Written with style, imagination and insight, and packed with interesting illustrations, this authoritative book traces the development through the ages of plays and playwriting, forms of staging, the acting profession and the role of the actor - in fact all aspects of live entertainment. From satire and burlesque to melodrama and pantomime, this is a major history of British theatre from the earliest times to the present day. Shifting its focus constantly between those who played and those who watched, between officially approved performance and the popular theatre of the people, The Cambridge Illustrated History of British Theatre will be invaluable to anyone interested in theatre, whether student, teacher, performer or spectator.
'Like the best theatre, this book is fast-moving, accessible, and thoroughly enjoyable.' Antony Sher
'... until Trussler's [book], I do not recall reading a complete history of the theatre in this country which puts everything into context ...Trussler has therefore discovered a gap in the market and well he fills it ... Taken a chapter at a time, the sheer magnitude of Trussler's task, the amount of effort and scholarship he has put into it, becomes evident, not least the careful selection of illustrations ... a considerable work of reference, covering not only the plays, the actors, the styles of playing and the theatres themselves, but the social and political attitudes of each era ...'. Stage
'... an enlightening and enlivening read'. The Times Literary Supplement
'A combination of authoritative writing and superb illustration makes this one hard to beat as an overview.' The National Theatre Magazine
'... this is a history likely to prove both enticing and affordable to the beginner whilst being sufficiently unexpected in many of its conjections to engage the specialist'. Theatre Research International
'In this excellent history of British theatre from Roman drama to contemporary stand-up comedy, Simon Trussler shows that the intrigues, prohibitions and shady entrepreneurship so wittily realised in the film Shakespeare in Love informed every phase of theatre's development ... This is a passionately written work full of drama and incident.' Saturday Extra (Australia)