Start Date
Place
Notes
Source
2000 BCE
Egypt
The world's earliest report of a dramatic
production comes from the banks of the Nile. It is
in the form of a stone tablet preserved in a
German museum and contains the sketchy
description of one, I-kher-nefert (or Ikhernofret), a
representative of the Egyptian king, of the parts
he played in a performance of the world's first
recorded "Passion" Play somewhere around the
year 2000 B.C.
http://www.theatrehistory.com/origins/egypt0
01.html August 2010
0800 BCE
Greece
Although civilizations had existed in Greek lands
for thousand of years, the civilization that
produced the first recorded theatre and drama
dated from about the eighth century BC.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 218
0534 BCE
Greece
Tradition has it that at the Dyonysia of 534 BCE,
during the reign of Pisistratus, the lead singer of
the dithyramb, a man named Thespis, added to
the chorus an actor with whom he carried on a
dialogue, thus initiating the possibility of dramatic
action. Thespis is credited with the invention of
tragedy.
New Columbia Encyclopedia
0486 BCE
Greece
Comedy was introduced into the Great Dionysia
in 486 BCE, some fifty years after tragedy. It
seems never to have been comfortable there,
perhaps because the festival was an international
showcase for Athenian culture and thus often
visited by foreign dignitaries.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 227
0442 BCE
Greece
The real home of comedy was the winter festival,
the Leanaia, where a contest for comedy was
established in 442 BCE. At both festivals, an
entire day was set aside for competition among
the comic playwrights, five of whom competed.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 227
0440 BCE
Greece
Free-wheeling, loose, episodic, an offering in this
genre elaborated some slight theme serving to
connect slap-dash, satirical skits, the whole work
barely hanging together. Any crazy, fantastic idea
lent the piece a title and provided a simulacrum
of a plot. A flow of indecent abuse, obscene
jokes and burlesque sketches let the author heap
his scorn on government officials, rival
playwrights and other members of the
establishment. Perhaps no theatre in history has
ever been as outspoken, especially in attacking
living persons. In 440 BCE censorship ws
imposed, but after three years it was rescinded,
and the torrent of comic derision was resumed.
Freund, Stage, P. 627
0364 BCE
Roman Empire
For convenience, the Roman theatrical era is
divided into two parts: the Republic (364 BCE to
27 BCE) and the Empire (27 BCE to 500 CE).
The extant dramas come from the period of the
Republic; the stone theatres and so
archaeological evidence about stage spaces,
from the period of the Empire, Therefore, in
Rome as in Greece, the period of the plays and
the period of archaeological evidence do not
correspond well.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 233
0336 BCE
Greece
New Comedy began to flourish shortly after the
accession of Alexander the Great to the
Macedonian throne (336 BCE). The names of at
least sixty-four playwrights of this period are
known, and the titles of well over 1,000 scripts.
Most of these, as must be obvious, were staged
not in Athens but in other Greek cities that by now
had built their own theatres and also held annual
festivals.
Freund, Stage, P. 681
0100 BCE
China
There are references to theatrical entertainments
in China as early as 100 BC during the Shang
Dynasty; they often involved music, clowning and
acrobatic displays.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_theatre
August 2010
0800
Europe
During the ninth and tenth centuries, the Church
had become increasingly self-aware and had
begun to decorate and elaborate various of its
practices; the music,calendar, vestments, art,
architecture, and liturgy all changed in the
direction of greater embellishment. Although the
reasons for the emergence of Latin music drama
are not entirely clear, probably its development
proceeded as a part of this general movement.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 247
1200
Europe
Plays continued to be performed in many
churches into the sixteenth century, but, by 1200,
a different tradition was developing as well: some
religious plays were being given outdoors.
Records of such production are scant until about
1350, when relatively abundant accounts begin to
describe a civic and religious theatre of
magnificent proportions throughout most of
western Europe.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 249
1400
UK
The English mystery cycles are performed by
trade guilds, on carts pulled from audience to
audience around the city
http://www.historyworld.net/ May 2012
1500
Italy
Certainly the printing press allowed a veritable
explosion of accessible information, so much so
that by 1500, numerous academies of the city
states of Italy were devoted to the study and
production of Roman plays.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 259
1512
UK
One of the most spectacular entertainments of
the nobility was the masque, introduced into
England from Italy by Henry VIII as early as 1512.
Members of the aristocracy even the royal family
would participate in masques as actors.
http://www.theatredatabase.com/16th_centur
y/court_comedies_and_masques_001.html
August 2010
1531
Italy
The first stage theater of a permanent and public
kind was established at Ferrara in Italy.
http://timelines.ws May 2011
1540
Spain
Medieval religious theatre saw the rise of the
Corpus Christi play in the 1540s; at almost the
same time, Spanish professional actors began
organizing as sharing companies and traveling to
major towns, where they performed on temporary
(booth) stages in whatever locations seemed
suitable.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 269
1548
France
Hotel de Bourgogne the first covered theatre
opened in Paris.
Beckett, Story, P. 249
1549
Europe
Court jesters appear in Europe.
Beckett, Story, P. 281
1559
UK
Licensing of plays was enacted. Creation of the
Earl of Worcester's Men; The Earl of Warwick's
Men; Lord Strange's Men.
http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/dramatimelin
e.htm January 2011
1576
UK
James Burbage builds London's first theatre and
calls it the Theatre.
http://www.historyworld.net/ May 2012
1580
UK
By 1580, London had two different kinds of
theatre: the outdoor of "public" playhouse, and
the indoor, or "private" playhouse.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 260
1590
UK
The date of published texts of Shakespeare's
plays in the 1590 may suggest that a print version
was timed to coincide with a revival in the
playhouse. Shakespeare seems to have been
keen that his plays should have a literary life, as
well as an audience.
Pettigree, Book, P. 345
1593
UK
In 1593-94, theatres in England were closed due
to the plague.
http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/dramatimelin
e.htm January 2011
21 Sep 1599
UK
The Globe Theater had its first recorded
performance. The 20-sided timber building for
Shakespeare's plays was constructed on the
South Bank of the Thames, England. The troupe
Lord Chamberlain's Men built the Globe Theater.
Timbers came from a dismantled old theatre and
the new structure held some 3,000 spectators in
3 galleries.
http://timelines.ws January 2009
1600
France
Between 1600 and 1700 under Louis XIV,
France attained a glory equal to that of
Shakespeare's England.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 283-
84
1600
Russia
The Drama in Russia as everywhere else, had a
double origin. It developed out of the religious
mysteries on the one hand and the popular
comedy on the other, witty interludes being
introduced into the grave, moral representations,
the subjects of which were borrowed from the Old
or the New Testament. Several such mysteries
were adapted in the seventeenth century by the
teachers of the Graeco-Latin Theological
Academy at Kiev for representation in Little
Russian by the students of the Academy, and
later on these adaptations found their way to
Moscow.
www.theatrehistory.com/russian/early_russia
n_drama.html August 2010
1606
Canada
Le theatre de Neptune en la Nouvelle-France, a
masque produced by Marc Lescarbot at Port
Royal in the Annapolis Valley, included native
performers in a classical allegory staged on the
water in canoes.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada
1614
UK
The Globe was rebuilt, with a tiled roof.
http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/dramatimelin
e.htm January 2011
1618
Italy
The Teatro Farnese in Parma is the first to have
a proscenium arch, framing perspective scenery
painted on flat wings
http://www.historyworld.net/ May 2012
1622
UK
In 1622 there were but four principal theatre
companies--the King's, which acted at the
Blackfriars and the Globe; the Prince's, at the
Curtain; the Palgrave's, at the Fortune; the Queen
of Bohemia's, at the Cockpit.
http://www.theatredatabase.com/17th_centur
y/closure_of_the_theaters_001.html August
2010
1629
UK
1629 was the first year in which a female
performer was seen in the English theater. The
innovation was introduced by a French company,
but the women were hissed and pippin-pelted off
the stage.
http://www.theatredatabase.com/17th_centur
y/closure_of_the_theaters_001.html August
2010
1641
France
In 1641, Cardinal Richelieu opened the first
Italianate theatre in France, the Palais-Cardinal.
His successor, Cardinal Mazarin, who shared
Richelieu's taste fro Italian opera and perspective
decor, brought Giacomo Torelli to Paris in 1645.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 283
1641
Italy
Italians also came up with new methods of
shifting scenery using wings and painted canvas
coverings. The chariot and pole system of shifting
scenery was created by Giacomo Torelli in 1641,
and it was so popular it was used in other
theatres throughout Europe.
http://www.cwu.edu/~robinsos/ppages/resour
ces/Theatre_History/Theahis_5.html April
2011
1642
UK
On Cromwell's death, no acceptable successor
could be found, and so Parliament finally called
Charles II, son of Charles I, from France, where
had lived in exile. For the period of the
Interregnum (1642-1660), the English theatres
were closed.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 267
1644
UK
The Globe was demolished.
http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/dramatimelin
e.htm January 2011
1648
UK
The puritans ordered all playhouses demolished,
all actors whipped, and theatregoers fined five
shilling.
http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/dramatimelin
e.htm January 2010
1650
Japan
Japan's popular theatre, kabuki, develops as a
form of café entertainment
http://www.historyworld.net/ May 2012
1660
UK
English theatre was organized as a monopoly in
which only two troupes were licensed, originally
those of William Davenant and Thomas Killigrew
(1612-1683).
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 288
1660
UK
When the English monarchy was restored in
1660, theatre was reinstated almost immediately.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 288
1687
France
The Italian commedia dell'arte began as an
antiliterary form of theater based on
improvisation with juggling and acrobatics. It had
a set stock of characters, the foremost of which
were a rich foolish old man and his clever servant
Harlequin. Two others were Columbine and
Pierrot, the latter being the embodiment of out-
spoken simplicity. With its antiestablishment
character it was banned by the French nobility in
1687. In 1716 the Italian actors were recalled by
the Duc d'Orleans, Louis XV's Regent from 1713
to 1723. Scripts were eventually written for the
commedia dell'arte; these had a delicate verbal
style, and often an erotic undercurrent.
Beckett, Story, P. 425
1702
Russia
Tsar Peter I, who was very fond of the drama,
opened a theatre in the old capital. He had a
company of actors brought for the purpose from
Dantsig, and a special house was built for them
within the holy precincts of the Kremlin in
Moscow.
http://www.theatrehistory.com/russian/early_r
ussian_drama.html August 2010
1716
US
The earliest known theatre in the American
colonies is built at Williamsburg, Virginia.
http://www.terramedia.co.uk June 2008
22 Dec 1716
UK
First pantomime staged in England is seen at the
Lincoln’s Inn Theatre, London
http://www.terramedia.co.uk June 2008
1730
US
Romeo and Juliet, the first play by Shakespeare
to be presented in America, is performed in New
York.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0153763.ht
ml November 2010
1737
UK
Under the Stage Licensing Act, all plays
produced in English theatres must have prior
approval by the Lord Chamberlain. This
requirement remains in force for 231 years until
1968. [Note: this act also reaffirmed that only two
theatres could operate in London, at Drury Lane
and at Covent Garden - SM]
http://www.terramedia.co.uk June 2008
1741
Italy
Venice's new theatre, the Teatro Novissimo, has
machinery which can change the scenes in the
blink of an eye
http://www.historyworld.net/ May 2012
1750
Russia
It is most interesting to note that it was not in
either of the capitals, but in a provincial town,
Yarosláv, under the patronage of the local
tradesmen, that the first permanent Russian
theatre was founded, in 1750, and also that it
was by the private enterprise of a few actors: the
two brothers Vólkoff, Dmitrévsky, and several
others. The Empress Elisabeth--probably
following the advice of Sumarókoff, who himself
began about that time to write dramas--ordered
these actors to move to St. Petersburg, where
they became artists of the Imperial Theatre, in the
service of the Crown. Thus, the Russian theatre
became, in 1756, an institution of the
Government.
http://www.theatrehistory.com/russian/early_r
ussian_drama.html August 2010
1752
US
In 1752, a troupe of English actors headed by
William and Lewis Hallam went to Virginia and
after building a theatre, opened with the Merchant
of Venice.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 294
1760
International
About 1760, spectators were no longer permitted
to sit on stages in England and France, for
onstage spectators clearly destroyed the illusion
of reality and took up spaces now needed for
scenery and acting areas.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 307
10 Jun 1762
US
Puritan version of Othello opened in Newport,
Rhode Island.
http://timelines.ws May 2011
26 Feb 1789
Canada
The Halifax garrison built the New Grand Theatre,
fitted with boxes and 2 pits, which opened with a
production of The Merchant of Venice.
Canadian Encyclopedia
1800
France
Melodrama was originally the name of a
particular style that arose quite precisely in the
year 1800 in the commercial theatres of Paris.
Gripsrud, Understandng, P. 145
1800
Russia
During the first thirty years of the nineteenth
century the Russian theatre developed
remarkably. The stage produced, at St.
Petersburg and at Moscow, a number of gifted
and original actors and actresses, both in
tragedy and in comedy. The number of writers for
the stage became so considerable that all the
forms of dramatic art were able to develop at the
same time.
http://www.theatrehistory.com/russian/early_r
ussian_drama.html August 2010
1814
UK
A revolution in English acting appears to have
occurred when Edmun Kean (1787-1833) made
his London debut in 1814. Kean abandoned
dignity and intellect in favour of flamboyance and
passion.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 311
1833
Brazil
The actor João Caetano (1808-1863) founded a
Brazilian company with the aim of "ending the
dependence of our theatre on foreign actors". His
name was linked to two fundamental events in the
history of Brazilian drama: the première, on
March 13th, 1838 of Antônio José ou o Poeta e a
Inquisição, "the first tragedy written by a Brazilian
and the only one dealing with a national subject",
by Gonçalves de Magalhães (1811-1882); and,
on October 4th in the same year, O Juiz de Paz
na Roça, where Martins Pena (1815-1848)
started the rich seam of the comedy of manners,
the most characteristic of our theatrical traditions.
http://www.brasembottawa.org/en/culture_ac
ademic/theater.html June 2011
1835
US
The National Theatre in Washington DC opened
in 1835. This may be seen as an early example
of government intervention in the US cultural
public sphere. There may have been many
reasons for this: a desire to emulate cultural
institutions in certain European nations, a need
for a place where elites could meet in style, a
wish to create a cultural institution that would
symbolize national unity or, simply, an interest in
serious theatrical art.
Gripsrud, Understanding, P. 246
1838
South Africa
The formal South African theatre tradition dates
only as far back as the 1830s, when Andrew
Geddes Bains's Kaatje Kekkelbek or Life among
the Hottentots was performed in 1838 by the
Graham's Town Amateur Company.
http://www.southafrica.info/about/arts/615830
.htm March 2011
1840
US
Minstrel shows - for most of the nineteenth
century enacted by whites in blackface - were the
first widespread American form of nonoperatic
song and dance show. Popular from the 1840s,
they presented song numbers interspersed with
dialogues and comedy routines based on
stereotypes of African American life.
Grant, The Rise and Fall of the Broadway
Musical, P. 121
24 Dec 1841
New Zealand
David C. Osborne, self-styled Professor of
Elocution, gave New Zealand its first recorded
performance of a play on Christmas Eve, 1841,
when he presented The Lawyer Outwitted in a
detached building called The Albert Theatre,
adjoining Watson's Exchange Hotel at Auckland.
http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/theatre/1
March 2011
1861
Italy
After 1861 most citizens of Unified Italy still
spoke in dialect and very few people were
versed in proper Italian; this led to the rise of
dialect theatre across the country. But dialect
theatre flourished above all in Naples thanks to
the De Filippo brothers.
http://www.italianculture.net/english/theatre.ht
ml April 2011
1861
Wales
An official National Eisteddfod is held for the first
time in Wales, in Aberdare
http://www.historyworld.net/ May 2012
1879
US
By 1879, there were twelve different Tom
companies (theatre groups producing no plays
except Uncle Tom's Cabin) crisscrossing
America. By 1899 there were between four
hundred and five hundred such companies.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 331
1880
International
The availability of electricity for theatrical lighting
after the 1880s, had two major results. It made
the control and therefore the artistic manipulation
of lighting possible, and it extended the life
expectancy of theatre buildings by reducing the
number of theatre fires, a plague of theatres
during the first half of the century.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 324
18 Feb 1883
Russia
A Ukase [proclamation of the Tsar] barred
Yiddish theater in Russia.
http://timelines.ws October 2006
1898
Germany
In 1898, Theodor Siebs (1862–1941) fixed rules
for the “Deutsche Bühnenaussprache” (German
stage pronunciation) which are still regarded as
binding until today.
http://www.lrz.de/~hr/lang/dt-hist.html
November 2010
1898
Russia
From its opening in 1898, the Moscow Art
Theatre was known for its careful realistic-
naturalistic productions.
Cameron and Gillespie, Enjoyment, P. 322
1902
Ireland
W.B. Yeats heads a group of writers and
directors in establishing the Irish National Theatre
Society
http://www.historyworld.net/ May 2012
1904
Ireland
Dublin's Abbey Theatre opens as a new home for
the Irish National Theatre Society.
http://www.historyworld.net/ May 2012
1911
Canada
Critic Bernard K. Sandwell bemoaned the
annexation of the Canadian stage by US theatre
magnates such as Charles Frohman, the Shubert
brothers and the powerful New York Theatrical
syndicate formed in 1896.
Canadian Encyclopedia
1915
Canada
The Trans-Canada Theatre Society was formed.
Although Canadian-owned, its purpose was to
organize tours by foreign companies.
Canadian Encyclopedia
1920
Austria
The 1897 play, "Reigen," by Arthur Schnitzler had
its premiere in Vienna. The name meant round
dance and represented a circle of sexual
encounters and was promptly closed down by
police.
http://timelines.ws October 2006
1930
France
In France, beginning in the 1930s, the fashion
was to write variations on the classic Greek
themes. Instances of this are André Gide's
Oedipe (1931) subsequently produced by Jean
VIlar at Avignon (1949, and Jean Cocteau's The
Infernal Machine (1934), the latter frequently
revived. Cocteau is also the librettist of Igor
Stravinsky's 'brief but monumental' opera oratorio
Oedipus Rex (1926-27), which is in medieval
church Latin, except the narrator's part is to be
sung in whatever is the language of the audience.
Freund, Stage, P. 379
1932
Canada
The Dominion Drama Festival (DDF) was
founded. For forty years, the DDF sponsored
elaborate annual regional and national
competitions in English and French, leading to a
national trophy.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P.
1100
1932
New Zealand
The New Zealand branch of the British Drama
League was founded in 1932 and is organised
on a basis of areas throughout the country. Each
area conducts its own local festival of one-act
plays, and for many dramatic groups these
festivals are the highlight of their year's activities.
http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/theatre/2
March 2011
1932
South Africa
In 1932, came the Bantu Dramatic Society, which
aimed to encourage 'Bantu Playwrights' and to
develop African dramatic and operatic art
http://www.southafrica.info/about/arts/615830
.htm March 2011
1943
US
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! opens
and changes American musical theater by
combining entertainment and serious subjects.
Agnes de Mille choreographs the musical,
capturing the essence of American folk dance.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0153763.ht
ml November 2010
1945
New Zealand
Representatives of 15 repertory societies formed
the New Zealand Drama Council as an
association of the larger amateur theatre groups
in the country.
http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/theatre/2
March 2011
1950
Costa Rica
However, in 1950, several companies were
formed, thus renewing artistic creation as well as
the public's interest in theater. In 1950 the Teatro
Universitario or the University's company was
established, thus promoting the formation of
young actors that would later become essential in
this endeavor.
http://www.infocostarica.com/culture/theater.h
tml July 2011
18 May 1950
Germany
For the first time since 1934, the famous 8-hour
passion play of Oberammergau is performed
with 1,400 villagers participating in the
production.
Merritt, The Fifties
12 Oct 1950
US
Call Me Madam, a musical comedy starting Ethel
Merman with music and lyrics by Irving Belrin,
opens on Broadway with advance ticket sales of
$1 million.
Merritt, The Fifties
1951
Costa Rica
In 1951 Alfredo Sancho founded his Teatro
Experimental, which apart from interpreting
universal plays, would produce Costa Rican
pieces.
http://www.infocostarica.com/culture/theater.h
tml July 2011
1951
Greece
The Greeks produced the one entirely original
literature of Europe. The epic and the lyric
supported the drama. Democracy brought the
comedy of Aristophanes. Poetics and the drama
had a collective purgative effect on society but
with the decline of the stage, oratory and rhetoric
reflected the influence of an individual.
Innis, Bias of Communication, P. 9 (1951)
1951
International
The effectiveness of the oral tradition in the
development of the state became evident in the
success with which the Greeks checked the
expansion of the Persian Empire and in the
cultural flowering of Athens in the fifth century. A
powerful stimulus was given to philosophical
speculation by the arrival of Ionian refuges from
Miletus. The Dionysiac ritual and the choral lyric
as perfected by Pindar provided the background
for the devlopment of the drama under Aeschylus,
Sophocles, and Euripedes. In the second half of
the fifth century writing began to make
encroachments on the oral tradition. Nietsche
has pointed to the significance of music, in which
the joy of annihilation of the individual was
understood, to tragedy. Disappearance of the
spirit of music was followed by decline of
tragedy.
Innis, Bias of Communication, P. 43 (1951)
1951
UK
In the UK, the idea of national theatre was first
aired in 1848, but it did not materialize until 1951,
when the Queen laid the first foundation stone for
its building; or rather in 1963, when its first
production was actually presented; or in 1976,
when the Queen officially opened the National
Theatre, the building that had finally been
constructed.
Gripsrud, Understanding Media Culture, P.
246
07 Nov 1951
US
New management of Washington's National
Theater eliminates the theater's policy of racial
segregation in order to end the Actors Equity
boycott which has kept the institution closed for
the past two and a half years.
Merritt, The Fifties
1952
Kenya
The Colonial authorities' contribution to the
development of Kenyan theatre was in the form of
the introduction of repertory theatre modelled on
British theatre. As a centrepiece of this
development, the colonial government built the
Kenya National Theatre (KNT) in 1952.
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/ge
nder-women-s-voices.pdf May 2011
18 Mar 1952
US
New York's WOR-TV announces it will begin a
new television series presenting full-length
Broadway plays five nights a week.
Merritt, The FIfties
03 May 1952
US
Broadway play Call Me Madam closes after 644
performances with gross ticket sales of $4
million.
Merritt, The Fifties
26 May 1952
UK
Old Vic Company in London announces the
closing of its drama school for financial reasons.
Merritt, The Fifties
17 Nov 1952
US
Billy Rose gives free use of his Ziegfield Theatre
in NY to the nonprofit Lively Arts Foundation for
cultural presentations.
Merritt, The FIfties
Jul 1953
Canada
The renowned Stratford Festival began in July
1953 with a six-week season of two
Shakespeare plays performed under a canvas
tent on a thrust stage designed by Tanya
Moseiwitsch and the fist artistic director, Tyrone
Guthrie.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, P.
1076
28 Mar 1954
US
General Foods sponsored a ninety-minute
television program entitled 'The Rogers and
Hammerstein Cavalcade' that was judged so
important a media event that all four television
networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, and Dumont)
simulcast it. The program cost $500,000 to
produce and was seen nationwide by 70 million
people.
Grant, The Rise and fall of the Broadway
musical, P. 1
31 Jan 1955
US
Supreme Court rules that professional boxing
and legitimate theater are subject to the Sherman
Anti-Trust Act.
Merritt, The Fifties
1957
Canada
In its first year, the Canada Council distributed
$250,000 to three theatre companies (two
Anglophone and one Francophone).
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada
1960
International
Wireless radio microphones were first produced
in the early 1960s but didn't become widely
available until the 1970s
Grant, Rise and fall of the Broadway musical,
P. 195
02 Jun 1960
US
A contract dispute between the AFL-CIO Actors
Equity Union and New York theatres leads to a
complete shut-down of legitimate Broadway
theatre productions for the first time since 1918.
Nelson and Parker, The Sixties
12 Jun 1960
US
Broadway theatre productions re-open following
a June 9 settlement of a contract dispute
between actors and the League of New York
Theatres.
Nelson and Parker, The Sixties
1962
Canada
The Shaw Festival was started in 1962 by
Niagara-area lawyer and playwright Brian
Doherty. During the summer, Mr Doherty
organized eight weekend performances of Don
Juan in Hell and Candida by Bernard Shaw under
the title "Salute to Shaw". For this event, the
Assembly Room in the historic Court House on
Queen Street was converted into a small theatre
http://www.shawfest.com/Home/About-The-
Shaw/Mandate-and-History December 2010
1962
New Zealand
The Drama Council in 1962 represented more
than 100 member-societies, to which it offers
tutorial assistance for specific productions, as
well as weekend schools on production, acting,
and other aspects of stagecraft. The council has,
since 1950, held an annual resident summer
school of acting and production, and in 1960 it
inaugurated an annual winter residential school in
production. Directors of the summer school have
included Hugh Hunt, Stefan Haag, John Sumner,
and Doris Fitton, all from the Elizabethan Theatre
Trust in Australia.
http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/theatre/2
March 2011
02 Sep 1968
France
French actor-director Jean-Louis Barrault
discloses that he has been fired from the
directorship of the French theatre known as the
Odeon because of his indulgent attitude towards
its seizure by striking workers in May 1968.
Nelson and Parker, The Sixties
1969
Costa Rica
In 1969, the Department of Drama of the
University of Costa Rica began functioning, and
by this time it could be said that theater as an art
form and a concrete activity had finally solidified.
http://www.infocostarica.com/culture/theater.h
tml July 2011
1970
UK
The key architect Theo Crosby, and his firm,
Pentagram are appointed to design the replica of
the Globe Theatre. The architects research the
designs of other master builders of
Shakespeare's time. [1970-1987].
http://www.william-shakespeare.info/william-
shakespeare-new-globe-theatre-history-
timeline.htm November 2010
20 Jun 1973
Canada
Then on June 20, 1973, in Niagara-on-the-Lake,
Ontario, the Festival Theatre was officially
opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This
beautiful new building enabled the Shaw Festival
to mount large-scale productions which drew
national and international acclaim
http://www.shawfest.com/Home/About-The-
Shaw/Mandate-and-History December 2010
1976
Tanzania
The Tanzanian Films and Stage Plays Act 1976,
for example, made it a crime to take part in the
production of a play which had not been
authorised by a government-controlled Stage
Plays Authority.
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/ge
nder-women-s-voices.pdf May 2011
1977
Kenya
The alienation this cultural domination caused
was an important factor leading to the well-known
Kamiriithu experiment in 1977, which began the
modern community theatre movement in Kenya.
In a dramatic and well-documented event, Ngugi
wa Mirii, an adult educator from the University of
Nairobi, along with his well known cousin,
playwright Ngugi Wa Thiong.o, and a number of
others moved to the settlement of Kamiriithu,
Ngugi.s home village. This was in effect a
challenge to KNT domination, with the goal of
using theatre to promote literacy programmes.
They worked with the community to design and
build an open-air theatre, the Kamiriithu
Community Educational and Cultural Centre, and
developed a Gikuyu language play, Ngahiika
Ndeenda (I.ll Marry When I Want). Both activities
generated significant community involvement at
all stages of the process. When the play was
finally staged, thousands of people headed for
Kamiriithu to witness the unique experiment.
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/ge
nder-women-s-voices.pdf May 2011
1978
Mali
In 1978, the national theatre company, the
Groupe Dramatique, re-established the Koteba
as a theatrical form in order to reach a public
which had drifted away from the theatre because
the works performed were either conventional
European ones or the works of African literary
artists, usually written in French, which did not
attract the general Malian public. At this point, the
Koteba left its public, open-air venue and took its
place in more formal, presentational theatre
settings.
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/ge
nder-women-s-voices.pdf May 2011
1982
Canada
The Edmonton Fringe, Canada's first [fringe
theatre] began in August 1982, quickly attracting
large crowds and expanding quickly in the next
decade.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada
1982
US
Cats (1982) was probably the first show in which
every single performer onstage wore a wireless
mike.
Grant, The Rise and fall of the Broadway
musical, P. 195
1982
US
Cats opens on Broadway. Becomes Broadway's
longest-running play
http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0153763.ht
ml November 2010
1983
US
Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy wins the
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and Tony
Award for best play, marking the acceptance of
gay theater.
http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0153763.ht
ml November 2010
1985
Canada
The Vancouver Fringe Festival began.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada
1989
Canada
The Toronto Fringe Festival began in late June.
Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada
02 Jun 1995
US
Data show that ticket sales in NYC's Broadway
theatre district for the 1994-95 season reached a
record $406 million. Attendance for the 1994-95
season was 9 million, up 12 percent from the
previous season's 8.1 million.
Avasthi, Nineties, P. 743
05 Jun 1996
US
Data reveal that ticket sales in New York City's
Broadway district reached a record $436 million
for the 1995,96 season. The tickets sales total is
up 7.3 percent from the 1994-95 season, which
set the previous record of $406 million.
Avasthi, Nineties, P. 877
Sep 1996
Brazil
The world premiere of George Coates
multimedia work 20/20 Blake was held at the
Sao Paulo International Theater Festival.
http://timelines.ws June 2011
2001
Canada
The Shaw Festival produced strong attendance
results for a fifth consecutive season. Box office
revenues topped the $14 million mark ($14,194,
000) in 2001 with paid attendance reaching 331,
001 or 80.8 percent of capacity for 784
performances.
http://www.shawfest.com/assets/media_archi
ves/Nov_29_01_SeasonResults.pdf
December 2010
2002
Kenya
Human rights organisations in Kenya have
played a key role in promoting theatre as a tool of
education. In a key development in January 2002,
the Constitution and Reform Consortium
(CRECO), of which most human rights
organisations are members, put together national
theatre teams in three organisations under its
National Civic Education Programme (NCEP),
an activity it dubbed Interactive Participatory
Civic Education Theatre (IPCET).
http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/ge
nder-women-s-voices.pdf May 2011
2002
UK
Total attendances first surpassed 12 million in
2002 in the West End Theatre District in London.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_End_theatr
e November 2010
2003
Canada
Although the summer of 2003 was tough for the
theatre business, the Stratford Festival still
managed to attract attendance that exceeded
608,000 (compared to 672, 924 in 2002) which
resulted in a slight surplus of $303,000
(compared to $2.9 million in 2002). From 2002 to
2003 attendance dropped approximately 9
percent. However, that figure is only a slightly less
than the 2003 target of 610,000. This is the fourth
year in a row that Stratford managed to keep the
attendance figure north of 600,000 mark.
http://www.torontolivetheatre.com/newsdetail.
cfm?ID=40 December 2010
2004
US
Then what is specifically American about the
musical? This book argues that the American
musical peaked as an art form during a forty-year
golden age on Broadway that ended almost forty
years ago. The best musicals of Broadway from
about 1927 to 1966 coalesced and integrated the
complementary theatrical arts - play writing, music,
design, dance, movements, truthful acting - in a
way that differentiates them from and raises them
above all other light music theatre genres of the
word, past and present: Spanish zarzuela,
German, Singspiel, British Gaiety musicals,
Viennese operetta, Parisian opera-comique. The
Broadway musical at its height was a vernacular
version of Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk: a total
art form of the masses. With its text-driven balletic
element it even became a vulgate realization of
Diaghilev's unification of dance, music, and
drama..
Grant, The RIse and Fall of the Broadway
Musical, P. 5
21 Oct 2005
Egypt
In Alexandria, Egypt, thousands of Muslims rioted
outside a Coptic Christian church to denounce a
play deemed offensive to Islam, prompting police
to beat protesters and fire tear gas into the crowd.
3 people died and more than 90 were injured. The
play, "I Was Blind But Now I Can See," tells the
story of a young Christian who converts to Islam
and becomes disillusioned. The riot was sparked
by the distribution of a DVD of a play that was
performed at the church two years ago.
http://timelines.ws August 2006
2008
Austria
In the 2007/08 theatre season attendance at the
federal theatres decreased by 0.8 percent over
the previous year to 1.30 million. Attendance at
the large private theatres and musical theatres in
Vienna increased by 9.7 percent to 1.18 million.
Provincial theatres and municipal theatres
recorded a decline in attendance of 2.3 percent
to 1.09 million. As regards the rise at Vienna's
theatres this is primarily due to the reopening of
the Ronacher after refurbishment from summer
2005 until June 2008
http://www.statistik.at/web_en/statistics/educ
ation_culture/culture/index.html December
2010
01 Apr 2008
Africa
Telecoms giant Globacom, has again
demonstrated its love and desire for cultural
revival in Africa when it signed a Memorandum of
Understanding, (MoU) with the Festival
International De Theatre Du Benin, (FITHEB) last
Sunday, even as it said the move was to uplift the
biennial that is easily the flagship cultural event in
sub saharan Africa.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200804010539.ht
ml April 2011
2009
Canada
In 2009, about 92,000 people attended
Edmonton's Fringe - the largest such festival in
North America - setting the current record.
http://www.edmontonsun.com/entertainment/f
ringe/2010/08/03/14911816.html December
2010
Theatre Timeline
Created with Timeline Maker Professional. Produced on 30 May 2012.