The first full length study of drama and performance in medieval and early modern Ireland.
The Irish contribution to world theatre is famous, but today awareness of Irish theatrical activity is chiefly confined to the modern period. This book corrects that imbalance with an unparalleled study of the early history of drama and performance in Ireland from the seventh century through to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and ends on the eve of the arrival of Oliver Cromwell. The work of professional entertainers is discussed, as is that of amateurs in 'theatricals' sponsored by churches, guilds, civic authorities, and artistic patrons. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, many unpublished, Alan Fletcher opens up a vibrant but forgotten Irish landscape in which drama and performance collaborate actively in the mapping and manufacture of social history.