Music & Theatre: the Picture Emerging as I Research Gloriana
Hello everyone. I hope everyone is finally getting some warmth and beautiful spring weather. I know it’s been a while since I wrote more personally and especially since I wrote anything about history, my life-long passion.
As I research “Journey to Gloriana” about the life of Queen Elizabeth I and “Mary Queen of the Scots” I have found some intriguing information about music and theatre that I would like to share today. The information I found was not in some aggressive search nor acquired by consulting experts (for which I am known), but almost by “accident” if there is such a thing as I seek to discover who Elizabeth I and Mary of Scotland really were.
Here is the picture emerging before me:
Music, theatre, and dance originally served as key conduits for communicating the culture, religion, and especially history of ancient societies.
As Christianity spread into Europe, secular music, theatre, and dance yielded to church-controlled forms. The performing arts became the domain of Roman Catholicism to be used for its particular religious and political agendas.
The English Renaissance and the reign of Queen Elizabeth I saw church controls over music, dance, and especially theatre break down. This brought a surge of secular music (especially for dancing) and construction of the first theatres (starting in the 1570s) in London such as The Globe.
The Rolling Stones Now tribute band to the Rolling Stones perform in England.
We all take it for granted that music, dance, and theatre exists outside of the Church. But the reality is that for many centuries, these were essentially forbidden. We owe it to Queen Elizabeth I’s own love of secular music, theatre, and dance for the wealth of choices and freedoms we have today. No longer does religion define and limit how we express ourselves culturally. We can write, perform, and enjoy a limitless number of songs, dances, plays, and films of our own free choosing.
Though the Church may always wish to control the message (that has not changed in nearly 2000 years), I find it a great blessing to live in a free society where free expression in the performing arts reigns supreme, where each of us can enjoy whatever we like whenever we like.
May we always safeguard and protect that freedom whenever in the world we live.