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Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of
performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different from visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is ...
that uses live performers, usually
actors or actresses
actors or actresses
, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of
gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, Posture (psychology), posture, and body ...
, speech, song,
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

music
, and
dance Dance is a consisting of sequences of movement, either improvised or purposefully selected. This movement has and often value. Dance can be categorized and described by its , by its repertoire of movements, or by its or . An importan ...

dance
. Elements of art, such as painted scenery and
stagecraft Stagecraft is a technical aspect of theatrical Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live ...

stagecraft
such as
lighting Lighting or illumination is the deliberate use of light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is u ...

lighting
are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience. The specific place of the performance is also named by the word "theatre" as derived from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient Greek was the language of an ...
θέατρον (théatron, "a place for viewing"), itself from θεάομαι (theáomai, "to see", "to watch", "to observe"). Modern Western theatre comes, in large measure, from the
theatre of ancient Greece Ancient Greek theatre was a Theatre, theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece from 700 BC. The Polis, city-state of Classical Athens, Athens, which became a significant cultural, political, and religious place during this period, was i ...
, from which it borrows technical terminology, classification into
genres Genre () is any form or type of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner th ...
, and many of its
theme Theme or themes may refer to: * Theme (arts) In contemporary literary studies, a theme is a central topic, subject, or message within a narrative. Themes can be divided into two categories: a work's ''thematic concept'' is what readers "think the ...
s,
stock character A stock character is a stereotypical Police officers buying doughnuts and coffee, an example of perceived stereotypical behavior in North America. Social psychology Social psychology is the Science, scientific study of how the thoug ...
s, and plot elements. Theatre artist
Patrice PavisPatrice Pavis (born 1947) was Professor for Theatre Studies at the University of Kent A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education an ...
defines theatricality, theatrical language, stage writing and the specificity of theatre as synonymous expressions that differentiate theatre from the other
performing arts The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different from visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is ...
,
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...

literature
and the arts in general. Modern theatre includes performances of
plays Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * Play (theatre), a work of drama Play may refer also to: Computers and technology * Google Play, a digital content service * Play Framework, a Java framework * Play ...
and
musical theatre Musical theatre is a form of theatre, theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through words, music, ...
. The art forms of
ballet Ballet () is a type of that originated during the in the fifteenth century and later developed into a form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread and highly technical form of dance with . Ballet has been influential globally ...

ballet
and
opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by Singing, singers, but is distinct from musical theatre. Such a "work" (the literal translation of the Italian word "opera") is typically a c ...

opera
are also theatre and use many conventions such as
acting Acting is an activity in which a story is told by means of its enactment Enactment may refer to: Law * Enactment of a bill, when a bill becomes law * Enacting formula, formulaic words in a bill or act which introduce its provisions * Enactm ...

acting
, costumes and staging. They were influential to the development of
musical theatre Musical theatre is a form of theatre, theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through words, music, ...
; see those articles for more information.


History of theatre


Classical and Hellenistic Greece

The
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereignty, sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including c ...

city-state
of
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is where western theatre originated. It was part of a broader
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an int ...

culture
of theatricality and performance in
classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (the 5th and 4th centuries BC) in Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dar ...
that included
festivals A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or cultures. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, mela, or Muslim holidays, eid. A festival ...
, religious rituals,
politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in the selection ...
,
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
, athletics and gymnastics,
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...
,
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek language, Greek ''poiesis'', "making") is a form of literature that uses aesthetics, aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre (poetry), metre—to ...
, weddings, funerals, and '' symposia''. Participation in the city-state's many festivals—and mandatory attendance at the
City Dionysia The Dionysia () (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxim ...
as an audience member (or even as a participant in the theatrical productions) in particular—was an important part of
citizenship Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and th ...

citizenship
. Civic participation also involved the evaluation of the
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
of
orators Public speaking (also called oratory or oration) is giving speech face to face to a live audience An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art A work of art, artwork, art piece, ...
evidenced in performances in the law-court or political assembly, both of which were understood as analogous to the theatre and increasingly came to absorb its dramatic vocabulary. The Greeks also developed the concepts of
dramatic criticismTheatre criticism is a genre of arts criticism, and the act of writing or speaking about the performing arts such as a play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * Play (theatre), a work of drama Play may ...
and theatre architecture. Actors were either amateur or at best semi-professional. The
theatre of ancient Greece Ancient Greek theatre was a Theatre, theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece from 700 BC. The Polis, city-state of Classical Athens, Athens, which became a significant cultural, political, and religious place during this period, was i ...
consisted of three types of
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a g ...

drama
:
tragedy Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a genre of drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, balle ...

tragedy
,
comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humor Humour (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic lan ...
, and the
satyr play The satyr play is a form of theatre performance related to both and . It preserves theatrical elements of dialogue, actors speaking verse, a chorus that dances and sings, masks and costumes. Its relationship to tragedy is strong; satyr plays wer ...
. The origins of theatre in ancient Greece, according to
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
(384–322 BCE), the first theoretician of theatre, are to be found in the festivals that honoured Dionysus. The performances were given in semi-circular auditoria cut into hillsides, capable of seating 10,000–20,000 people. The stage consisted of a dancing floor (orchestra), dressing room and scene-building area (skene). Since the words were the most important part, good acoustics and clear delivery were paramount. The actors (always men) wore masks appropriate to the characters they represented, and each might play several parts. Athenian tragedy—the oldest surviving form of tragedy—is a type of
dance Dance is a consisting of sequences of movement, either improvised or purposefully selected. This movement has and often value. Dance can be categorized and described by its , by its repertoire of movements, or by its or . An importan ...

dance
-drama that formed an important part of the theatrical culture of the city-state. Having emerged sometime during the 6th century BCE, it flowered during the 5th century BCE (from the end of which it began to spread throughout the Greek world), and continued to be popular until the beginning of the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
. No tragedies from the 6th century BCE and only 32 of the more than a thousand that were performed in during the 5th century BCE have survived. We have complete texts
extant Extant is the opposite of the word extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism or of a group of kinds (taxon), usually a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the endling, last individual o ...
by
Aeschylus Aeschylus (, ; grc-gre, Αἰσχύλος ''Aiskhylos'', ; c. 525/524 – c. 456/455 BC) was an author of , and is often described as the father of . Academics' knowledge of the genre begins with his work, and understanding of earlier Greek t ...
,
Sophocles Sophocles (; grc, Σοφοκλῆς, ; 497/6 – winter 406/5 BC)Sommerstein (2002), p. 41. is one of three ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient ...

Sophocles
, and
Euripides Euripides (; grc, Εὐριπίδης ''Eurīpídēs'', ; ) was a of . Along with and , he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom any plays have survived in full. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him, but t ...

Euripides
. The origins of tragedy remain obscure, though by the 5th century BCE it was
institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927 – December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist, adviser and academic. He spent more than half a century at Harvard University Har ...
alised in competitions (''
agon Agon ( ) is an ancient Greek term for a conflict, struggle or contest. This could be a contest in athletics, in or horse racing, or in music or literature at a public festival in ancient Greece. Agon is the word-forming element in 'agony', expl ...

agon
'') held as part of festivities celebrating
Dionysus Dionysus (; grc-gre, Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in Religion in ancient Greece, ancient Greek reli ...

Dionysus
(the
god In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...
of
wine Wine is an alcoholic drink typically made from Fermentation in winemaking, fermented grapes. Yeast in winemaking, Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide, releasing heat in the process. Different v ...

wine
and
fertility Fertility is the capability to produce through following the onset of . The is the average number of children born by a female during her lifetime and is quantified . Fertility is addressed when there is a difficulty or an inability to repro ...
). As contestants in the City Dionysia's competition (the most prestigious of the festivals to stage drama) playwrights were required to present a
tetralogy A tetralogy (from Greek τετρα- '' tetra-'', "four" and -λογία ''-logia'', "discourse"), also known as a quartet or quadrilogy, is a compound work that is made up of four distinct works. The name comes from the Attic theater Theat ...

tetralogy
of plays (though the individual works were not necessarily connected by story or theme), which usually consisted of three tragedies and one satyr play. The performance of tragedies at the City Dionysia may have begun as early as 534 BCE; official records (''didaskaliai'') begin from 501 BCE, when the satyr play was introduced. Most Athenian tragedies dramatise events from
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. Modern study the myths t ...
, though ''
The Persians ''The Persians'' ( grc, Πέρσαι, ''Persai'', Latinised as ''Persae'') is an ancient Greek tragedy written during the Classical period of Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of ...
''—which stages the
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...

Persian
response to news of their military defeat at the
Battle of Salamis The Battle of Salamis ( ; grc, Ναυμαχία τῆς Σαλαμῖνος, Naumachía tês Salamînos) was a naval battle Naval warfare is human combat in and on the sea, the ocean, or any other battlespace involving a major body of water ...

Battle of Salamis
in 480 BCE—is the notable exception in the surviving drama. When Aeschylus won first prize for it at the City Dionysia in 472 BCE, he had been writing tragedies for more than 25 years, yet its tragic treatment of recent history is the earliest example of
drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ballet, etc., performed in a theatre, or on Radio drama, radio or television.Elam (1980, 98). Considered as a g ...

drama
to survive. More than 130 years later, the philosopher
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
analysed 5th-century Athenian tragedy in the oldest surviving work of
dramatic theory Dramatic theory is a term used for works that attempt to form theories about theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or ...
—his ''
Poetics Poetics is the theory of literary forms and literary discourse Discourse is a generalization of the notion of a conversation Conversation is interactive communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the ...
'' (c. 335 BCE). Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods, "Old Comedy", "Middle Comedy", and "New Comedy". Old Comedy survives today largely in the form of the eleven surviving plays of
Aristophanes Aristophanes (; grc, Ἀριστοφάνης, ; c. 446 – c. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme 250px, Pinakia, identification tablets (name, father's name, deme) used for tasks like jury selection, Museum at the Ancient Agora of Athen ...

Aristophanes
, while Middle Comedy is largely lost (preserved only in relatively short fragments in authors such as
Athenaeus of Naucratis Athenaeus of Naucratis (; grc, Ἀθήναιος ὁ Nαυκρατίτης or Nαυκράτιος, ''Athēnaios Naukratitēs'' or ''Naukratios''; la, Athenaeus Naucratita) was a Greeks, Greek rhetorician and grammarian, flourishing about the end ...
). New Comedy is known primarily from the substantial papyrus fragments of
Menander Menander (; grc-gre, Μένανδρος ''Menandros''; c. 342/41 – c. 290 BC) was a Greek dramatist and the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy. He wrote 108 comedies and took the prize at the Lenaia festival eight times. His r ...

Menander
. Aristotle defined comedy as a representation of laughable people that involves some kind of blunder or ugliness that does not cause pain or disaster. In addition to the categories of comedy and tragedy at the City Dionysia, the festival also included the
Satyr Play The satyr play is a form of theatre performance related to both and . It preserves theatrical elements of dialogue, actors speaking verse, a chorus that dances and sings, masks and costumes. Its relationship to tragedy is strong; satyr plays wer ...
. Finding its origins in rural, agricultural rituals dedicated to Dionysus, the satyr play eventually found its way to Athens in its most well-known form. Satyr's themselves were tied to the god Dionysus as his loyal woodland companions, often engaging in drunken revelry and mischief at his side. The satyr play itself was classified as tragicomedy, erring on the side of the more modern burlesque traditions of the early twentieth century. The plotlines of the plays were typically concerned with the dealings of the pantheon of Gods and their involvement in human affairs, backed by the chorus of
Satyrs In , a satyr ( grc-gre, , sátyros, ), also known as a silenus or ''silenos'' ( grc-gre, ), is a male with ears and a tail resembling those of a horse, as well as a permanent, exaggerated . Early artistic representations sometimes include h ...
. However, according to Webster, satyr actors did not always perform typical satyr actions and would break from the acting traditions assigned to the character type of a mythical forest creature.


Roman theatre

Western theatre developed and expanded considerably under the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
. The Roman historian
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a historian. He wrote a monumental history of and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional founding in 753 BC th ...
wrote that the Romans first experienced theatre in the 4th century BCE, with a performance by
Etruscan__NOTOC__ Etruscan may refer to: Ancient civilisation *The Etruscan language, an extinct language in ancient Italy *Something derived from or related to the Etruscan civilization **Etruscan architecture **Etruscan art **Etruscan cities **Etruscan ...
actors. Beacham argues that they had been familiar with "pre-theatrical practices" for some time before that recorded contact. The
theatre of ancient Rome The architectural form of theatre in Rome has been linked to later, more well-known examples from the 1st century BC to the 3rd Century AD. The Theatre of ancient Rome referred to as a period of time in which theatrical practice and performance t ...
was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from
festival A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or cultures. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, mela, or Muslim holidays, eid. A festiva ...
performances of
street theatre A troupe of street theatre performers by the beach in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Street theatre is a form of theatrical Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors ...
, nude dancing, and
acrobatics Acrobatics (from Ancient Greek ἀκροβατέω, ''akrobateo'', "walk on tiptoe, strut") is the performance of human feats of balance (ability), balance, agility, and motor coordination. Acrobatic skills are used in performing arts, sports, s ...

acrobatics
, to the staging of
Plautus Titus Maccius Plautus (; c. 254 – 184 BC), commonly known as Plautus, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome ...

Plautus
's broadly appealing situation
comedies Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction consisting of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, film, stand-up comedy, television ...
, to the high-style, verbally elaborate
tragedies Tragedy (from the grc-gre, wiktionary:τραγῳδία, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a form of drama based on human suffering and, mainly, the terrible or sorrowful events that befall a tragic hero, main character. T ...

tragedies
of
Seneca Seneca may refer to: People and language *Seneca (name), a list of people with either the given name or surname *Seneca the Elder, a Roman rhetorician, writer and father of the stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger *Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoi ...
. Although Rome had a native tradition of performance, the
Hellenization Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the adoption of Greek culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as t ...
of
Roman culture The culture of ancient Rome existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of gover ...
in the 3rd century BCE had a profound and energizing effect on Roman theatre and encouraged the development of
Latin literature Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings written in the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originall ...
of the highest quality for the stage. The only surviving plays from the Roman Empire are ten dramas attributed to
Lucius Annaeus Seneca Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; AD65), usually known as Seneca, was a , statesman, , and, in one work, , from the post-Augustan age of . Seneca was born in in , and raised in , where he was trained in and . His father was , his elder b ...
(4 BCE–65 CE), the Corduba-born Stoic philosopher and tutor of Nero.


Indian theatre

The earliest-surviving fragments of
Sanskrit drama The term Indian classical drama refers to the tradition of dramatic literature and performance in ancient India. The origin of dramatic performance in the Indian subcontinent can be traced back to as early as 200 BCE. Its drama is regarded as the h ...
date from the 1st century CE. The wealth of archeological evidence from earlier periods offers no indication of the existence of a tradition of theatre. The ancient ''
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical la ...

Vedas
'' (
hymn A hymn is a type of song A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at melody, distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various song form, ...

hymn
s from between 1500 and 1000 BCE that are among the earliest examples of
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...

literature
in the world) contain no hint of it (although a small number are composed in a form of
dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. ...
) and the
ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized, ...

ritual
s of the Vedic period do not appear to have developed into theatre. The ''
Mahābhāṣya The ' ( sa, महाभाष्य, , ''great commentary''), attributed to Patañjali ( sa, पतञ्जलि) was a sage in ancient India, thought to be the author of a number of Sanskrit works. The greatest of these are the ''Yoga Sut ...
'' by
Patañjali ( sa, पतञ्जलि) was a sage in ancient India, thought to be the author of a number of Sanskrit works. The greatest of these are the ''Yoga Sutras Patañjali Statue (traditional form indicating kundalini or incarnation of She ...
contains the earliest reference to what may have been the seeds of Sanskrit drama. This treatise on
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the me ...
from 140 BCE provides a feasible date for the beginnings of
theatre in India Indian theatre is one of the most ancient forms of theatre and it features a detailed textual, sculptural, and dramatic effects which emerged in mid first millennium BC. Like in the areas of music and dance, the Indian theatre is also defined by ...
. The major source of evidence for Sanskrit theatre is '' A Treatise on Theatre'' (''Nātyaśāstra''), a compendium whose date of composition is uncertain (estimates range from 200 BCE to 200 CE) and whose authorship is attributed to
Bharata Muni Bharata Muni (भरत मुनि) was an ancient India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, t ...
. The ''Treatise'' is the most complete work of dramaturgy in the ancient world. It addresses
acting Acting is an activity in which a story is told by means of its enactment Enactment may refer to: Law * Enactment of a bill, when a bill becomes law * Enacting formula, formulaic words in a bill or act which introduce its provisions * Enactm ...

acting
,
dance Dance is a consisting of sequences of movement, either improvised or purposefully selected. This movement has and often value. Dance can be categorized and described by its , by its repertoire of movements, or by its or . An importan ...

dance
,
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

music
, dramatic construction,
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''archi ...
,
costuming Costume is the distinctive style of dress or cosmetic of an individual or group that reflects class, gender, profession, ethnicity, nationality, activity or epoch. In short costume is a cultural visual of the people. The term also was traditiona ...
,
make-up Cosmetics are constituted mixtures of s derived from either s, or synthetically created ones.Schneider, Günther ''et al'' (2005). "Skin Cosmetics" in ''Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry'', Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. Cosmetics have var ...
, props, the organisation of companies, the audience, competitions, and offers a
mythological Myth is a consisting of s that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or s. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as , s, and other figures., and , eds. 2003. "Myths." In ''A Dictionary of English ...
account of the origin of theatre. In doing so, it provides indications about the nature of actual theatrical practices. Sanskrit theatre was performed on sacred ground by priests who had been trained in the necessary skills (dance, music, and recitation) in a ereditary process Its aim was both to educate and to entertain. Under the patronage of royal courts, performers belonged to professional companies that were directed by a stage manager (''sutradhara''), who may also have acted. This task was thought of as being analogous to that of a
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—the literal meaning of "''sutradhara''" is "holder of the strings or threads". The performers were trained rigorously in vocal and physical technique. There were no prohibitions against female performers; companies were all-male, all-female, and of mixed gender. Certain sentiments were considered inappropriate for men to enact, however, and were thought better suited to women. Some performers played characters their own age, while others played ages different from their own (whether younger or older). Of all the elements of theatre, the ''Treatise'' gives most attention to acting (''abhinaya''), which consists of two styles: realistic (''lokadharmi'') and conventional (''natyadharmi''), though the major focus is on the latter. Its drama is regarded as the highest achievement of
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. It utilised
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s, such as the hero (''nayaka''), heroine (''nayika''), or clown (''vidusaka''). Actors may have specialised in a particular type.
Kālidāsa Kālidāsa (Devanagari: कालिदास; ''fl.'' 4th–5th century CE) was a Classical Sanskrit author who is often considered ancient India's greatest playwright and dramatist. His plays and poetry are primarily based on the Vedas, th ...
in the 1st century BCE, is arguably considered to be ancient
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India
's greatest Sanskrit dramatist. Three famous romantic plays written by Kālidāsa are the '' Mālavikāgnimitram'' (''Mālavikā and Agnimitra''), '' Vikramuurvashiiya'' (''Pertaining to Vikrama and Urvashi''), and '' Abhijñānaśākuntala'' (''The Recognition of Shakuntala''). The last was inspired by a story in the ''Mahabharata'' and is the most famous. It was the first to be translated into
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. '' Śakuntalā'' (in English translation) influenced Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe's ''Goethe's Faust, Faust'' (1808–1832). The next great Indian dramatist was Bhavabhuti (c. 7th century CE). He is said to have written the following three plays: ''Malati-Madhava'', ''Mahaviracharita'' and ''Uttar Ramacharita''. Among these three, the last two cover between them the entire epic of ''Ramayana''. The powerful Indian emperor Harsha (606–648) is credited with having written three plays: the comedy ''Ratnavali'', ''Priyadarsika'', and the Buddhist drama ''Nagananda''.


Chinese theatre

The Tang dynasty is sometimes known as "The Age of 1000 Entertainments". During this era, Ming Huang formed an acting school known as The Pear Garden to produce a form of drama that was primarily musical. That is why actors are commonly called "Children of the Pear Garden." During the dynasty of Empress Ling, Shadow play, shadow puppetry first emerged as a recognized form of theatre in China. There were two distinct forms of shadow puppetry, Pekingese (northern) and Cantonese (southern). The two styles were differentiated by the method of making the puppets and the positioning of the rods on the puppets, as opposed to the type of Play (theatre), play performed by the puppets. Both styles generally performed plays depicting great adventure and fantasy, rarely was this very stylized form of theatre used for political propaganda. Cantonese shadow puppets were the larger of the two. They were built using thick leather which created more substantial shadows. Symbolic color was also very prevalent; a black face represented honesty, a red one bravery. The rods used to control Cantonese puppets were attached perpendicular to the puppets' heads. Thus, they were not seen by the audience when the shadow was created. Pekingese puppets were more delicate and smaller. They were created out of thin, translucent leather (usually taken from the belly of a donkey). They were painted with vibrant paints, thus they cast a very colorful shadow. The thin rods which controlled their movements were attached to a leather collar at the neck of the puppet. The rods ran parallel to the bodies of the puppet then turned at a ninety degree angle to connect to the neck. While these rods were visible when the shadow was cast, they laid outside the shadow of the puppet; thus they did not interfere with the appearance of the figure. The rods attached at the necks to facilitate the use of multiple heads with one body. When the heads were not being used, they were stored in a muslin book or fabric lined box. The heads were always removed at night. This was in keeping with the old superstition that if left intact, the puppets would come to life at night. Some puppeteers went so far as to store the heads in one book and the bodies in another, to further reduce the possibility of reanimating puppets. Shadow puppetry is said to have reached its highest point of artistic development in the eleventh century before becoming a tool of the government. In the Song dynasty, there were many popular plays involving acrobatics and music. These developed in the Yuan dynasty into a more sophisticated form known as ''zaju'', with a four- or five-act structure. Yuan drama spread across China and diversified into numerous regional forms, one of the best known of which is Peking Opera which is still popular today. Xiangsheng is a certain traditional Chinese comedic performance in the forms of monologue or dialogue.


Indonesian theatre

In Indonesia, theatre performances have become an important part of local culture, theatre performances in Indonesia have been developed for thousands of years. Most of Theatre of Indonesia, Indonesia’s oldest theatre forms are linked directly to local literary traditions (oral and written). The prominent puppet theatre, puppet theatres — wayang golek (wooden rod-puppet play) of the Sundanese people#culture, Sundanese and wayang kulit (leather shadow-puppet play) of the Javanese culture, Javanese and Balinese culture, Balinese—draw much of their repertoire from indigenized versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. These tales also provide source material for the wayang wong (human theatre) of Java and Bali, which uses actors. Some wayang golek performances, however, also present Muslim stories, called ''menak''. Wayang is an ancient form of storytelling that renowned for its elaborate puppet/human and complex musical styles. The earliest evidence is from the late 1st millennium CE, in medieval-era texts and archeological sites. The oldest known record that concerns wayang is from the 9th century. Around 840 AD an Old Javanese (Kawi) inscriptions called Jaha Inscriptions issued by Maharaja Sri Lokapalaform Medang Kingdom in Central Java mentions three sorts of performers: atapukan, aringgit, and abanol. Aringgit means Wayang puppet show, Atapukan means Mask dance show, and abanwal means joke art. Ringgit is described in an 11th-century Javanese poem as a leather shadow figure.


Post-classical theatre in the West

Theatre took on many alternative forms in the West between the 15th and 19th centuries, including ''commedia dell'arte'' and melodrama. The general trend was away from the poetic drama of the Greeks and the Renaissance and toward a more naturalistic prose style of dialogue, especially following the Industrial Revolution. Theatre took a big pause during 1642 and 1660 in England because of the Puritans, Puritan Interregnum. Viewing theatre as something sinful, the Puritans ordered the London theatre closure 1642, closure of London theatres in 1642. This stagnant period ended once Charles II came back to the throne in 1660 in the Restoration (England), Restoration. Theatre (among other arts) exploded, with influence from French culture, since Charles had been exiled in France in the years previous to his reign. In 1660, two companies were licensed to perform, the Duke's Company and the King's Company. Performances were held in converted buildings, such as Lisle's Tennis Court. The first West End theatre, known as Theatre Royal in Covent Garden, London, was designed by Thomas Killigrew and built on the site of the present Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. One of the big changes was the new theatre house. Instead of the type of the Elizabethan era, such as the Globe Theatre, round with no place for the actors to really prep for the next act and with no "theatre manners", the theatre house became transformed into a place of refinement, with a stage in front and stadium seating facing it. Since seating was no longer all the way around the stage, it became prioritized—some seats were obviously better than others. The king would have the best seat in the house: the very middle of the theatre, which got the widest view of the stage as well as the best way to see the point of view and vanishing point that the stage was constructed around. Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg was one of the most influential set designers of the time because of his use of floor space and scenery. Because of the turmoil before this time, there was still some controversy about what should and should not be put on the stage. Jeremy Collier, a preacher, was one of the heads in this movement through his piece ''A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage''. The beliefs in this paper were mainly held by non-theatre goers and the remainder of the Puritans and very religious of the time. The main question was if seeing something immoral on stage affects behavior in the lives of those who watch it, a controversy that is still playing out today. The seventeenth century had also introduced women to the stage, which was considered inappropriate earlier. These women were regarded as celebrities (also a newer concept, thanks to ideas on individualism that arose in the wake of Renaissance Humanism), but on the other hand, it was still very new and revolutionary that they were on the stage, and some said they were unladylike, and looked down on them. Charles II did not like young men playing the parts of young women, so he asked that women play their own parts. Because women were allowed on the stage, playwrights had more leeway with plot twists, like women dressing as men, and having narrow escapes from morally sticky situations as forms of comedy. Comedies were full of the young and very much in vogue, with the storyline following their love lives: commonly a young roguish hero professing his love to the chaste and free minded heroine near the end of the play, much like Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Sheridan's ''The School for Scandal''. Many of the comedies were fashioned after the French tradition, mainly Molière, again hailing back to the French influence brought back by the King and the Royals after their exile. Molière was one of the top comedic playwrights of the time, revolutionizing the way comedy was written and performed by combining Italian commedia dell'arte and Neoclassicism, neoclassical French comedy to create some of the longest lasting and most influential satiric comedies. Tragedies were similarly victorious in their sense of righting political power, especially poignant because of the recent Restoration of the Crown. They were also imitations of French tragedy, although the French had a larger distinction between comedy and tragedy, whereas the English fudged the lines occasionally and put some comedic parts in their tragedies. Common forms of non-comedic plays were sentimental comedies as well as something that would later be called ''tragédie bourgeoise'', or domestic tragedy—that is, the tragedy of common life—were more popular in England because they appealed more to English sensibilities. While theatre troupes were formerly often travelling, the idea of the national theatre gained support in the 18th century, inspired by Ludvig Holberg. The major promoter of the idea of the national theatre in Germany, and also of the ''Sturm und Drang'' poets, was Abel Seyler, the owner of the Hamburgische Entreprise and the Seyler Theatre Company.Wilhelm Kosch, "Seyler, Abel", in ''Dictionary of German Biography'', eds. Walther Killy and Rudolf Vierhaus, Vol. 9, Walter de Gruyter editor, 2005, , . Through the Nineteenth-century theatre, 19th century, the popular theatrical forms of Romanticism, melodrama, Victorian burlesque and the well-made plays of Eugène Scribe, Scribe and Victorien Sardou, Sardou gave way to the problem plays of Naturalism (theatre), Naturalism and Realism (theatre), Realism; the farces of Georges Feydeau, Feydeau; Richard Wagner, Wagner's
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(including Gilbert and Sullivan's operas); F. C. Burnand's, W. S. Gilbert's and Oscar Wilde's drawing-room comedies; Symbolism (arts), Symbolism; proto-Expressionism in the late works of August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen; and Edwardian musical comedy. These trends continued through the Twentieth-century theatre, 20th century in the Realism (theatre), realism of Konstantin Stanislavski, Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg, the political theatre of Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht, the so-called Theatre of the Absurd of Samuel Beckett and Eugène Ionesco, American and British musicals, the collective creations of companies of actors and directors such as Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, experimental and postmodern theatre of Robert Wilson (director), Robert Wilson and Robert Lepage, the Postcolonialism, postcolonial theatre of August Wilson or Tomson Highway, and Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed.


Eastern theatrical traditions

The first form of Theatre of India, Indian theatre was the Sanskrit drama, Sanskrit theatre. It began after the development of Theatre of ancient Greece, Greek and Theatre of ancient Rome, Roman theatre and before the development of theatre in other parts of Asia. It emerged sometime between the 2nd century BCE and the 1st century CE and flourished between the 1st century CE and the 10th, which was a period of relative peace in the history of India during which hundreds of plays were written. Japanese forms of Kabuki, Noh, Nō, and Kyōgen developed in the 17th century CE. Theatre in the Islamic Golden Age, medieval Islamic world included puppet theatre (which included hand puppets, shadow plays and marionette productions) and live passion plays known as ''ta'ziya'', where actors re-enact episodes from Muslim history. In particular, Shia Islamic plays revolved around the ''Shahid, shaheed'' (martyrdom) of Ali's sons Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali. Secular plays were known as ''akhraja'', recorded in medieval ''Adab (behavior), adab'' literature, though they were less common than puppetry and ''ta'ziya'' theatre.


Types


Drama

Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance. The term comes from a Ancient Greek, Greek word meaning "Action (philosophy), action", which is derived from the verb δράω, ''dráō'', "to do" or "to act". The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a Stage (theatre), stage before an audience, presupposes Collaboration, collaborative modes of production and a collective form of reception. The Dramatic structure, structure of dramatic texts, unlike other forms of
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, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective reception. The English Renaissance theatre, early modern
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tragedy
''Hamlet'' (1601) by William Shakespeare, Shakespeare and the Theatre of ancient Greece, classical Athenian tragedy ''Oedipus Rex'' (c. 429 BCE) by
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Sophocles
are among the masterpieces of the art of drama. A modern example is ''Long Day's Journey into Night'' by Eugene O'Neill (1956). Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with the Epic poetry, epic and the Lyric poetry, lyrical modes ever since
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. The use of "drama" in the narrow sense to designate a specific ''type'' of Play (theatre), play dates from the Nineteenth-century theatre, 19th century. Drama in this sense refers to a play that is ''neither'' a comedy nor a tragedy—for example, Émile Zola, Zola's ''Thérèse Raquin'' (1873) or Anton Chekhov, Chekhov's ''Ivanov (play), Ivanov'' (1887). In Ancient Greece however, the word ''drama'' encompassed all theatrical plays, tragic, comic, or anything in between. Drama is often combined with theatre music, music and
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: the drama in
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is generally sung throughout; Musical theatre, musicals generally include both spoken
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and songs; and some forms of drama have incidental music or musical accompaniment underscoring the dialogue (melodrama and Japanese Noh, Nō, for example). In certain periods of history (the ancient Ancient Rome, Roman and modern Romanticism, Romantic) some dramas have been written to be Closet drama, read rather than performed. In Improvisational theatre, improvisation, the drama does not pre-exist the moment of performance; performers devise a dramatic script spontaneously before an audience.


Musical theatre

Music and theatre have had a close relationship since ancient times—Classical Athens, Athenian
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, for example, was a form of
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that employed a Greek chorus, chorus whose parts were sung (to the accompaniment of an ''aulos''—an instrument comparable to the modern clarinet), as were some of the actors' responses and their 'solo songs' (Monody, monodies). Modern
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is a form of theatre that also combines music, spoken dialogue, and dance. It emerged from comic opera (especially Gilbert and Sullivan), Variety show, variety, vaudeville, and music hall genres of the late Nineteenth-century theatre, 19th and early Twentieth-century theatre, 20th century. After the Edwardian musical comedy that began in the 1890s, the Princess Theatre, New York City, Princess Theatre musicals of the early 20th century, and comedies in the 1920s and 1930s (such as the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein), with ''Oklahoma!'' (1943), musicals moved in a more dramatic direction. Famous musicals over the subsequent decades included ''My Fair Lady'' (1956), ''West Side Story'' (1957), ''The Fantasticks'' (1960), ''Hair (musical), Hair'' (1967), ''A Chorus Line'' (1975), ''Les Misérables (musical), Les Misérables'' (1980), ''Cats (musical), Cats'' (1981), ''Into the Woods'' (1986), and ''The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical), The Phantom of the Opera'' (1986), as well as more contemporary hits including ''Rent (musical), Rent'' (1994), ''The Lion King (musical), The Lion King'' (1997), ''Wicked (musical), Wicked'' (2003), ''Hamilton (musical), Hamilton'' (2015) and ''Frozen (musical), Frozen'' (2018). Musical theatre may be produced on an intimate scale Off-Broadway, in Community theatre, regional theatres, and elsewhere, but it often includes spectacle. For instance, Broadway theatre, Broadway and West End theatre, West End musicals often include lavish costumes and sets supported by multimillion-dollar budgets.


Comedy

Theatre productions that use humour as a vehicle to tell a story qualify as comedies. This may include a modern farce such as ''Boeing-Boeing (play), Boeing Boeing'' or a classical play such as ''As You Like It''. Theatre expressing bleak, controversial or taboo subject matter in a deliberately humorous way is referred to as black comedy. Black Comedy can have several genres like slapstick humour, dark and sarcastic comedy.


Tragedy

Aristotle's phrase "several kinds being found in separate parts of the play" is a reference to the structural origins of drama. In it the spoken parts were written in the Attic dialect whereas the choral (recited or sung) ones in the Doric Greek, Doric dialect, these discrepancies reflecting the differing religious origins and Metre (poetry), poetic metres of the parts that were fused into a new entity, the theatrical ''drama''. Tragedy refers to a specific Poetic tradition, tradition of
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drama
that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of Western culture, Western civilisation. That tradition has been multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural identity and historical continuity—"the Classical Athens, Greeks and the Elizabethan era, Elizabethans, in one cultural form; Hellenistic civilization, Hellenes and Christians, in a common activity," as Raymond Williams puts it. From its obscure origins in the Theatre of ancient Greece, theatres of Athens 2,500 years ago, from which there survives only a fraction of the work of
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,
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and
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, through its singular articulations in the works of William Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Jean Racine, Racine, and Friedrich Schiller, Schiller, to the more recent Naturalism (theatre), naturalistic tragedy of August Strindberg, Strindberg, Samuel Beckett, Beckett's Modernism, modernist meditations on death, loss and suffering, and Heiner Müller, Müller's Postmodernism, postmodernist reworkings of the tragic canon, tragedy has remained an important site of cultural experimentation, negotiation, struggle, and change. In the wake of Aristotle's ''
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'' (335 BCE), tragedy has been used to make genre distinctions, whether at the scale of poetry in general (where the tragic divides against Epic poetry, epic and Lyric poetry, lyric) or at the scale of the drama (where tragedy is opposed to
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). In the Modernity, modern era, tragedy has also been defined against drama, melodrama, Tragicomedy, the tragicomic, and epic theatre.


Improvisation

Improvisation has been a consistent feature of theatre, with the Commedia dell'arte in the sixteenth century being recognised as the first improvisation form. Popularized by Nobel Prize Winner Dario Fo and troupes such as the Upright Citizens Brigade improvisational theatre continues to evolve with many different streams and philosophies. Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin are recognized as the first teachers of improvisation in modern times, with Johnstone exploring improvisation as an alternative to scripted theatre and Spolin and her successors exploring improvisation principally as a tool for developing dramatic work or skills or as a form for situational comedy. Spolin also became interested in how the process of learning improvisation was applicable to the development of human potential. Spolin's son, Paul Sills popularized improvisational theatre as a theatrical art form when he founded, as its first director, The Second City in Chicago.


Theories

Having been an important part of human culture for more than 2,500 years, theatre has evolved a wide range of different Dramatic theory, theories and practices. Some are related to political or spiritual ideologies, while others are based purely on "artistic" concerns. Some processes focus on a story, some on theatre as event, and some on theatre as catalyst for social change. The Ancient Greek philosophy, classical Greek philosopher
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, in his seminal treatise, ''
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'' (c. 335 BCE) is the earliest-surviving example and its arguments have influenced theories of theatre ever since. In it, he offers an account of what he calls "poetry" (a term which in Greek literally means "making" and in this context includes
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,
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tragedy
, and the
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—as well as lyric poetry, epic poetry, and the dithyramb). He examines its "first principles" and identifies its genres and basic elements; his analysis of
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tragedy
constitutes the core of the discussion. Aristotle argues that tragedy consists of six qualitative parts, which are (in order of importance) ''Mythos (Aristotle), mythos'' or "plot", ''ethos'' or "character", ''dianoia'' or "thought", ''Lexis (Aristotle), lexis'' or "diction", ''wikt:melos, melos'' or "song", and ''opsis'' or "spectacle". "Although Aristotle's ''Poetics'' is universally acknowledged in the Western culture, Western critical tradition", Marvin Carlson explains, "almost every detail about his seminal work has aroused divergent opinions." Important theatre practitioners of the Twentieth-century theatre, 20th century include Konstantin Stanislavski, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Jacques Copeau, Edward Gordon Craig, Bertolt Brecht, Antonin Artaud, Joan Littlewood, Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski, Augusto Boal, Eugenio Barba, Dario Fo, Viola Spolin, Keith Johnstone and Robert Wilson (director). Stanislavski treated the theatre as an The arts, art-form that is Medium specificity, autonomous from
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and one in which the playwright's contribution should be respected as that of only one of an ensemble of creative artists. His innovative contribution to modern acting theory has remained at the core of mainstream Western culture, western performance training for much of the last century. That many of the precepts of his Stanislavski's system, system of actor training seem to be common sense and self-evident testifies to its hegemonic success. Actors frequently employ his basic concepts without knowing they do so. Thanks to its promotion and elaboration by acting teachers who were former students and the many translations of his theoretical writings, Stanislavski's 'system' acquired an unprecedented ability to cross cultural boundaries and developed an international reach, dominating debates about acting in Europe and the United States. Many actors routinely equate his 'system' with the North American Method acting, Method, although the latter's exclusively psychological techniques contrast sharply with Stanislavski's multivariant, holistic and Psychophysiology, psychophysical approach, which explores character and action both from the 'inside out' and the 'outside in' and treats the actor's mind and body as parts of a continuum.


Technical aspects

Theatre presupposes Collaboration, collaborative modes of production and a collective form of reception. The Dramatic structure, structure of dramatic texts, unlike other forms of
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expan ...

literature
, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective reception. The production of Play (theatre), plays usually involves contributions from a playwright, theatre director, director, a Cast member, cast of actors, and a technical production team that includes a set designer, scenic or set designer, lighting designer, costume designer, sound designer, Stage management, stage manager, Production manager (theatre), production manager and technical director. Depending on the production, this team may also include a composer, Dramaturge, dramaturg, video designer or fight director. Stagecraft is a generic term referring to the technical aspects of theatrical, film, and video production. It includes, but is not limited to, constructing and rigging scenery, hanging and focusing of lighting, design and procurement of costumes, makeup, procurement of props, stage management, and recording and mixing of sound. Stagecraft is distinct from the wider umbrella term of scenography. Considered a technical rather than an artistic field, it relates primarily to the practical implementation of a designer's artistic vision. In its most basic form, stagecraft is managed by a single person (often the stage manager of a smaller production) who arranges all scenery, costumes, lighting, and sound, and organizes the cast. At a more professional level, for example in modern Broadway houses, stagecraft is managed by hundreds of skilled carpenters, painters, electricians, stagehands, stitchers, wigmakers, and the like. This modern form of stagecraft is highly technical and specialized: it comprises many sub-disciplines and a vast trove of history and tradition. The majority of stagecraft lies between these two extremes. Regional theatres and larger community theatres will generally have a technical director and a complement of designers, each of whom has a direct hand in their respective designs.


Sub-categories and organization

There are many modern theatre movements which go about producing theatre in a variety of ways. Theatrical enterprises vary enormously in sophistication and purpose. People who are involved vary from novices and hobbyists (in community theatre) to professionals (in Broadway and similar productions). Theatre can be performed with a shoestring budget or on a grand scale with multimillion-dollar budgets. This diversity manifests in the abundance of theatre sub-categories, which include: * Broadway theatre and West End theatre * Street theatre * Community theatre * Playback theatre * Dinner theater * Fringe theatre * Off-Broadway and Off West End * Off-Off-Broadway * Regional theater in the United States, Regional theatre in the United States * Touring theatre * Summer stock theatre


Repertory companies

While most modern theatre companies rehearse one piece of theatre at a time, perform that piece for a set "run", retire the piece, and begin rehearsing a new show, repertory companies rehearse multiple shows at one time. These companies are able to perform these various pieces upon request and often perform works for years before retiring them. Most dance companies operate on this repertory system. The Royal National Theatre in London performs on a repertory system. Repertory theatre generally involves a group of similarly accomplished actors, and relies more on the reputation of the group than on an individual star actor. It also typically relies less on strict control by a director and less on adherence to theatrical conventions, since actors who have worked together in multiple productions can respond to each other without relying as much on convention or external direction.


Producing vs. presenting

In order to put on a piece of theatre, both a theatre company and a theatre (structure), theatre venue are needed. When a theatre company is the sole company in residence at a theatre venue, this theatre (and its corresponding theatre company) are called a resident theatre or a producing theatre, because the venue produces its own work. Other theatre companies, as well as dance companies, who do not have their own theatre venue, perform at rental theatres or at presenting theatres. Both rental and presenting theatres have no full-time resident companies. They do, however, sometimes have one or more part-time resident companies, in addition to other independent partner companies who arrange to use the space when available. A rental theatre allows the independent companies to seek out the space, while a presenting theatre seeks out the independent companies to support their work by presenting them on their stage. Some performance groups perform in non-theatrical spaces. Such performances can take place outside or inside, in a non-traditional performance space, and include
street theatre A troupe of street theatre performers by the beach in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Street theatre is a form of theatrical Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors ...
, and site-specific theatre. Non-traditional venues can be used to create more immersive or meaningful environments for audiences. They can sometimes be modified more heavily than traditional theatre venues, or can accommodate different kinds of equipment, lighting and sets.Alice T. Carter,
Non-traditional venues can inspire art, or just great performances
", ''Pittsburgh Tribune-Review'', July 7, 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
A touring theatre, touring company is an independent theatre or dance company that travels, often internationally, being presented at a different theatre in each city.


Unions

There are many theatre unions including: Actors' Equity Association (for actors and stage managers), the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE, for designers and technicians). Many theatres require that their staff be members of these organizations.


See also

* Acting * Antitheatricality * Black light theatre * Culinary theatre * Illusionistic tradition * List of awards in theatre * List of playwrights * List of theatre personnel * List of theatre festivals * List of theatre directors * Lists of theatres * Performance art * Puppetry * Reader's theatre * Site-specific theatre * Theatre consultant * Theatre for development * Theater (structure) * Theatre technique * Theatrical style * Theatrical troupe * World Theatre Day


Explanatory notes


Citations


General sources

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Further reading

* Aston, Elaine, and George Savona. 1991. ''Theatre as Sign-System: A Semiotics of Text and Performance''. London and New York: Routledge. . * Walter Benjamin, Benjamin, Walter. 1928. ''The Origin of German Tragic Drama.'' Trans. John Osborne. London and New York: Verso, 1998. . * Brown, John Russell. 1997. ''What is Theatre?: An Introduction and Exploration.'' Boston and Oxford: Focal P. . * Bryant, Jye (2018). Writing & Staging A New Musical: A Handbook. Kindle Direct Publishing. . * Carnicke, Sharon Marie. 2000. "Stanislavsky's System: Pathways for the Actor". In Hodge (2000, 11–36). * Dacre, Kathy, and Paul Fryer, eds. 2008. ''Stanislavski on Stage.'' Sidcup, Kent: Stanislavski Centre Rose Bruford College. . * Gilles Deleuze, Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 1972. ''Anti-Œdipus''. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 1. New Accents Ser. London and New York: Methuen. . * Felski, Rita, ed. 2008. ''Rethinking Tragedy.'' Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. . * Harrison, Martin. 1998. ''The Language of Theatre''. London: Routledge. . * Phyllis Hartnoll, Hartnoll, Phyllis, ed. 1983. ''The Oxford Companion to the Theatre''. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford UP. . * Hodge, Alison, ed. 2000. ''Twentieth-Century Actor Training''. London and New York: Routledge. . * * Leach, Robert, and Victor Borovsky, eds. 1999. ''A History of Russian Theatre.'' Cambridge: Cambridge UP. . * Meyer-Dinkgräfe, Daniel. 2001. ''Approaches to Acting: Past and Present.'' London and New York: Continuum. . * Vsevolod Meyerhold, Meyerhold, Vsevolod. 1991. ''Meyerhold on Theatre''. Ed. and trans. Edward Braun. Revised edition. London: Methuen. . * Mitter, Shomit. 1992. ''Systems of Rehearsal: Stanislavsky, Brecht, Grotowski and Brook.'' London and NY: Routledge. . * O'Brien, Nick. 2010. ''Stanislavski In Practise''. London: Routledge. . * Rayner, Alice. 1994. ''To Act, To Do, To Perform: Drama and the Phenomenology of Action.'' Theater: Theory/Text/Performance Ser. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. . * Roach, Joseph R. 1985. ''The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting''. Theater:Theory/Text/Performance Ser. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P. . * Speirs, Ronald, trans. 1999. ''The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings.'' By Friedrich Nietzsche. Ed. Raymond Geuss and Ronald Speirs. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy ser. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. .


External links


Theatre Archive Project (UK)
British Library & University of Sheffield.
University of Bristol Theatre Collection

Music Hall and Theatre History of Britain and Ireland
{{Authority control Theatre, Stage terminology Performing arts