Theatre a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance. Elements of design and stagecraft are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience. The specific place of the performance is also named by the word "theatre" as derived from the Ancient Greek, théatron, “a place for viewing” and theáomai, “to see", "to watch", "to observe”. Modern Western theatre derives in large measure from ancient Greek drama, from which it borrows technical terminology, classification into genres, and many of its themes, stock characters, and plot elements. Theatre today includes performances of plays and musicals.
The history of theatre charts the development of theatre over the past 2,500 years. Theatre probably arose as a performance of ritual activities that did not require initiation on the part of the spectator. This similarity of early theatre to ritual is negatively attested by Aristotle. In his Poetics he defined theatre in contrast to the performances of sacred mysteries. But it resembled sacred mysteries in the sense that it brought purification and healing to spectators by means the vision, theama. The physical location of such performances was accordingly named theatron. According to the historians Oscar Brockett and Franklin Hildy, rituals typically include elements that entertain or give pleasure, such as costumes and masks as well as skilled performers. As societies grew more complex, these spectacular elements began to be acted out under non-ritualistic conditions. As this occurred, the first steps towards theatre as an autonomous activity were being taken.
Greek theatre is the root of the Western theatre tradition. It was part of a broader culture of theatricality and performance in classical...
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