Popular entertainment (theatre, stage and screen)

Medieval (c500-1500)

  • Morality plays and mystery plays were the most common form of theatre, often portraying biblical stories or teaching moral lessons.
  • Entertainment was often centred around religious festivals and holidays.
  • Performance spaces were typically outdoor settings like marketplaces, open fields or the courtyards of inns.

Early Modern (1500-1750)

  • The Renaissance period brought a revival of classical Greek and Roman plays.
  • The construction of playhouses began, including the famous Globe Theatre in London.
  • William Shakespeare emerged as one of the most prominent playwrights and actors.
  • Murder plays became popular amongst the general public.

Industrial Revolution (1750-1900)

  • With urbanisation and industrial growth, demand for entertainment options grew. Music halls and variety shows flourished in cities.
  • The novelty of cinema started to emerge with early projectors and techniques.
  • The late 19th century saw the creation of the world’s first movie, the Roundhay Garden Scene by French inventor Louis Le Prince.

20th Century

  • The first commercial movie theatre, called a nickelodeon, was opened in Pittsburgh, USA.
  • The golden age of cinema grew between the 1920s to 1950s with Hollywood becoming the film capital of the world.
  • Radio and television became prevalent, changing the way entertainment was consumed.
  • The invention of colour television, VCRs and DVDs revolutionised home viewing.
  • The introduction of multiplex cinemas allowed a variety of films to be screened simultaneously.

Present Day

  • The advent of digital technology has transformed film production and distribution.
  • The emergence of online streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ has led to a shift in viewing habits.
  • The popularity of film festivals, like the Cannes Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival, contribute to global film culture and industry.
  • The rise of independent cinema and the ability to produce and distribute films outside traditional channels has increased the variety and diversity of films available.