Theatrical figures


  • Intro

    During the Puritan period, play houses were closed down - the Puritans believed theatre to be sinful. So actors developed other, shorter means of entertainment such as dances or comedies which were performed, sometimes illegally, on improvised stages. A droll was a short theatrical scene, usually comic, taken and adapted from existing popular plays. Francis Kirkman’s collection of drolls, shown here, includes aspects of some of the most popular pieces of 17th century contemporary theatre, written by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. This is an illustration of a droll from Francis Kirkman’s collection entitled The Wits, or Sport upon Sport (first published in 1662), which included 26 such pieces including the grave-diggers’ scene from Hamlet.


    Shelfmark: C.71.h.23

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