A History of British Pantomime

(4063 words)
  • Jill Sullivan (Independent Scholar - Europe)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

In the twenty-first century, pantomime as a genre is generally understood as a particularly British theatrical tradition that became established in the late eighteenth century. Its antecedents lay in the European Commedia dell’arte of the Renaissance, a performance genre itself potentially influenced by elements of classical theatre. The history of British pantomime has been one of innovation, frequently shaped by the social, economic and political world beyond the theatre, but also marked by debates centering on the cultural standing of the genre and specific performers.

From Greek Origins to Renaissance Italy

In seeking a history of the pantomime before the Commedia dell’arte of the sixteenth and seventeenth …

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Sullivan, Jill. "A History of British Pantomime". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 October 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=812, accessed 29 September 2016.]