Popular Theatre in Early Modern England, Germany and Italy (1570–1640)

A Study in Incultural Theatricality with an Analysis of ‘Engelische Comedien und Tragedien’ (1620)

This study explores the influence of English and Italian itinerant companies on early modern German theatre. A central aspect that mediated this intercultural adaptation is ‘popular culture’, i.e. a network of shared knowledge, which was successfully employed by the English Comedians to meet and shape the taste of their audiences.

The analysis of the first and most important collection of playtexts attributed to them, “Engelische Comedien und Tragedien” (1620), according to four parameters (‘Memorialisation’, ‘Hybridisation’, ‘Adaptation’,’ Visualisation’) shows clear influences both from Elizabethan drama and Commedia dell’Arte and offers an innovative transversal perspective on the development of early modern popular theatre in Germany and Austria as a product of intercultural theatricality.