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History of Theatre since 1850

  • Jun 11, 1572

    Ben Jonson

    Ben Jonson
    Ben Jonson (June 1572 – August 1637) was a playwright, poet, and literary critic of the seventeenth century English Renaissance, Majorly influencing stage comedy, Ben Jonson is best known for the satirical plays Every Man in His Humour (1598), Volpone, or The Foxe (1605), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fayre: A Comedy (1614). He is regarded as the second most important English dramatist after William Shakespeare. Many of his works were produced in collaboration with designer Inigo Jones.
  • Jul 15, 1573

    Inigo Jones

    Inigo Jones
    Inigo Jones (July 1573 – June 1652) is the first significant British architect of the early modern period which later would be model for further developments in Britain's West End. He made major contributions to stage design by his work as theatrical designer, many in collaboration with Ben Jonson.
  • Globe Theatre

    Globe Theatre
    The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated famously with iconic English playwright William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613.A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642.
  • Philaster: Beaumont and Fletcher create "Tragi-Comedy"

    Philaster: Beaumont and Fletcher create "Tragi-Comedy"
    Beaumont and Fletcher were English dramatists who collaborated in their writing during the reign of James I, 1601 - 1625. Together their cannon includes 55 plays written collaboratively. In 1609, B & F premiered "Philaster, or Love Lies a-Bleeding"; this play established a literary genre that blends aspects of both tragic and comic forms -- a genre that would go on to be a staple of post renaissance theatre.
  • Period: to

    The Restoration

    The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II. Theatres reopened after having been closed during the protectorship of Oliver Cromwell. It was during this movement that "Restoration comedy" became a recognizable genre. In addition, women were allowed to perform on stage for the first time.
  • Theatre Royal

    Located in Bath, the Theatre Royal opened1705 and kept its doors open until 1738. It was then demolished and opened again in 1750. By 1768, it' was given a royal charter and became the first theatre to have a royal charter outside of London.
  • Charles Kemble

    Charles Kemble
    Charles Kemble, (Nov. 1775 — Nov. 1854), theatrical manager, the first to use appropriately detailed historical sets and costumes on the English stage, and an actor noted for his comedic supporting roles in several Shakespeare plays. He is the youngest member of a theatrically acclaimed family.
  • William Charles Macready

    Macready would become one of the UK's most prolific artists. He was the first theatre artist to insist on giving and following blocking. He also began acting in rehearsals rather than running lines.
  • Lord Chamberlain begins issuing permits to do theatre

    Following the protestant hold over the United Kingdom, Lord Chamberlain begins issuing permisssion to do theatre in London.
  • James Robinson Planche

    A designer and playwright, Planche was the first to use historically accurate costumes in Shakespeare productions in the 1830s.
  • Theatre Regulations Act

    The Theatres Act 1843 restricted the powers of the Lord Chamberlain, so that he could only prohibit the performance of plays that were deemed harmful to the community.
  • London Theatre hits 21

    Following Lord Chamberlain's permit issuing, London theatres expanded from a mere 6 in 1807 to 21 theatres strong.
  • Maxim Gorky

    Maxim Gorky
    Alexei Maximovich Peshkov (March 1868 – June 1936) was a Russian and Soviet writer known to the public as Maxim Gorky. He was a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist in his time. He famously wrote works which responded to his colleague Anton Chekhov's theatrical statements.
  • Shakespeare's Memorial Theatre OPENS

  • Richard Wagner

    In 1870, Richard Wagner became the first ever director. It was the first time a professional had the sole position of director and coordinated productions as we do in theatre today.
  • Children of the Sun

    Children of the Sun
    A 1905 play by Russian playwright Maxim Gorky, Children of the Sun refers to the privileged intellectual elite of Russia. Depicted as high-minded and idealistic but basically unaware of what is going on around them, the characters become prophetically aware of impending crisis and meet their demise.
  • Tennessee Williams

    Tennessee Williams went on to become one of the greatest American playwrights of the twentieth century. His play Sweet Bird of Youth was produced in London at the Old Vic in 2013, starring Kim Cattrall.
  • Producers are born

    Actor Managers, the most popular way to produce theatre up until the early twentieth century, is replaced by the producer, director, actor team. This is the first time a producer is considered a major part of theatrical operations.
  • Royal Shakespeare Company Opens

    Peter Hall opens the RSC in order to preserve and perform the works of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
  • The National Theatre

    The 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. It's 2013 repertory season featured a production of Maxim Gorky's Children of the Sun.
  • Andrew Upton

    Andrew Upton
    Andrew Upton (February 1966 --) is an Australian playwright, screenwriter, and director. Upton created an adaptation of Gorky's Children of the Sun for London's Royal National Theatre in 2013. He is the husband of the actress Cate Blanchett.
  • The National Theatre

    Effingham Wilson proposed to parliament the idea of national theatre in 1848 and was approved 101 years later in 1949. In 1969, the southbank complex was built to house the UK's National theatre which opened its doors in fall 1976.
  • Theatre Record

    Theatre Record
    Theatre Record (published 1981-1990 as London Theatre Record) is a collective of theatrical criticism, printed in England and published every two weeks. The publication is the creation of English theatre critic Ian Herbert.
  • Handspring Puppet Company

    The HPC was established in 1981 by Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones, situated in Cape Town, South Africa. It's puppets have been featured in the production of War Horse at the New London Theatre.
  • Shakespeare's Globe

    Shakespeare's Globe
    A modern reconstruction of the old Globe Theatre, closed in the mid 1600s, "Shakespeare's Globe" opened in 1997 approximately 750 feet from the site of the original theatre. It was founded by the actor and director Sam Wanamaker.
  • We Will Rock You

    Written by Ben Elton and based on the music of Queen, We Will Rock You opened on the West End in 2002. It is still running 11 years later.
  • Shared Experience Theatre

    A British theatre company, Its current joint artistic directors are Nancy Meckler and Polly Teale. Shared Experience is a process based theatre company based in London's fringe theatre area. It's production of Brackenmoore with the Tricycle Theatre premiered in spring 2013.