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amongst the earliest types of festival. Classical Greek theatre was associated with religious festivals dedicated to Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...
. The medieval mystery play
Mystery plays and miracle plays are among the earliest formally developed plays in medieval Europe. Medieval mystery plays focused on the representation of Bible stories in churches as tableaux with accompanying antiphonal song...
s were presented at the major Christian feasts. Theatre as an everyday part of life is a comparatively recent phenomenon.
In recent years, theatre festivals have been established to promote various types of theatre, such as the works of 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 George Shaw
George Shaw was an English botanist and zoologist.Shaw was born at Bierton, Buckinghamshire and was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, receiving his M.A. in 1772. He took up the profession of medical practitioner. In 1786 he became the assistant lecturer in botany at Oxford University...
. Many festivals, such as those in the 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...
movement promote the work of beginning playwrights and performers.