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Dramatic Findings

Theatre historians are gathering new information about early British entertainment

Editors with the Records of Early English Drama (REED) project are going where no drama historians have gone before. Sifting through musty church basements and private and government archives in England for civic, court, church and family documents, REED general editor Sally-Beth MacLean and her colleagues are gathering information on performers, venues, theatre patrons and other details about early British entertainment. Together they are bringing to life the world of English theatre before and during the Shakespearean era. MacLean spent part of the past summer travelling the English countryside, trusty camera in hand, recording several medieval and Renaissance performance spaces. “My current research is focused on uncovering places that acted as impromptu theatres used by travelling companies,” says MacLean. “Many people know of the excavations at the famed Globe and Rose theatres in London, but not many know that there are several alternative theatres from this period that still survive elsewhere.” REED has produced 19 volumes of research in medieval and Renaissance drama.

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