Published: October 1997© 1997
408 Pages, 6.99 x 9.98 x 1.48 in
Located on the Avon which drains into the Severn estuary on the West Coast of England, Bristol was, from its very early days, a trading, manufacturing, and religious centre. Made an independent county in 1373 by Edward III, Bristol maintained a high and prosperous profile throughout the Middle Ages and for much of the Renaissance, being a seaport from which such explorers as John Cabot set out to discover the New World.
Bristol's surviving medieval and Renaissance theatrical documents span a period of time from 1279 to 1642.
In the introduction to the volume, Mark Pilkinton surveys the social, economic, and religious history of Bristol, and provides a commentary on the major kinds of entertainments found there. They included local and professional drama, guild performances, and Corpus Christi pageants, as well as recorded performances of acrobats, musicians, tumblers, and a company of child performers. Of special interest is the unique, purpose-built indoor playhouse in Wine Street, which operated between 1605 and 1625. Of special interest is the unique, purpose-built indoor Playhouse on Wine Street, which operated between 1605 and 1625.
The Records of Early English Drama series establishes the context of early English drama by examining the historical manuscripts that provide evidence of drama, secular music, and communal entertainment and ceremony from the Middle Ages to 1642, when the Puritans closed the public theatres in London. The volumes make available these historical transcripts together with the necessary interpretative introductions and critical apparatus to explicate the materials for the reader. Bristol is the thirteenth publication in the series.
These records are an invaluable addition to the scholarship of early drama, establishing as they do part of the total context of the great drama of Shakespeare, his predecessors, and his contemporaries.