The major periods of Western theatre include ancient Greek and Roman theatre, Medieval drama, the Italian-born Commedia dell’Arte, the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre of Renaissance England, Restoration drama, 19th-century American vaudeville, French and English Melodrama, modern 20th-century drama, and contemporary theatre. Eastern forms throughout history include Noh, Kabuki, Sanskrit, Peking Opera and Bunraku, to name just a few. This page includes research material covering all periods combined. For material on individual periods, visit their specific page. – Justin Cash
Theatre History Resources
Excellent timeline of the history of theatre from the ancient Greeks and Romans through to the evolution of modern Broadway.
Handy overview of the all the major periods in poster form from Scholastic. Good for printing and placing on the classroom wall.
Comprehensive article from Encyclopaedia Britannica on the history of Western theatre from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
Very readable history of British theatre from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Comprehensive cultural overview of all periods of theatre history including Asian and African theatre.
Academic exploration into staging and the use of space throughout theatre history, covering both Eastern and Western theatre, major developments and practitioners.
Extensive history of American theatre from Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Wikipedia entry on theatre history. A great place for students to start their research.
Useful series of encyclopedic articles for younger students on various periods of theatre history.