Yes, in many ways it’s really silly to section off units of time by kings and queens – we didn’t do it for the earlier lists, so why start now? Well, because with the Tudors it sort of works, where as with earlier monarchs it was untidy. And the interlude drama of the period is produced by wealthy (mostly) men of the court or wannabes to it, so the interests of the monarch does matter. That’s our argument and we’ll desert it at a moments notice.
Additionally, to balance this list, remember that at the same time as the plays below are occurring, all over the land Biblical drama is playing to considerably greater numbers of participants and to far wider audiences. Many of these plays are, in a sense, quite unimportant – or would be, if it weren’t for printing. Most of these plays survive because they were printed. The hinterland of drama has started to expand beyond the memory of performance.
Fulgens and Lucrece by Henry Medwall – Medwall produced two surviving plays, of which this is the most famous. It is rather glorious.
Nature by Henry Medwall – the second of his two known plays, a morality play that is rather well put together. Exploring session available.
Ashmole Fragment – super short bit of what’s probably a mystery drama of some sort. Difficult to tell.
The World and the Child or Mundus et Infans – printed in 1522, but probably existed long before in some form, though it’s impossible to date properly, so we’ve put it here. It’s a morality tale that could be performed with a scratch cast of two at your most frugal (though we wouldn’t go for less than three ourselves). Multiple Exploring sessions available via this playlist – including a detailed Second Look performance on YouTube.
Also on the podcast our initial audio exploring session.
The Summoning of Everyman – everybody’s favourite outlier. A translation of a Dutch play, translated into English. There are dozens of versions of this out there. We produced a one man version many years ago and there are snippets on the podcast. But there is also this exploring session available.
NB: You’ll have noticed that this short list features a couple of ‘morality’ plays, as did the previous list. There’s a fantastic discussion about morality plays with Dr. Matthew Sergi on the Theatre History podcast, which you can hear, here – https://howlround.com/theatre-history-podcast-39
The Conversion of St Paul – it’s a little difficult to place this play as there’s evidence of an ongoing performance history over time – undergoing some rewrites. Exploring session available on YouTube.
More drama, a lot more drama, happens and survives in the next list, all during the uneventful life of Henry VIII. Possibly things from this list were performed then too. They were out in print, so maybe were being read.