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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

How did the relation between Christianity and drama evolve during the long nineteenth century? How were Christian beliefs represented, promoted, and interrogated through drama? What part did Christianity play in the changing kinds, spaces, and genres of theatre? This chapter analyses the creation, production, and reception of a range of dramatic forms, including melodramas, musicals, ‘classics’, comedies, and tragedies, as well as explicitly religious, and later in the nineteenth century, cinematic dramas. Plays by George Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, and Henrik Ibsen are scrutinized alongside early silent films and the evolving passion and religious plays tradition. The chapter teases out a number of underlying tensions relating to the place of Christianity within popular and respectable theatre, romantic and realistic drama, and theatrical and screen drama. The chapter highlights how Christian beliefs were creatively used by playwrights, actors, and theatre-goers, in theatrical, domestic, and public spaces.

Keywords: drama, theatre, arts, performance, theology, nineteenth century, Christianity, stage

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