Introduction: ‘When Lyberte Ruled’: Tudor Drama 1485–1603

Thomas Betteridge and Greg Walker

in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199566471
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Introduction: ‘When Lyberte Ruled’: Tudor Drama 1485–1603

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This article begins with a description of how a play staged by the Grocers' Company of Norwich in 1565 illustrates the complexity of the history of the English stage during the Tudor century. The discussion then turns to factors that shaped the development of drama in the Tudor century: religious drama, the coming of the theatres, and humanism. The history of Tudor drama is marked by radical change and the persistence of traditional forms, performances, and spaces. Civic authorities remained important producers of drama throughout the Tudor period, for example, but there was an increasing separation between what they produced and what was being performed in the new public playhouses. While there is agreement that the old chronologies and taxonomies must change, there is as yet little consensus on where the rearranged landmarks and boundaries should be placed, whether in the history of drama or more generally.

Keywords: Tudor drama; English stage; Tudor Century; Grocers' Company of Norwich; religious drama; theatres; humanism

Article.  8706 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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