The growth of Drama
The spectacular rise of Drama as the most popular literary form in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods dependedn largely upon the social success of the theatre.
From the earliest period of English literature, through the Middle Ages and into the Early Tudor period, popular drama had developed gradually from an elaboration of the Catholic Mass, out of the church and into the streets, where the pageant was pulled around the town or village, into a secular and popular form of entertainment. As plays became less religious and more secular, professional dramatic companies, which took over from the traditional Guilds were estabilished to perform them.
With the birth of the dramatic company, or group of travelling players, the idea of the professional actor developed.
Instead of numbers of the clergy or the general public reading parts, the dramatic company acted the parts in a more skilled and professional way.
These companies toured the country with a selection of plays, fabliaux, interludes and farces, shopping at local inns or country houses to perform.
According to the Vagabond Act of 1572, travelling players and dramatic companies were outlawed and classed as vagabonds.
As a result, they relied heaviky on aristocratic patron age in order to continue their profession.