The Restoration Theater: From Tennis Court to Playhouse
During the English Civil War, London’s theaters were closed by Parliament, and many were destroyed by Cromwell. During the Restoration, new playhouses, built to stage the probing social comedies of the era, were shaped by changes in English drama, politics, and society. We learn how the Parisian tennis court theaters, attended by the court in exile of Charles II, influenced the new London theaters, particularly Christopher Wren’s Theatre Royal. Other Restoration design solutions, some baroque and some neoclassical, were responses to changes in British drama and society. Advanced computer graphics illustrate important theater features throughout the documentary. The program shows how Wren’s work influenced Georgian playhouses and is once again inspiring modern theater design.