he study of the history of "theatre" begins with a definition of the term itself. Even if we uploaded an
entire book on the history of theatre, we would first have to determine what to include and what was not relevant to
our primary interest and inquiry. Here, we deal with the development of theatre as an art form consisting of works
written for the stage and intended to be performed by actors on a stage.
We do not include in our brief sketches the history of dance, or primitive drama, of rhetoric and dialogue as such,
or of related areas such as pantomime, opera or ballet. Because the works we perform have been influenced more by the
development of theatre in the West, we don't include information on the theatre as it developed in India, China and
We've divided this topic into three main sections. The first section deals with "ancient theatre", which
includes the development of drama in Greece and Rome, but which also carries the subject from the fall of the Roman
Empire through the middle ages. The second section deals with the rebirth of theatre brought on by the Renaissance and
the Protestant Reformation, the impact of Shakespeare on the art, and the subsequent development of theatre through the
Restoration of the English Crown following the Republic under Oliver Cromwell. The third section deals with the further
development of theatre as an art form during the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. The last section, appropriate for this
site, is a brief history of the community theatre movement in this country.
This site is about Tupelo Community Theatre, and our treatment of the history of theatre is limited. For more
information about this subject, available on the Web, we suggest the Theatre History Cybercourse
and DIDASKALIA: Ancient Theater Today. You may also want to consider some of the
books on the history of theatre listed in our bibliography. Again, we want to emphasize
that these pages can only serve as a preface.