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Home > Catalog > The Cambridge Illustrated History of British Theatre
The Cambridge Illustrated History of British Theatre


  • 136 b/w illus. 93 colour illus. 2 maps
  • Page extent: 416 pages
  • Size: 253 x 203 mm
  • Weight: 1.646 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 792/.0941
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: PN2581 .T78 1994
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Theater--Great Britain--History

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521419130 | ISBN-10: 0521419131)

  • There was also a Paperback of this title but it is no longer available
  • Published November 1994

Unavailable - out of print February 2000


Combining authoritative writing with superb illustration, The Cambridge Illustrated History of British Theatre is a fascinating exploration of the development of the live performing arts in Britain from the earliest times to the present day. Taking a broad view of theater, the book covers everything from the minor and "illegitimate" to the mainstream and "official"--whether the mystery plays of the Middle Ages or the "real time drama" of Coronation Street, the courtly theater of Shakespeare or the contemporary "fringe." The book is aimed at both students and general readers. Simon Trussler is a retired drama professor at the University of London and the editor of New Theatre Quarterly.


Introduction; 1. Roman Britain and the Early Middle Ages; 2. The High Middle Ages; 3. The Later Middle Ages; 4. The shaping of a professional theatre; 5. The era of the outdoor playhouses; 6. The Jacobean theatre; 7. The Caroline and Commonwealth theatre; 8. The Restoration theatre; 9. The birth of a Bourgeois theatre; 10. The actors ascendant; 11. Opposition and oppression; 12. The Garrick years; 13. From manners to melodrama; 14. The end of the monopoly; 15. Towards a respectable theatre; 16. The speculative theatre; 17. Romance and realism; 18. The war and the long weekend; 19. The utility theatre; 20. Anger and affluence; 21. Alternative theatres; 22. Theatre and the marketplace; 23. Epilogue.

Prize Winner

an Honorable Mention for the George Freedley Memorial Award of the Theatre Library Association for 1995

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Books for 1995


"Simon Trussler has produced a work whose wit, readability and inclusiveness--and even inventive layout--make it the very model of modern theater history." John Simon, The New York Times Book Review

"...filled with beautiful illustrations, many in color, this sweeping history of British theater could pass as merely a great coffee-table book. Trussler has taken care, however, that his exhaustive, highly readable history be more than mere literary decoration for the pictures, just as he has striven to make his book better than a college-level textbook....Theater enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy his fascinating effort..." Jack Helbig, Booklist

"...until Trussler's [book], I do not recall reading a complete history of the theatre in this country which puts everything into context...Trussler has therefore discovered a gap in the market and well he fills it...Taken a chapter at a time, the sheer magnitude of Trussler's task, the amount of effort and scholarship he has put into it, becomes evident, not least the careful selection of illustrations...a considerable work of reference, covering not only the plays, the actors, the styles of playing and the theatres themselves, but the social and political attitudes of each era..." Stage

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