The history and development of scenery, costumes and lighting of the English stage from medieval times to the year 1700.

by G. Lloyd. Fulford

Institution: McGill University
Department: Department of English.
Degree: MA.
Year: 1940
Keywords: Theaters  – Stage-setting and scenery  – History  – Great Britain.; Stage lighting  – History.; Costume  – Great Britain  – History.
Record ID: 1546606
Full text PDF: http://digitool.library.mcgill.ca/thesisfile129970.pdf


The purpose of this thesis is to trace the history and development of scenery, costumes, lighting, and general stage equipment from the earliest drama in England to the year 1700. The drama had its ultimate origin in the services of the Church and it is from this religious drama of the Middle Ages that our modern theatre developed. At first the clergy dramatized parts of the simple Bible stories in the chancel during the Church service. Later the drama lost direct connection with the service and the presentation was given in other parts of the Church. These performances, which were known as the Miracle and Mystery Plays, were for the purpose of the moral and religious edification of the people. [...] The drama did not remain permanently under the control of the guilds. In the fifteenth century an interest in the old classical plays was awakened and the regular English drama began to take form. Plays were performed at the universities, in public halls and private houses, and the inn-yard was used during the early sixteenth century. [...] The history and the development of scenery, costumes and lighting will be studied individually in this thesis, and general stage equipment will be considered as it relates to each of these. The relation of scenery, costumes and lighting will be examined and the effects created will be compared with the feeling for form, colour, composition and light which art from the middle of the nineteenth century onward has made a common possession. [...]