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Commedia dell’Arte

The Commedia dell’Arte is the earliest example of professional secular theatre in Europe characterised by improvised dialogue, the use of leather half-masks and ‘stock character’ types. Italian in origin it soon traversed much of Europe influencing the development of theatre. The plays were drawn from ‘the private sphere of human life’, therefore universal in their details: the realities of making one’s way in the world, negotiating one’s position in the social hierarchy, attempting to fulfil desires and to strive for contentment have not changed over the millennia.

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