Researching court performance

Sarah Carpenter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The royal courts have long been recognised as patrons of early drama. But the institution of the court presents us with a performance culture which is more complex, diverse and challenging than that of any scripted play. It is a culture in which performers and spectators shift and blur into each other; in which entertainment and leisure are inseparable from power and politics; a culture of vivid spectacle and of subtle obliqueness. At court, performance offers not so much a recognisably alternative play world, as a performed extension of courtly life itself, which is always lived largely in public. Plays are only one strand in a world of performance in which monarchs, courtiers and nobles can function as actors, playwrights and directors, as well as spectators and recipients, of courtly show.

This essay explores a variety of particular occasions to point to some of the different avenues through which we can approach courtly entertainments and what they can reveal about the complex, fluid and multidimensional performance culture that courtly life fostered and inhabited.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Research Companion to Early Drama and Performance
EditorsPamela King
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter8
Pages137-52
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781472421401
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

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