Medieval Theatre Performance

September 2017
11 black and white, 7 line illustrations
296 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
BISAC LIT011000, PER011020

Medieval Theatre Performance

Actors, Dancers, Automata and their Audiences

Edited by Philip Butterworth, Katie Normington

Investigations into the "realities" of staging dramatic performances, of a variety of kinds, in the middle ages.
We know little about the nature of medieval performance and have generally been content to think of it in relation to more modern productions, not least because of the sparsity of existing evidence. Consequently, whilst much research has been undertaken into its contexts, there has been relatively little scholarly investigation into the conditions of perfomance itself. This book seeks to address this omission. It looks at such questions as the nature of performance in theatre/dance/puppetry/automata; the performed qualities of such events; the conventions of performed work; what took place in the act of performing; and the relationships between performers and witnesses, and what conditioned them.

Philip Butterworth is Visiting Research Fellow in the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds, where he was formerly Reader in Medieval Theatre and Dean for Research; Katie Normington is Senior Vice Principal (Academic) at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she is also Professor of Drama.

Contributors: Kathryn Emily Dickason, Leanne Groeneveld, Max Harris, David Klausner, Femke Kramer, Jennifer Nevile, Nerida Newbigin, Tom Pettitt, Bart Ramakers, Claire Sponsler.

Table of Contents

From Archive to Repertoire: The Disguising at Hertford and Performance Practices - Claire Sponsler
Walk, Talk, Sit, Quit? On What Happens in Netherlandish Rhetoricians' Plays - Bart Ramakers
Performing Intrusions: Interaction and Interaxionality in Medieval English Theatre - Tom Pettitt
Player Transformation: The Role of Clothing and Disguise - Katie Normington
Pavilioned in Splendour: Performing Heaven in Fifteenth-Century Florence - Nerida Newbigin
Living Pictures: Drama without Text, Drama without Action - David N. Klausner
Performer-Audience Relationships in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Danced Spectacles - Jennifer Nevile
Decadance in the Late Middle Ages: The Case of Choreomania - KathrynEmily Dickason
Writing, Telling and Showing Horsemanship in Rhetoricians' Farce - Femke Kramer
Inanimate Performers: The Animation and Interpretive Versatility of the Palmesel - Max Harris
'lyke unto a lyvelye thyng': The Boxley Rood of Grace and Medieval Performance - Leanne Groeneveld
The Mechanycalle 'Ymage off Seynt Iorge' at St Botolph's, Billingsgate, 1474 - Philip Butterworth


Drama was but one of many forms of European performance practice, and these essays offer a constellation of terrifically interesting analysis and sometimes strange subjects to balance out the Everyman version of the Middle Ages. As a collection, the twelve essays offer fresh perspectives on early performance, and they do so with a consistent and admirable clarity for both medievalists and scholars are theatre and performance studies in general. THEATRE SURVEY

This is an accomplished and well-rounded volume that will be greatly apprecaited by scholars of medieval drama because it significantly enriches our knowledge of the field. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES

A vibrant and fascinating addition to the field of medieval performance..It is highly recommended. PARERGON

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