Ritual and Drama: The Mediaeval Theatre

By Francis Edwards

Exploring the role of Christian ritual in mediaeval drama, Francis Edwards draws illustrative parallels between mediaeval and modern states of mind.

ISBN: 9780718897888


In Ritual and Drama: The Mediaeval Theatre, Francis Edwards reveals that ritual forms the basis of all popular theatrical entertainment, the root from which dramatic art has grown. Covering the period from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, Edwards focusses on the audience impact rather than the artistic qualities of the mediaeval plays, devoting much of his attention to the emotional effect of religious and dramatic ritual on the spectator. Illuminating the impact of Christian rituals, liturgy, and stories, Edwards draws illustrative parallels between mediaeval and modern states of mind.

Ritual and Drama describes the growth of the dramatic idea, the styles of presentation of the mystery cycles, and the evolution of the morality play, presenting in straightforward terms a theme fundamental to our understanding of mediaeval dramatic art.

Additional information

Illustrations 19 b&w

Trade Information LGENPOD

About the Author

Francis Edwards was best known for his experimental work in the field of mediaeval theatre and drama, and for founding the Surrey Community Players in 1947, which produced a series of Towneley Plays in 1952.



Chapter 1 Ritual and the Theatre
Chapter 2 The Theatre of the Early Church
Chapter 3 The Growth of the Dramatic Idea
Chapter 4 The Spirit of Irreverence
Chaper 5 The Theatre of the People
Part I The Transition from Latin to the Common Tongue
Part II The Miracle Plays
Chapter 6 Religion and the Stage

Glossary of Terms
Book List

Endorsements and Reviews

It is a fascinating story that he has to tell and he unfolds it carefully, lovingly, illuminatingly. It is just the kind of book I like – a book that makes you feel the writer has done all the work, which leaves you free to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

Rosamund J. Steen, in Information for Drama

he concentrates admirably on the audience impact on the medieval plays and how they grew from the liturgy.

Desmond Pratt, in Th e Yorkshire Post