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Theatre History 316: Selected Resources

Theatre History 316: Selected Resources

Examples of Research Topics

THT316 traces the evolution of the theatre arts (stagecraft, acting, and directing) from their ancient Greek origins through the end of the 17 century.  While the primary emphasis is on Western theatre, non-Western theatre traditions will also be considered.

For the research paper required for THT316, examples of research topics include:

Architecture & Scenery

  • The evidence and possibilities for scenography in the Greek or Roman theatre.

  • The development of the skene from the Classical to Hellenistic period.

  • Influences of the Greek theatrical spaces on those of the Romans.

  • The wing and shutter system as developed in the Italian Renaissance.

  • The appearance of the proscenium on the Renaissance stage.

  • The introduction of Italianate scenery to the French stage.

  • Evidence for a discovery space on the Elizabethan public stage.

  • The “hellmouth” in Medieval cycle plays.


  • Influence of the Medieval interludes on Elizabethan comedy.

  • Italian settings in Elizabethan tragedy.

  • Why the need for Neoclassical rules in Italy?

  • The “gender” question in the plays of female Restoration playwrights.


  • The boy actor in tragic female roles in adult companies on the Elizabethan stage.

  • The public popularity of all-boy companies of the Elizabethan theatre.

  • Transvestism in Greek tragedy or comedy or Roman comedy.

  • Medieval cycle performance.

  • Medieval morality touring companies.

  • The appearance of women.


  • Philip Henslowe’s organization of an Elizabethan acting company.

  • Noble patronage of Elizabethan theatre companies.

  • Householding and shareholding in the Elizabethan theatre.

  • The forced formation of the Comedie Française after the death of Molière.


  • Contemporary costumes in “period” plays in the Elizabethan theatre.

  • Exaggerated physical form in Greek Old Comedy.

  • Dressing the devils in Medieval cycle or morality plays.

  • Commedia dell’arte half-masks.

  • Standardized costumes of stock commedia characters.


  • The impact of the Peloponnesian War on the City Dionysia.

  • “Real” received history versus the dramatic version in Shakespeare’s Richard III or any one of the chronicle plays.

  • Cardinal Richelieu’s role in the triumph of Neoclassicism in France.

  • Anti-theatre or anti-actor laws in Italy, France, or England.

  • The relationship of the Reformation or Counter-Reformation and religious plays.