Theatre

Theatre

Overview

Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art
Fine art
Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

 that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance. Elements of design and stagecraft
Stagecraft
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...

 are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience.
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Quotations

All the world's a stage / And all the men and women merely players / They have their exits and their entrances / And one man in his time plays many parts ...

William Shakespeare, "All the world's a stage|All the world's a stage", As You Like It, Jaques (Act II, Scene VII, lines 139-166)

By increasing the size of the keyhole, today's playwrights are in danger of doing away with the door.

Peter Ustinov, Christian Science Monitor, (1962) - reported in Colin Jarman (1993). The Book of Poisonous Quotes. McGraw-Hill Professional, p. 104. ISBN 0809236818.
Encyclopedia

Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art
Fine art
Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

 that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance. Elements of design and stagecraft
Stagecraft
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...

 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
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 θέατρον (théatron, “a place for viewing”) and θεάομαι (theáomai, “to see", "to watch", "to observe”).

Modern Western theatre derives in large measure from ancient Greek drama, from which it borrows technical terminology, classification into genres, and many of its themes, stock characters, and plot elements. Theatre scholar Patrice Pavis
Patrice Pavis
Patrice Pavis is Professor for Theatre Studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury. He has written extensively about performance, focusing his study and research mainly in semiology and interculturalism in theatre...

 defines theatricality, theatrical language, stage writing, and the specificity
Medium specificity
Medium specificity is a consideration in aesthetics and art criticism. It is most closely associated with modernism, but it predates it. According to Clement Greenberg, who helped popularize the term, medium specificity holds that "the unique and proper area of competence" for a form of art...

 of theatre as synonymous expressions that differentiate theatre from the other performing arts
Performing arts
The performing arts are those forms art which differ from the plastic arts insofar as the former uses the artist's own body, face, and presence as a medium, and the latter uses materials such as clay, metal or paint which can be molded or transformed to create some physical art object...

, literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, and the arts
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

 in general. Theatre includes performances of plays and musicals
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

. Although it can be defined broadly to include opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 and ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

, those art forms are outside the scope of this article.

Classical and Hellenistic Greece



The city-state
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

 of Athens
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 invented theatre. It was part of a broader culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 of theatricality and performance in classical Greece
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 that included festivals
Athenian festivals
The festival calendar of city-state of classical Athens involved the staging of a large number of festivals each year. These Athenian festivals included:-Athena:...

, religious rituals, politics, law
Ancient Greek law
Ancient Greek law is a branch of comparative jurisprudence relating to the laws and legal institutions of Ancient Greece.Greek law has been partially compared with Roman law, and has been incidentally illustrated with the aid of the primitive institutions of the Germanic nations...

, athletics and gymnastics, music
Music of Ancient Greece
The music of ancient Greece was almost universally present in society, from marriages and funerals to religious ceremonies, theatre, folk music and the ballad-like reciting of epic poetry. It thus played an integral role in the lives of ancient Greeks...

, poetry, weddings, funerals, and symposia
Symposium
In ancient Greece, the symposium was a drinking party. Literary works that describe or take place at a symposium include two Socratic dialogues, Plato's Symposium and Xenophon's Symposium, as well as a number of Greek poems such as the elegies of Theognis of Megara...

. Participation in the city-state's many festivals—and attendance at the City Dionysia as an audience member (or even as a participant in the theatrical productions) in particular—was an important part of citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

. Civic participation also involved the evaluation of the rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

 of orators evidenced in performances in the law-court
Athenian law court (classical period)
The law courts in classical Athens were a fundamental organ of democratic governance. According to Aristotle, whoever controls the courts, controls the state....

 or political assembly
Ecclesia (ancient Athens)
The ecclesia or ekklesia was the principal assembly of the democracy of ancient Athens during its "Golden Age" . It was the popular assembly, opened to all male citizens over the age of 30 with 2 years of military service by Solon in 594 BC meaning that all classes of citizens in Athens were able...

, both of which were understood as analagous to the theatre and increasingly came to absorb its dramatic vocabulary. The Greeks also developed the concepts of dramatic criticism, acting as a career, and theatre architecture. The theatre of ancient Greece
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

 consisted of three types of drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

: tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

, comedy, and the satyr play
Satyr play
Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy, similar in spirit to burlesque. They featured choruses of satyrs, were based on Greek mythology, and were rife with mock drunkenness, brazen sexuality , pranks, sight gags, and general merriment.Satyric drama was one of the three varieties of...

.

Athenian tragedy—the oldest surviving form of tragedy—is a type of dance
Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....

-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
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

. 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 literature
Extant literature refers to texts that have survived from the past to the present time. Extant literature can be divided into extant original manuscripts, copies of original manuscripts, quotations and paraphrases of passages of non-extant texts contained in other works, translations of non-extant...

 by Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

, Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

, and Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

. The origins of tragedy remain obscure, though by the 5th century BCE it was institution
Institution
An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community...

alised in competitions (agon
Agon
Agon is an ancient Greek word with several meanings:*In one sense, it meant a contest, competition, especially the Olympic Games , or challenge that was held in connection with religious festivals....

) held as part of festivities celebrating Dionysos (the god
Family tree of the Greek gods
Key: The essential Olympians' names are given in bold font.Key: The Names marked in green are the titans...

 of wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 and fertility
Fertility
Fertility is the natural capability of producing offsprings. As a measure, "fertility rate" is the number of children born per couple, person or population. Fertility differs from fecundity, which is defined as the potential for reproduction...

). As contestants in the City Dionysia's competition (the most prestigious of the festivals to stage drama) playwrights were required to present a tetralogy
Tetralogy
A tetralogy is a compound work that is made up of four distinct works, just as a trilogy is made up of three works....

 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
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, though The Persians
The Persians
The Persians is an Athenian tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. First produced in 472 BCE, it is the oldest surviving play in the history of theatre...

—which stages the Persian
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 response to news of their military defeat at the Battle of Salamis
Battle of Salamis
The Battle of Salamis was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 BCE, in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens...

 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
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

 to survive. More than 130 years later, the philosopher Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 analysed 5th-century Athenian tragedy in the oldest surviving work of dramatic theory
Dramatic theory
Dramatic theory is a term used for works that attempt to form theories about theatre and drama. Examples of ancient dramatic theory include Aristotle's Poetics from Ancient Greece and Bharata Muni's Natyasastra from ancient India.- External links :...

—his Poetics (c. 335 BCE).

Athenian comedy
Ancient Greek comedy
Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal dramatic forms in the theatre of classical Greece . Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods, Old Comedy, Middle Comedy, and New 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
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

, while Middle Comedy is largely lost (preserved only in relatively short fragments in authors such as Athenaeus of Naucratis). New Comedy is known primarily from the substantial papyrus fragments of Menander
Menander
Menander , Greek dramatist, the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy, was the son of well-to-do parents; his father Diopeithes is identified by some with the Athenian general and governor of the Thracian Chersonese known from the speech of Demosthenes De Chersoneso...

. Aristotle defined comedy as a representation of laughable people that involves some kind of blunder or ugliness that does not cause pain or disaster.

Roman theatre



Western theatre developed and expanded considerably under the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

. The Roman historian Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

 wrote that the Romans first experienced theatre in the 4th century BCE, with a performance by Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

 actors. Beacham argues that they had been familiar with "pre-theatrical practices" for some time before that recorded contact. The theatre of ancient Rome
Theatre of ancient Rome
The theatre of ancient Rome was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival performances of street theatre, nude dancing, and acrobatics, to the staging of Plautus's broadly appealing situation comedies, to the high-style, verbally elaborate tragedies of Seneca...

 was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival performances of street theatre
Street theatre
Street theatre is a form of theatrical performance and presentation in outdoor public spaces without a specific paying audience. These spaces can be anywhere, including shopping centres, car parks, recreational reserves and street corners. They are especially seen in outdoor spaces where there are...

, nude dancing, and acrobatics
Acrobatics
Acrobatics is the performance of extraordinary feats of balance, agility and motor coordination. It can be found in many of the performing arts, as well as many sports...

, to the staging of Plautus
Plautus
Titus Maccius Plautus , commonly known as "Plautus", was a Roman playwright of the Old Latin period. His comedies are the earliest surviving intact works in Latin literature. He wrote Palliata comoedia, the genre devised by the innovator of Latin literature, Livius Andronicus...

's broadly appealing situation comedies, to the high-style
High culture
High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture...

, verbally elaborate tragedies
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 of Seneca
Seneca the Younger
Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and in one work humorist, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. He was tutor and later advisor to emperor Nero...

. Although Rome had a native tradition of performance, the Hellenization
Hellenization
Hellenization is a term used to describe the spread of ancient Greek culture, and, to a lesser extent, language. It is mainly used to describe the spread of Hellenistic civilization during the Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great of Macedon...

 of Roman culture
Culture of ancient Rome
Ancient Roman culture existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization of Ancient Rome. The term refers to the culture of the Roman Republic, later the Roman Empire, which, at its peak, covered an area from Lowland Scotland and Morocco to the Euphrates.Life in ancient Rome...

 in the 3rd century BCE had a profound and energizing effect on Roman theatre and encouraged the development of Latin literature
Latin literature
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings of the ancient Romans. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of Greek literature, using many of the same forms...

 of the highest quality for the stage.

Post-classical theatre in the West


Theatre took on many alternate forms in the West between the 15th and 19th centuries, including commedia dell'arte
Commedia dell'arte
Commedia dell'arte is a form of theatre characterized by masked "types" which began in Italy in the 16th century, and was responsible for the advent of the actress and improvised performances based on sketches or scenarios. The closest translation of the name is "comedy of craft"; it is shortened...

 and melodrama
Melodrama
The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. It may also refer to the genre which includes such works, or to language, behavior, or events which resemble them...

. The general trend was away from the poetic drama of the Greeks and the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 and toward a more naturalistic prose style of dialogue, especially following the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

.

Through the 19th century, the popular theatrical forms of Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, melodrama
Melodrama
The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. It may also refer to the genre which includes such works, or to language, behavior, or events which resemble them...

, Victorian burlesque and the well-made play
Well-made play
The well-made play is a genre of drama from the 19th century that Eugène Scribe first codified and that Victorien Sardou developed. By the mid-19th century, it had entered into common use as a derogatory term...

s of Scribe
Eugène Scribe
Augustin Eugène Scribe , was a French dramatist and librettist. He is best known for the perfection of the so-called "well-made play" . This dramatic formula was a mainstay of popular theater for over 100 years.-Biography:...

 and Sardou
Victorien Sardou
Victorien Sardou was a French dramatist. He is best remembered today for his development, along with Eugène Scribe, of the well-made play...

 gave way to the problem play
Problem play
The problem play is a form of drama that emerged during the 19th century as part of the wider movement of realism in the arts. It deals with contentious social issues through debates between the characters on stage, who typically represent conflicting points of view within a realistic social...

s of Naturalism
Naturalism (theatre)
Naturalism is a movement in European drama and theatre that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to theatre that attempts to create a perfect illusion of reality through a range of dramatic and theatrical strategies: detailed, three-dimensional settings Naturalism is a...

 and Realism; the farce
Farce
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases,...

s of Feydeau
Georges Feydeau
Georges Feydeau was a French playwright of the era known as the Belle Époque. He is remembered for his many lively farces.-Biography:Georges Feydeau was born in Paris, the son of novelist Ernest-Aimé Feydeau and Léocadie Bogaslawa Zalewska. At the age of twenty, Feydeau wrote his first comic...

; Wagner's
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

tic Gesamtkunstwerk
Gesamtkunstwerk
A Gesamtkunstwerk is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so...

; musical theatre
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

 (including Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan . The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S...

's operas); F. C. Burnand's, W. S. Gilbert
W. S. Gilbert
Sir William Schwenck Gilbert was an English dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator best known for his fourteen comic operas produced in collaboration with the composer Sir Arthur Sullivan, of which the most famous include H.M.S...

's and Wilde's
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

 drawing-room comedies; Symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

; proto-Expressionism
Expressionism
Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas...

 in the late works of August Strindberg
August Strindberg
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography,...

 and Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

; and Edwardian musical comedy
Edwardian Musical Comedy
Edwardian musical comedies were British musical theatre shows from the period between the early 1890s, when the Gilbert and Sullivan operas' dominance had ended, until the rise of the American musicals by Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, George Gershwin and Cole Porter following World War I.Between...

.

These trends continued through the 20th century in the realism of Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg
Lee Strasberg
Lee Strasberg was an American actor, director and acting teacher. He cofounded, with directors Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford, the Group Theatre in 1931, which was hailed as "America's first true theatrical collective"...

, the political theatre of Erwin Piscator
Erwin Piscator
Erwin Friedrich Maximilian Piscator was a German theatre director and producer and, with Bertolt Brecht, the foremost exponent of epic theatre, a form that emphasizes the socio-political content of drama, rather than its emotional manipulation of the audience or on the production's formal...

 and Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...

, the so-called Theatre of the Absurd
Theatre of the Absurd
The Theatre of the Absurd is a designation for particular plays of absurdist fiction, written by a number of primarily European playwrights in the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, as well as to the style of theatre which has evolved from their work...

 of Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

 and Eugene Ionesco
Eugène Ionesco
Eugène Ionesco was a Romanian and French playwright and dramatist, and one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd...

, American and British musicals, the collective creations of companies of actors and directors such as Joan Littlewood
Joan Littlewood
Joan Maud Littlewood was a British theatre director, noted for her work in developing the left-wing Theatre Workshop...

's Theatre Workshop
Theatre Workshop
Theatre Workshop is a theatre group noted for their director, Joan Littlewood. Many actors of the 1950s and 1960s received their training and first exposure with the company...

, experimental and postmodern theatre of Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson (director)
Robert Wilson is an American avant-garde stage director and playwright who has been called "[America]'s — or even the world's — foremost vanguard 'theater artist'". Over the course of his wide-ranging career, he has also worked as a choreographer, performer, painter, sculptor, video...

 and Robert Lepage
Robert Lepage
Robert Lepage, is a playwright, actor, film director, and stage director from Québec City, Québec, and is one of Canada's most honoured theatre artists.- Life and work :...

, the postcolonial
Postcolonialism
Post-colonialism is a specifically post-modern intellectual discourse that consists of reactions to, and analysis of, the cultural legacy of colonialism...

 theatre of August Wilson
August Wilson
August Wilson was an American playwright whose work included a series of ten plays, The Pittsburgh Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama...

 or Tomson Highway
Tomson Highway
Tomson Highway, CM is a celebrated Canadian and Cree playwright, novelist, and children's author. He is the author of the plays The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, both of which won him the Dora Mavor Moore Award and the Floyd S...

, and Augusto Boal
Augusto Boal
Augusto Boal was a Brazilian theatre director, writer and politician. He was the founder of Theatre of the Oppressed, a theatrical form originally used in radical popular education movements...

's Theatre of the Oppressed
Theatre of the Oppressed
The Theatre of the Oppressed describes a range of theatrical forms that the Brazilian theatre practitioner Augusto Boal first elaborated in the 1960s, initially in Brazil and later in Europe. Boal was influenced by the work of the educator and theorist Paulo Freire. Boal's techniques use theatre as...

.

Eastern theatrical traditions



The earliest form of Indian theatre was the Sanskrit theatre
Sanskrit drama
The earliest-surviving fragments of Sanskrit drama date from the 1st century CE. The Mahābhāṣya by Patañjali contains the earliest reference to what may have been the seeds of Sanskrit drama. This treatise on grammar from 140 BCE provides a feasible date for the beginnings of theatre in India.Its...

. It began after the development of Greek
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

 and Roman theatre
Theatre of ancient Rome
The theatre of ancient Rome was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival performances of street theatre, nude dancing, and acrobatics, to the staging of Plautus's broadly appealing situation comedies, to the high-style, verbally elaborate tragedies of Seneca...

 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
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

 during which hundreds of plays were written. Japanese forms of Kabuki
Kabuki
is classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing , dance , and skill...

,
Noh
, or - derived from the Sino-Japanese word for "skill" or "talent" - is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Many characters are masked, with men playing male and female roles. Traditionally, a Noh "performance day" lasts all day and...

, and Kyōgen
Kyogen
is a form of traditional Japanese comic theater. It developed alongside Noh, was performed along with Noh as an intermission of sorts between Noh acts, on the same Noh stage, and retains close links to Noh in the modern day; therefore, it is sometimes designated Noh-kyōgen...

 developed in the 17th century CE. Theatre in the medieval Islamic world
Islamic Golden Age
During the Islamic Golden Age philosophers, scientists and engineers of the Islamic world contributed enormously to technology and culture, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding their own inventions and innovations...

 included puppet
Puppet
A puppet is an inanimate object or representational figure animated or manipulated by an entertainer, who is called a puppeteer. It is used in puppetry, a play or a presentation that is a very ancient form of theatre....

 theatre (which included hand puppets, shadow play
Shadow play
Shadow play or shadow puppetry Shadow puppets have a long history in China, India, Turkey and Java, and as a popular form of entertainment for both children and adults in many countries around the world. A shadow puppet is a cut-out figure held between a source of light and a translucent screen...

s and marionette
Marionette
A marionette is a puppet controlled from above using wires or strings depending on regional variations. A marionette's puppeteer is called a manipulator. Marionettes are operated with the puppeteer hidden or revealed to an audience by using a vertical or horizontal control bar in different forms...

 productions) and live passion plays known as ta'ziya, where actors re-enact episodes from Muslim history
Muslim history
Muslim history is the history of Muslim people. In the history of Islam the followers of the religion of Islam have impacted political history, economic history, and military history...

. In particular, Shia Islamic plays revolved around the shaheed (martyrdom) of Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

's sons Hasan ibn Ali
Hasan ibn Ali
Al-Hasan ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib ‎ is an important figure in Islam, the son of Fatimah the daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and of the fourth Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib. Hasan is a member of the Ahl al-Bayt and Ahl al-Kisa...

 and Husayn ibn Ali
Husayn ibn Ali
Hussein ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib ‎ was the son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fātimah Zahrā...

. Secular plays were known as akhraja, recorded in medieval adab
Adab (behavior)
Adab, in the context of behavior, refers to prescribed Islamic etiquette: "refinement, good manners, morals, decorum, decency, humaneness". While interpretation of the scope and particulars of Adab may vary among different cultures, common among these interpretations is regard for personal standing...

 literature, though they were less common than puppetry and ta'ziya theatre.

Drama



Drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

 is the specific mode
Mode (literature)
In literature, a mode is an employed method or approach, identifiable within a written work. As descriptive terms, form and genre are often used inaccurately instead of mode; for example, the pastoral mode is often mistakenly identified as a genre...

 of fiction
Fiction
Fiction is the form of any narrative or informative work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary—that is, invented by the author. Although fiction describes a major branch of literary work, it may also refer to theatrical,...

 represented
Mimesis
Mimesis , from μιμεῖσθαι , "to imitate," from μῖμος , "imitator, actor") is a critical and philosophical term that carries a wide range of meanings, which include imitation, representation, mimicry, imitatio, receptivity, nonsensuous similarity, the act of resembling, the act of expression, and the...

 in performance
Performance
A performance, in performing arts, generally comprises an event in which a performer or group of performers behave in a particular way for another group of people, the audience. Choral music and ballet are examples. Usually the performers participate in rehearsals beforehand. Afterwards audience...

. The term comes from a Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 word meaning "action", which is derived from "to do". The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

s on a stage
Stage (theatre)
In theatre or performance arts, the stage is a designated space for the performance productions. The stage serves as a space for actors or performers and a focal point for the members of the audience...

 before an audience
Audience
An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature , theatre, music or academics in any medium...

, presupposes collaborative
Collaboration
Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals, — for example, an intriguing endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing...

 modes of production and a collective
Collective
A collective is a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together on a specific project to achieve a common objective...

 form of reception. The structure of dramatic texts
Dramatic structure
Dramatic structure is the structure of a dramatic work such as a play or film. Many scholars have analyzed dramatic structure, beginning with Aristotle in his Poetics...

, unlike other forms of literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective reception. The early modern
English Renaissance theatre
English Renaissance theatre, also known as early modern English theatre, refers to the theatre of England, largely based in London, which occurred between the Reformation and the closure of the theatres in 1642...

 tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 Hamlet
Hamlet
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

 (1601
1601 in literature
The year 1601 in literature involved some significant events.-Events:*February 7 - The Lord Chamberlain's Men stage a performance of Shakespeare's Richard II at the Globe Theatre. The performance is specially commissioned by the plotters in the Earl of Essex's rebellion of the following day...

) by Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 and the classical Athenian
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

 tragedy Oedipus the King
Oedipus the King
Oedipus the King , also known by the Latin title Oedipus Rex, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed c. 429 BCE. It was the second of Sophocles's three Theban plays to be produced, but it comes first in the internal chronology, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone...

 (c. 429 BCE) by Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

 are among the masterpieces of the art of drama. A modern example is Long Day's Journey into Night
Long Day's Journey Into Night
Long Day's Journey Into Night is a 1956 drama in four acts written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The play is widely considered to be his masterwork...

 by Eugene O’Neill (1956).

Considered as a genre of poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with the epic
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 and the lyrical
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

 modes ever since Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's Poetics (c. 335 BCE)—the earliest work of dramatic theory
Dramatic theory
Dramatic theory is a term used for works that attempt to form theories about theatre and drama. Examples of ancient dramatic theory include Aristotle's Poetics from Ancient Greece and Bharata Muni's Natyasastra from ancient India.- External links :...

. The use of "drama" in the narrow sense to designate a specific type of play
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

 dates from the 19th century. Drama in this sense refers to a play that is neither a comedy nor a tragedy—for example, Zola's
Émile Zola
Émile François Zola was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism...

 Thérèse Raquin
Thérèse Raquin
Thérèse Raquin is the title of a novel and a play by the French writer Émile Zola. The novel was originally published in serial format in the journal L'Artiste and in book format in December of the same year.-Plot introduction:Thérèse Raquin tells the story of a young woman, unhappily married to...

 (1873
1873 in literature
The year 1873 in literature involved some significant new books.-Events:*3 March - The U.S. Congress enacts the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, or lascivious" books through the mail....

) or Chekhov's
Anton Chekhov
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history. His career as a dramatist produced four classics and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics...

 Ivanov (1887
1887 in literature
The year 1887 in literature involved some significant new books.-Events:*Futabatei Shimei writes The Drifting Cloud, the first modern novel in Japan.-New books:*Mary Elizabeth Braddon - Cut by the County*Hall Caine - The Deemster...

).

Drama is often combined with music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 and dance
Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....

: the drama in opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 is generally sung throughout; musicals
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

 generally include both spoken dialogue
Dialogue
Dialogue is a literary and theatrical form consisting of a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people....

 and song
Song
In music, a song is a composition for voice or voices, performed by singing.A song may be accompanied by musical instruments, or it may be unaccompanied, as in the case of a cappella songs...

s; and some forms of drama have incidental music
Incidental music
Incidental music is music in a play, television program, radio program, video game, film or some other form not primarily musical. The term is less frequently applied to film music, with such music being referred to instead as the "film score" or "soundtrack"....

 or musical accompaniment underscoring the dialogue (melodrama
Melodrama
The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. It may also refer to the genre which includes such works, or to language, behavior, or events which resemble them...

 and Japanese
Noh
, or - derived from the Sino-Japanese word for "skill" or "talent" - is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Many characters are masked, with men playing male and female roles. Traditionally, a Noh "performance day" lasts all day and...

, for example). In certain periods of history (the ancient Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 and modern Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

) some dramas have been written to be read
Closet drama
A closet drama is a play that is not intended to be performed onstage, but read by a solitary reader or, sometimes, out loud in a small group. A related form, the "closet screenplay," developed during the 20th century.-Form:...

 rather than performed. In improvisation
Improvisational theatre
Improvisational theatre takes many forms. It is best known as improv or impro, which is often comedic, and sometimes poignant or dramatic. In this popular, often topical art form improvisational actors/improvisers use improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously...

, the drama does not pre-exist the moment of performance; performers devise a dramatic script spontaneously before an audience.

Musical theatre



Music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 and theatre have had a close relationship since ancient times—Athenian
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

, for example, was a form of dance
Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting....

-drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

 that employed a chorus
Greek chorus
A Greek chorus is a homogenous, non-individualised group of performers in the plays of classical Greece, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action....

 whose parts were sung (to the accompaniment of an aulos
Aulos
An aulos or tibia was an ancient Greek wind instrument, depicted often in art and also attested by archaeology.An aulete was the musician who performed on an aulos...

—an instrument comparable to the modern clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

), as were some of the actors' responses and their 'solo songs' (monodies
Monody
In poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death....

). Modern musical theatre
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

 is a form of theatre that also combines music, spoken dialogue, and dance. It emerged from comic opera
Comic opera
Comic opera denotes a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature, usually with a happy ending.Forms of comic opera first developed in late 17th-century Italy. By the 1730s, a new operatic genre, opera buffa, emerged as an alternative to opera seria...

 (especially Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan . The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S...

), variety
Variety show
A variety show, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is an entertainment made up of a variety of acts, especially musical performances and sketch comedy, and normally introduced by a compère or host. Other types of acts include magic, animal and circus acts, acrobatics, juggling...

, vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

, and music hall
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

 genres of the late 19th and early 20th century. After the Edwardian musical comedy
Edwardian Musical Comedy
Edwardian musical comedies were British musical theatre shows from the period between the early 1890s, when the Gilbert and Sullivan operas' dominance had ended, until the rise of the American musicals by Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, George Gershwin and Cole Porter following World War I.Between...

 that began in the 1890s, the Princess Theatre
Princess Theatre
The Princess Theatre was a joint venture between the Shubert Brothers , producer Ray Comstock, theatrical agent Elisabeth Marbury and actor-director Holbrook Blinn...

 musicals of the early 20th century, and comedies in the 1920s and 1930s (such as the works of Rodgers and Hart
Rodgers and Hart
Rodgers and Hart were an American songwriting partnership of composer Richard Rodgers and the lyricist Lorenz Hart...

), with Oklahoma!
Oklahoma!
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in Oklahoma Territory outside the town of Claremore in 1906, it tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance...

 (1943), musicals moved in a more dramatic direction. Famous musicals over the subsequent decades included My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady is a musical based upon George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe...

 (1956), West Side Story (1957), The Fantasticks
The Fantasticks
The Fantasticks is a 1960 musical with music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones. It was produced by Lore Noto. It tells an allegorical story, loosely based on the play "The Romancers" by Edmond Rostand, concerning two neighboring fathers who trick their children, Luisa and Matt, into...

 (1960), Hair
Hair (musical)
Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement...

 (1967), A Chorus Line
A Chorus Line
A Chorus Line is a 1975 musical about Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line. The book was authored by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante, lyrics were written by Edward Kleban, and music was composed by Marvin Hamlisch....

 (1975), Les Misérables
Les Misérables (musical)
Les Misérables , colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz , is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo....

 (1980), and The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical)
The Phantom of the Opera is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux.The music was composed by Lloyd Webber, and most lyrics were written by Charles Hart, with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. Alan Jay Lerner was an early collaborator,...

 (1986).

Musical theatre may be produced on an intimate scale Off-Broadway
Off-Broadway
Off-Broadway theater is a term for a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499, and for a specific production of a play, musical or revue that appears in such a venue, and which adheres to related trade union and other contracts...

, in regional theatres
Community theatre
Community theatre refers to theatrical performance made in relation to particular communities—its usage includes theatre made by, with, and for a community...

, and elsewhere, but it often includes spectacle. For instance, Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 and West End
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

 musicals often include lavish costumes and sets supported by multi-million dollar budgets.

Comedy



Theatre productions that use humour
Humour
Humour or humor is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement...

 as a vehicle to tell a story qualify as comedies. This may include a modern farce
Farce
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases,...

 such as Boeing Boeing or a classical play such as As You Like It
As You Like It
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility...

. Theatre expressing bleak, controversial or taboo subject matter in a deliberately humorous way is referred to as black comedy
Black comedy
A black comedy, or dark comedy, is a comic work that employs black humor or gallows humor. The definition of black humor is problematic; it has been argued that it corresponds to the earlier concept of gallows humor; and that, as humor has been defined since Freud as a comedic act that anesthetizes...

.

Tragedy


Tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 refers to a specific tradition
Poetic tradition
Poetic tradition is a concept similar to that of the poetic or literary canon...

 of drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

 that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of Western civilisation
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

. That tradition has been multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural identity
Cultural identity
Cultural identity is the identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Cultural identity is similar to and has overlaps with, but is not synonymous with, identity politics....

 and historical continuity—"the Greeks
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 and the Elizabethans
Elizabethan era
The Elizabethan era was the epoch in English history of Queen Elizabeth I's reign . Historians often depict it as the golden age in English history...

, in one cultural form; Hellenes
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 and Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, in a common activity," as Raymond Williams
Raymond Williams
Raymond Henry Williams was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. He was an influential figure within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature are a significant contribution to the Marxist critique of culture and the arts...

 puts it. From its obscure origins in the theatres of Athens
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

 2,500 years ago, from which there survives only a fraction of the work of Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

, Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

 and Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

, through its singular articulations in the works of Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

, Lope de Vega
Lope de Vega
Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio was a Spanish playwright and poet. He was one of the key figures in the Spanish Golden Century Baroque literature...

, Racine
Jean Racine
Jean Racine , baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine , was a French dramatist, one of the "Big Three" of 17th-century France , and one of the most important literary figures in the Western tradition...

, and Schiller
Friedrich Schiller
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life , Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

, to the more recent naturalistic
Naturalism (theatre)
Naturalism is a movement in European drama and theatre that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It refers to theatre that attempts to create a perfect illusion of reality through a range of dramatic and theatrical strategies: detailed, three-dimensional settings Naturalism is a...

 tragedy of Strindberg
August Strindberg
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography,...

, Beckett's
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

 modernist
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 meditations on death, loss and suffering, and Müller's
Heiner Müller
Heiner Müller was a German dramatist, poet, writer, essayist and theatre director. Described as "the theatre's greatest living poet" since Samuel Beckett, Müller is arguably the most important German dramatist of the 20th century after Bertolt Brecht...

 postmodernist
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 reworkings of the tragic canon, tragedy has remained an important site of cultural experimentation, negotiation, struggle, and change. In the wake of Aristotle's Poetics (335 BCE), tragedy has been used to make genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

 distinctions, whether at the scale of poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 in general (where the tragic divides against epic
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 and lyric
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

) or at the scale of the drama (where tragedy is opposed to comedy). In the modern
Modernity
Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance...

 era, tragedy has also been defined against drama, melodrama
Melodrama
The term melodrama refers to a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions. It may also refer to the genre which includes such works, or to language, behavior, or events which resemble them...

, the tragicomic
Tragicomedy
Tragicomedy is fictional work that blends aspects of the genres of tragedy and comedy. In English literature, from Shakespeare's time to the nineteenth century, tragicomedy referred to a serious play with either a happy ending or enough jokes throughout the play to lighten the mood.-Classical...

, and epic theatre
Epic theatre
Epic theatre was a theatrical movement arising in the early to mid-20th century from the theories and practice of a number of theatre practitioners, including Erwin Piscator, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold and, most famously, Bertolt Brecht...

.

Theories of theatre



Having been an important part of human culture for more than 2,500 years, theatre has evolved a wide range of different theories
Dramatic theory
Dramatic theory is a term used for works that attempt to form theories about theatre and drama. Examples of ancient dramatic theory include Aristotle's Poetics from Ancient Greece and Bharata Muni's Natyasastra from ancient India.- External links :...

 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 classical Greek philosopher Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's Poetics (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 drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

—comedy, tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

, and the satyr play
Satyr play
Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy, similar in spirit to burlesque. They featured choruses of satyrs, were based on Greek mythology, and were rife with mock drunkenness, brazen sexuality , pranks, sight gags, and general merriment.Satyric drama was one of the three varieties of...

—as well as lyric poetry
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

, epic poetry
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

, and the dithyramb
Dithyramb
The dithyramb was an ancient Greek hymn sung and danced in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility; the term was also used as an epithet of the god: Plato, in The Laws, while discussing various kinds of music mentions "the birth of Dionysos, called, I think, the dithyramb." Plato also...

). He examines its "first principles" and identifies its genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

s and basic elements; his analysis of tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 constitutes the core of the discussion. He argues that tragedy consists of six qualitative parts, which are (in order of importance) mythos
Mythos (Aristotle)
Mythos is the term used by Aristotle in his Poetics for the plot of an Athenian tragedy. It is the first of the six elements of tragedy that he gives.- Variations on plot :...

 or "plot", ethos
Ethos
Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

 or "character", dianoia
Dianoia
Dianoia is a term used by Plato for a type of thinking, specifically about mathematical and technical subjects. It is the capacity for, process of, or result of discursive thinking, in contrast with the immediate apprehension that is characteristic of noesis...

 or "thought", lexis
Lexis (Aristotle)
In philosophical discourse, lexis refers to a complete group of words in a language, vocabulary, the total set of all words in a language, and all words that have meaning or a function in grammar.- Lexis according to Plato :...

 or "diction", melos or "song", and opsis
Opsis
Opsis ὄψις is the Greek word for spectacle in the theatre and performance. Its first use has been traced back to Aristotle's Poetics. It is now taken up by theatre critics, historians, and theorists to describe the mise en scène of a performance or theatrical event.-Origins:Opsis comes from the...

 or "spectacle". "Although Aristotle's Poetics is universally acknowledged in the Western
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 critical tradition," Marvin Carlson explains, "almost every detail about his seminal work has aroused divergent opinions." Important theatre practitioner
Theatre practitioner
Theatre practitioner is a modern term to describe someone who both creates theatrical performances and who produces a theoretical discourse that informs his or her practical work. A theatre practitioner may be a director, a dramatist, an actor, or—characteristically—often a combination of these...

s of the 20th century include Konstantin Stanislavski
Konstantin Stanislavski
Constantin Sergeyevich Stanislavski , was a Russian actor and theatre director. Building on the directorially-unified aesthetic and ensemble playing of the Meiningen company and the naturalistic staging of Antoine and the independent theatre movement, Stanislavski organized his realistic...

, Vsevolod Meyerhold
Vsevolod Meyerhold
Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold was a great Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatrical producer. His provocative experiments dealing with physical being and symbolism in an unconventional theatre setting made him one of the seminal forces in modern international theatre.-Early...

, Edward Gordon Craig
Edward Gordon Craig
Edward Henry Gordon Craig , sometimes known as Gordon Craig, was an English modernist theatre practitioner; he worked as an actor, director and scenic designer, as well as developing an influential body of theoretical writings...

, Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...

, Antonin Artaud
Antonin Artaud
Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud, more well-known as Antonin Artaud was a French playwright, poet, actor and theatre director...

, Luís de Sttau Monteiro
Luís de Sttau Monteiro
Luís Infante de Lacerda Sttau Monteiro was a Portuguese writer, novelist and playwright, a man to whom "the only sacred thing was to be free as the wind".-Biographical overview:...

, Joan Littlewood
Joan Littlewood
Joan Maud Littlewood was a British theatre director, noted for her work in developing the left-wing Theatre Workshop...

, Peter Brook
Peter Brook
Peter Stephen Paul Brook CH, CBE is an English theatre and film director and innovator, who has been based in France since the early 1970s.-Life:...

, Jerzy Grotowski
Jerzy Grotowski
Jerzy Grotowski was a Polish theatre director and innovator of experimental theatre, the "theatre laboratory" and "poor theatre" concepts....

, Augusto Boal
Augusto Boal
Augusto Boal was a Brazilian theatre director, writer and politician. He was the founder of Theatre of the Oppressed, a theatrical form originally used in radical popular education movements...

, and Dario Fo
Dario Fo
Dario Fo is an Italian satirist, playwright, theater director, actor and composer. His dramatic work employs comedic methods of the ancient Italian commedia dell'arte, a theatrical style popular with the working classes. He currently owns and operates a theatre company with his wife, actress...

.

Stanislavski treated the theatre as an art-form
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

 that is autonomous
Medium specificity
Medium specificity is a consideration in aesthetics and art criticism. It is most closely associated with modernism, but it predates it. According to Clement Greenberg, who helped popularize the term, medium specificity holds that "the unique and proper area of competence" for a form of art...

 from literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 and one in which the playwright
Playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

'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
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 performance training for much of the last century. That many of the precepts of his '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 America. Many actors routinely equate his 'system' with the American Method
Method acting
Method acting is a phrase that loosely refers to a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances...

, although the latter's exclusively psychological techniques contrast sharply with Stanislavski's multivariant, holistic and psychophysical
Psychophysiology
Psychophysiology is the branch of psychology that is concerned with the physiological bases of psychological processes. While psychophysiology was a general broad field of research in the 1960s and 1970s, it has now become quite specialized, and has branched into subspecializations...

 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 of theatre




Theatre presupposes collaborative
Collaboration
Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals, — for example, an intriguing endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing...

 modes of production and a collective
Collective
A collective is a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together on a specific project to achieve a common objective...

 form of reception. The structure of dramatic texts
Dramatic structure
Dramatic structure is the structure of a dramatic work such as a play or film. Many scholars have analyzed dramatic structure, beginning with Aristotle in his Poetics...

, unlike other forms of literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective reception. The production of plays
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

 usually involves contributions from a playwright
Playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

, director, a cast
Cast member
A cast member is:* An actor who performs in a theatrical production, motion picture, or television program. The actors who perform in the show are collectively referred to as the cast....

 of actor
Actor
An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

s, and a technical production team
Production team
A production team is the group of technical staff who produce a play, television show, recording, or film. Generally the term refers to all individuals responsible for the technical aspects of creating of a particular product, regardless of where in the process their expertize is required, or how...

 that includes a scenic or set designer, lighting designer
Lighting designer
The role of the lighting designer within theatre is to work with the director, choreographer, set designer, costume designer, and sound designer to create an overall 'look' for the show in response to the text, while keeping in mind issues of visibility, safety and cost...

, costume designer
Costume Designer
A costume designer or costume mistress/master is a person whose responsibility is to design costumes for a film or stage production. He or she is considered an important part of the "production team", working alongside the director, scenic and lighting designers as well as the sound designer. The...

, sound design
Sound design
Sound design is the process of specifying, acquiring, manipulating or generating audio elements. It is employed in a variety of disciplines including filmmaking, television production, theatre, sound recording and reproduction, live performance, sound art, post-production and video game software...

er, stage manager
Stage management
Stage management is the practice of organizing and coordinating a theatrical production. It encompasses a variety of activities, including organizing the production and coordinating communications between various personnel...

, and production manager. Depending on the production, this team may also include a composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, dramaturg
Dramaturge
A dramaturge or dramaturg is a professional position within a theatre or opera company that deals mainly with research and development of plays or operas...

, video designer or fight director.

The technical aspects of theatrical production are described collectively as "stagecraft
Stagecraft
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...

". This includes, but is not limited to, the construction and rigging of scenery
Theatrical scenery
Theatrical scenery is that which is used as a setting for a theatrical production. Scenery may be just about anything, from a single chair to an elaborately re-created street, no matter how large or how small, whether or not the item was custom-made or is, in fact, the genuine item, appropriated...

, the hanging and focusing of lighting
Stage lighting
Modern stage lighting is a flexible tool in the production of theatre, dance, opera and other performance arts. Several different types of stage lighting instruments are used in the pursuit of the various principles or goals of lighting. Stage lighting has grown considerably in recent years...

, the design
Costume design
Costume design is the fabrication of apparel for the overall appearance of a character or performer. This usually involves researching, designing and building the actual items from conception. Costumes may be for a theater or cinema performance but may not be limited to such...

 and procurement of costumes
Stage clothes
Stage clothes is a term for any clothes used by performers on stage.More specifically, the term is sometimes used only for those clothes which are specially made for the stage performance by a costume designer...

, make-up
Theatrical makeup
In the performing arts, theatrical makeup is used to assist in creating the appearance of the characters that actors portray.-Background:In Greek and Roman theatre, makeup was unnecessary. Actors wore various masks, allowing them to portray another gender, age, or entirely different likeness....

, sourcing of props, stage management, and recording and mixing of sound. Stagecraft is considered a technical rather than an artistic field, and it relates primarily to the practical implementation of a designer's artistic vision. This distinguishes it from the more recent, wider discipline of scenography
Scenography
-Usage:Whilst also aligned with the professional practice of the scenographer, it is important to distinguish the individual elements that comprise the 'design' of a performance event from the term 'scenography' which is as an artistic perspective concerning the visual, experiential and spatial...

.

Stagecraft may be implemented by any number of workers, from a single person (who arranges all scenery, costumes, lighting, sound, and organizes the cast) to 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 encompasses a vast trove of history and tradition. Regional theatres and larger community theatre
Community theatre
Community theatre refers to theatrical performance made in relation to particular communities—its usage includes theatre made by, with, and for a community...

s will generally have a technical director and a complement of designers, each of whom has a direct hand in their respective designs.

Theatre organization and administration


There are many modern theatre movements which go about producing theatre in a variety of ways.

Theatrical enterprise varies enormously in sophistication and purpose. People who are involved vary from professionals to hobbyists to spontaneous novices. Theatre can be performed with no money at all or on a grand scale with multi-million dollar budgets. This diversity manifests in the abundance of theatre sub-categories, which include:
  • Broadway theatre
    Broadway theatre
    Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

     and West End theatre
    West End theatre
    West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

  • Community theatre
    Community theatre
    Community theatre refers to theatrical performance made in relation to particular communities—its usage includes theatre made by, with, and for a community...

  • Dinner theatre
  • Fringe theatre
    Fringe theatre
    Fringe theatre is theatre that is not of the mainstream. The term comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which name comes from Robert Kemp, who described the unofficial companies performing at the same time as the second Edinburgh International Festival as a ‘fringe’, writing: ‘Round the fringe...

  • Off-Broadway
    Off-Broadway
    Off-Broadway theater is a term for a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499, and for a specific production of a play, musical or revue that appears in such a venue, and which adheres to related trade union and other contracts...

     and Off West End
  • Off-Off-Broadway
    Off-Off-Broadway
    Off-Off-Broadway theatrical productions in New York City are those in theatres that are smaller than Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres. Off-Off-Broadway theaters are often defined as theaters that have fewer than 100 seats, though the term can be used for any show in the New York City area that...

  • Regional theatre
    Regional theatre in the United States
    Regional theaters, or resident theaters, in the United States are professional or semi-professional, theater companies that produce their own seasons. The term regional theatre most often refers to professional theatres outside of New York City...

  • Summer stock theatre
    Summer stock theatre
    Summer stock theatre is any theatre that presents stage productions only in the summer within the United States. The name combines both the seasonal time of year with the tradition of staging shows by a resident company, reusing stock scenery and costumes...



"West End theatre" is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre that is staged in the large theatres of London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's 'Theatreland', the West End
West End of London
The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings, and entertainment . Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross...

. Along with New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

's Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 world. Seeing a West End show is a common tourist
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 activity in London. Total attendances first surpassed 12 million in 2002 and 13 million in 2007, setting a new record for the West End. Since the late 1990s there has been an increase in the number of famous screen actors on the London stage.

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
Repertory
Repertory or rep, also called stock in the United States, is a term used in Western theatre and opera.A repertory theatre can be a theatre in which a resident company presents works from a specified repertoire, usually in alternation or rotation...

 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
Royal National Theatre
The Royal National Theatre in London is one of the United Kingdom's two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 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 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, do not have their own theatre venue. These companies 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
Street theatre
Street theatre is a form of theatrical performance and presentation in outdoor public spaces without a specific paying audience. These spaces can be anywhere, including shopping centres, car parks, recreational reserves and street corners. They are especially seen in outdoor spaces where there are...

, and site specific theatre
Site specific theatre
Site-specific theatre is most simply defined as a performance which exists in a particular place. However, there remains a widespread debate about any more precise a definition. Some argue that any performance which takes place outside a theatre can be labeled site-specific...

. 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.

A touring company
Touring theatre
A touring company is an independent theatre or dance company that travels, often internationally, being presented at a different theatre in each city....

 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
    Acting
    Acting is the work of an actor or actress, which is a person in theatre, television, film, or any other storytelling medium who tells the story by portraying a character and, usually, speaking or singing the written text or play....

  • Alternative theatre
    Alternative theatre
    Alternative theatre is a term used to describe fringe theatre, or entertainment not of the mainstream. The term comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which name comes from Robert Kemp, who described the unofficial companies performing at the same time as the second Edinburgh International...

  • Black light theatre
    Black light theatre
    Black Light Theatre or simply Black Theatre, is a theatrical performance style characterized by the use of black box theatre augmented by black light illusion. This form of theatre originated from Asia and can be found in many places around the world...

  • Culinary theatre
    Culinary theatre
    Culinary theatre refers to the creation or enhancement of a spectacle during the service of food and beverages. This form of theatrics aims to excite or even entertain the diner, patron or customer, usually without affecting the flavour of the food and/or beverage to be consumed...

  • Illusionistic tradition
    Illusionistic tradition
    Illusionistic tradition is a style of theatre that was created in Italy during the Renaissance. Its focus was primarily centered on grandiose spectacle in theatrical performance. Stages made use of Italianate scenery, including Proscenium arch, perspective, border flats, and a raked stage to create...

  • Employment in theatre
  • List of awards in theatre
  • List of notable theatre festivals
  • List of playwrights
  • List of theatre directors
  • Outline of theatre
  • Performance art
    Performance art
    In art, performance art is a performance presented to an audience, traditionally interdisciplinary. Performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or carefully orchestrated; spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation. The performance can be live or...

  • Reader's theatre
    Reader's Theatre
    Reader's theatre is a style of theatre in which the actors do not memorize their lines. Rather, they either go through their blocking holding scripts and reading off their lines, or else sit/stand together on a stage and read through the script together...

  • Theatre consultant
    Theatre consultant
    A theatre consultant is a consultant who specializes in the design of facilities for the performing arts, equipment for those facilities and the operation of theatre....

  • Theatre for development
    Theatre for development
    Theatre for Development, or TfD, means live performance, or theater used as a development tool -- as in international development. TfD encompasses the following in-person activities, with people or "puppets", before an audience:* a spoken-word drama or comedy...

  • Theater (structure)
    Theater (structure)
    A theater or theatre is a structure where theatrical works or plays are performed or other performances such as musical concerts may be produced. While a theater is not required for performance , a theater serves to define the performance and audience spaces...

  • Theatre technique
    Theatre technique
    Theatre techniques are procedures that facilitate a successful presentation of a play. They also include any practices that advance and enhance the understanding the audience brings to the action and the acting by the caston stage.-The playwright's craft:...

  • Theatrical style
    Theatrical style
    There are a variety of theatrical forms used in theatre and drama. These includeNaturalism:Portraying life on stage with a close attention to detail, based on observation of real life.Realism:...



Sources


  • Aston, Elaine, and George Savona. 1991. Theatre as Sign-System: A Semiotics of Text and Performance. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415049320.
  • Banham, Martin, ed. 1998. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. ISBN 0521434378.
  • Beacham, Richard C. 1996. The Roman Theatre and Its Audience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP. ISBN 978-0674779143.
  • Benedetti, Jean. 1999. Stanislavski: His Life and Art. Revised edition. Original edition published in 1988. London: Methuen. ISBN 0413525201.
  • ---. 2005. The Art of the Actor: The Essential History of Acting, From Classical Times to the Present Day. London: Methuen. ISBN 0413773361.
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    Walter Benjamin
    Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin was a German-Jewish intellectual, who functioned variously as a literary critic, philosopher, sociologist, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist...

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    Gilles Deleuze
    Gilles Deleuze , was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus , both co-written with Félix...

     and Félix Guattari
    Félix Guattari
    Pierre-Félix Guattari was a French militant, an institutional psychotherapist, philosopher, and semiotician; he founded both schizoanalysis and ecosophy...

    . 1972. Anti-Œdipus
    Anti-Œdipus
    Anti-Oedipus is a book by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and the psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. It is the first volume of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, the second being A Thousand Plateaus ....

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  • Fergusson, Francis
    Francis Fergusson
    Francis Fergusson was an American academic and critic, a theorist of drama and mythology. Fergusson taught for a time on the faculty of the department of English at Rutgers University and is regarded as an influence on poet Robert Pinsky....

    . 1949. The Idea of a Theater: A Study of Ten Plays, The Art of Drama in a Changing Perspective. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1968. ISBN 0691012881.
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    Lazzi
    Lazzi is an improvised comic dialogue or action commonly used in the Commedia dell'arte. Most English-speaking troupes use the Italian plural "lazzi" as the singular and "lazzis" for the plural....

    : The Comic Routines of the Commedia dell'Arte. New York: Performing Arts Journal. ISBN 0933826699.
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    Phyllis Hartnoll
    Phyllis Hartnoll was a British poet, author and editor.Hartnoll studied at the University of Oxford, where she won the Newdigate Prize for poetry in 1929. Later she worked as an editor on many Oxford University Press publications, including the Oxford Companion to the Theatre...

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    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

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    Keith Johnstone
    Keith Johnstone is a drama instructor whose teachings and books have focused on improvisational theatre and have had a major influence on the art of improvisation.-Education:...

    . 1981. Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre Rev. ed. London: Methuen, 2007. ISBN 0713687010.
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    Vsevolod Meyerhold
    Vsevolod Emilevich Meyerhold was a great Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatrical producer. His provocative experiments dealing with physical being and symbolism in an unconventional theatre setting made him one of the seminal forces in modern international theatre.-Early...

    . 1991. Meyerhold on Theatre. Ed. and trans. Edward Braun. Revised edition. London: Methuen. ISBN 978-0413387905.
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    Patrice Pavis
    Patrice Pavis is Professor for Theatre Studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury. He has written extensively about performance, focusing his study and research mainly in semiology and interculturalism in theatre...

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  • Rehm, Rush
    Rush Rehm
    Rush Rehm is an Associate Professor of Drama and Classics at Stanford University, California, in the United States. He also works professionally as an actor and director. He has published many works on classical theatre.- Bibliography :...

    . 1992. Greek Tragic Theatre. Theatre Production Studies ser. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415118948.
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    Friedrich Nietzsche
    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

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  • Spolin, Viola
    Viola Spolin
    Viola Spolin was an important innovator of the American theater in the 20th century. She created directorial techniques to help actors to be focused in the present moment and to find choices improvisationally, as if in real life...

    . 1967. Improvisation for the Theater. Third rev. ed Evanston, Il.: Northwestern University Press, 1999. ISBN 081014008X.
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  • Williams, Raymond
    Raymond Williams
    Raymond Henry Williams was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic. He was an influential figure within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the mass media and literature are a significant contribution to the Marxist critique of culture and the arts...

    . 1966. Modern Tragedy. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0701112603.


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