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HIS 107 Victorian Theater Project

Guide to research the Victorian Era.

Theater: an Overview

from Encyclopedia of American Studies

‚ÄčPerhaps the most significant development in American theater studies is the expansion of the field, both chronologically and geographically, as well as greater inclusiveness of kinds of activities that may be encompassed by the term theater. Histories of American theater traditionally begin with the English colonists, specifically with the earliest documented performance in English—Ye Bare and Ye Cubb in 1665 in Accomac County, Virginia—for which the author William Darby and two other young men, who joined him in performing that nonextant work, were taken to court and found “not guilty of fault.” The broader picture now includes numerous Spanish-language theatrical performances over a century earlier (beginning in 1526) in what was later Mexico and the southwestern United States; a French-language piece incorporating some Micmac vocabulary, Le Théâtre de Neptune en la Nouvelle France(1606) by Marc Lescarbot, in Nova Scotia; and indigenous performance traditions (including costumed dancers, ritual enactments, puppetry) that may have been handed down over several millennia.

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