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Religious Drama and Community

Religious Drama and Community

By Elisabeth M. Dutton



Essays on the performance of drama from the Middle Ages, ranging from the well-known cycles of York to matter from Iran. Medieval English Theatre is the premier journal in early theatre studies. Its name belies its wide range of interest: it publishes articles on theatre and pageantry from across the British Isles up to the opening of the London playhouses and the suppression of the civic mystery cycles, and also includes contributions on European and Latin drama, together with analyses of modern survivals or equivalents, and of research productions of medieval plays. Theatrical performance is central to the groups and communities discussed in this volume, and to their particular and local expressions of faith. The articles presented explore the drama of a variety of different communities from religious orders and houses, through local, medieval and post-medieval lay communities, to contemporary worshippers. Contributors examine complex relationships between theatrical performance and faith, understanding religious theatre as a mode of worship and a method of exploring belief, as well as a site for the study of synchronous and asynchronous connections and fractures within communities. Particular topics addressed include the fragments of play-scripts surviving from the monastery at Mont-St-Michel; the Barking Abbey Easter celebrations; and how the sixteenth-century community which owned the surviving copy of the Towneley plays might have understood them in relation to their own faith. The volume is completed with an exploration of traditional Iranian religious theatre from an ethnographic perspective, in a bid to uncover and understand its very particular effects on the contemporary communities who perform and attend it in the twenty-first century. ELISABETH DUTTON and OLIVA ROBINSON run the Medieval Convent Drama project, based at the University of Fribourg and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, which provides the impetus for this special issue of Medieval English Theatre. Contributors: Aurélie Blanc, Eleanor Lucy Deacon, George Gandy, Camille Marshall, James Stokes

ISBN: 9781843845942


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