city of York, in the north of England, on the summer feast day of Corpus Christi.
Some of the York plays are almost identical with corresponding. cycle plays Source: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance Author(s): Alexandra F. Johnston.
A phrase used by scholars of medieval theatre to refer to the sequences of episodes that dramatize the sweep of. The most famous examples of Medieval plays are the English cycle dramas, the York Mystery Plays, the Chester Mystery Plays, the Wakefield Mystery Plays and the N-Town Plays, as well as the morality play, Everyman.
One of the earliest surviving secular plays in English is The Interlude of the Student and the Girl (c. ).