A history play, also known as a chronicle play, is a dramatic work where the events of the plot are either partially or entirely drawn from history. It is also considered a theatrical genre. William Shakespeare wrote ten of these plays, each loosely based on an English monarch and the period in which he reigned. Importantly, these plays remain works of fiction, whether based on an historical figure or not.
Atellan farce, or Atellanae fabulae, was improvisational comic drama in Roman times originating in the town of Atella. As with its modern counterpart, this was a form of low comedy aimed at entertaining the masses. The characters in Atellan farce each had their own mask and costume, similar to the stock characters of the Commedia dell’Arte centuries later. Atellan farce existed for over 500 years, eventually losing popularity around 200 A.D.
Collage drama normally involves original improvised material, group-devised through the act of playbuilding. The form often includes a number of different performance styles deliberately juxtaposing against each other. The narrative of collage drama is usually episodic, consisting of various scenes linked only by a common theme such as the environment, peer pressure, body image, or global warming. Collage drama is regularly used in the classroom and can exist purely as a process for learning or extend through to performance, if desired. This page consists of a number of playbuilding and collage drama resources for students and teachers.
The Futurism movement began in Italy in 1909 with Filippo Marinetti and The Futurist Synthetic Theatre Manifesto. Futurist performance evenings, known as ‘serate’, were a mixture of poetry readings, visual art displays, performed plays and most important of all, manifesto readings. The Futurist play was often frighteningly short (sometimes only a moment or two in duration).
Vaudeville arrived in America in the 1880s and became a hugely popular form of cultural entertainment for the next fifty years. Consisting of a series of short, non-related acts on a single bill, vaudeville’s eclectic list of variety performances involved anything from live animals, jugglers, magicians and singers to comedians, dancers, clowns, and female and male impersonators. The form gradually died out due to the competing medium of motion pictures. This page contains a collection of curated resources on the history and characteristics of vaudeville.
Annotated theatre lighting design resources including links to designer websites, examples of lighting plots and plans, lighting design videos, lighting theory, plus the role and duties of the stage lighting designer.