Worldly Pleasures: Plays, Shows, Sports

Bernard Capp

in England's Culture Wars

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641789
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191744228 | DOI:
Worldly Pleasures: Plays, Shows, Sports

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter explores the regime's attitude to the theatre, to elite pursuits such as hunting, hawking and horse-racing, and to sports, games, and festive revelry. It examines how far plays and shows survived in London, and at efforts by William Davenant and others to develop more acceptable reformed productions, the early opera. It examines evidence of amateur performances in the provinces, alongside private performances in the homes of the elite. Hunting and hawking were approved and often pursued by the new ruling elites, but fears over security led to repeated interruptions of racing. Animal sports such as bear-baiting and cock-fighting were also suppressed on security grounds, and sports such as football were similarly curbed until discipline weakened in the final months of the interregnum.

Keywords: theatre; plays; shows; hunting; horse-racing; sport; football

Chapter.  11602 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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