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Portal:Theatre

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New York State Theater
Theatre (Greek "theatron"), enjoys the distinction of two spellings: in British English, "theatre" and in American English, "theater". There is no technical distinction between the meanings of the two spellings, however most theatre artists prefer the English spelling because it creates a historical nod to the ancient Greek term theatron. Some also use the American spelling to designate a theatre building and the English term to reference the art itself, as in the "art of theatre."

Theatre is that branch of the performing arts concerned with the creation of stories or narratives for (or with) an audience using combinations of acting, speech, gesture, music, dance, object manipulation, sound and spectacle — indeed, any one or more elements of the other performing arts. In addition to standard narrative dialogue style, theatre takes such forms as opera, musicals, ballet, mime, kabuki, classical Indian dance, Chinese opera, mummers' plays, improvisation, story theater and pantomime.

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The interior of the third and largest theatre to stand at Drury Lane, c. 1808
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is a theatre in the Covent Garden district of London, facing Catherine Street and backing onto Drury Lane. The building standing today is the most recent in a line of four theatres at the same location dating back to 1663. For its first two centuries, Drury Lane could "reasonably have claimed to be London's leading theatre" and thus one of the most important theatres in the English-speaking world. Through most of that time, it was one of a small handful of patent theatres that were granted monopoly rights to the production of "legitimate" drama in London. The first theatre on the location was built on behest of Thomas Killigrew in the early years of the English Restoration. The building that stands today opened in 1812. It has been home to actors as diverse as Shakespearean Edmund Kean, comedian Dan Leno, and musical composer and performer Ivor Novello. Today, the theatre is owned by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and generally stages popular musical theatre. It is a Grade I listed building.

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Blackface
Credit: Strobridge Litho. Co.

A lithograph for "William H. West's Big Minstrel Jubilee" from 1900, showing the blackface transformation of Billy Van, "the Monologue Comedian". Originating in the United States, blackface theatrical makeup was used to take on the appearance of an archetype of American racism—that of the darky or coon.

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Comédie-Française in the 18th century

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John Vanbrugh in Godfrey Kneller's Kit-cat portrait
Sir John Vanbrugh was an English architect and dramatist, best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace. He wrote two argumentative and outspoken Restoration comedies, The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697), which have become enduring stage favourites but originally occasioned much controversy. Vanbrugh was in many senses a radical throughout his life. As a young man and a committed Whig, he was part of the scheme to overthrow James II, put William III on the throne and protect English parliamentary democracy, dangerous undertakings which landed him in the dreaded Bastille of Paris as a political prisoner. In his career as a playwright, he offended many sections of Restoration and 18th-century society, not only by the sexual explicitness of his plays, but by their messages in defence of women's rights in marriage. His architectural work was as bold and daring as his early political activism and his marriage-themed plays, and jarred conservative opinions on the subject.

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Florence Perry

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George Bernard Shaw
In order to fully realize how bad a popular play can be, it is necessary to see it twice.
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Theatre

History: Sanskrit PlaysNatya ShastraNatya Shastra of BharataKoodiyattamBhasaKālidāsaKathakaliBhavabhutiHarshaChinese theatreCantonese OperaBeijing OperaRamakienNohBunrakuKabukiButohTheatre of Ancient GreeceTheatre of ancient RomeMedieval theatreCommedia dell'ArteEnglish Renaissance theatreRestoration comedyRestoration spectacularNeoclassicismTwentieth century theatre

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Types: ComedyDramaMusical theatreHip-Hop theater

Philosophy: AristotlePoeticsKonstantin StanislavskiAntonin ArtaudBertolt BrechtOrson WellesPeter BrookJerzy GrotowskiMeisner techniqueStanislavsky SystemMethod actingPresentational acting

Organization: Community theatreDinner theatreFringe theatreSummer stock theatreRegional theatreOff-Off-BroadwayOff-BroadwayOff West EndBroadway theatreWest End theatre

Unions: Actors' Equity AssociationSociety of Stage Directors and ChoreographersInternational Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees

Awards: Back Stage West Garland AwardsDrama Desk AwardEvening Standard AwardsGreen Room AwardHans-Reinhart-RingHelpmann AwardJoseph Jefferson AwardLaurence Olivier AwardsLondon Critics' Circle Theatre AwardsLucille Lortel AwardManchester Evening NewsMatilda AwardNew York Innovative Theatre AwardsMolière AwardObie AwardOvation AwardsSangeet Natak Academy AwardTheatre Pasta Theatre AwardsTony Award

Stagecraft: Theatre directorPlaywrightActorProduction teamSet designerLighting designerCostume designerSound designDramaturgStage managementProduction managerTechnical theatre

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