© 2019

Mapping Global Theatre Histories


About this book


This textbook provides a global, chronological mapping of significant areas of theatre, sketched from its deepest history in the evolution of our brain's 'inner theatre' to ancient, medieval, modern, and postmodern developments. It considers prehistoric cave art and built temples, African trance dances, ancient Egyptian and Middle-Eastern ritual dramas, Greek and Roman theatres, Asian dance-dramas and puppetry, medieval European performances, global indigenous rituals, early modern to postmodern Euro-American developments, worldwide postcolonial theatres, and the hyper-theatricality of today's mass and social media. Timelines and numbered paragraphs form an overall outline with distilled details of what students can learn, encouraging further explorations online and in the library. Questions suggest how students might reflect on present parallels, making their own maps of global theatre histories, regarding geo-political theatrics in the media, our performances in everyday life, and the theatres inside our brains.


Performance Studies Drama Greco-Roman Cave Theatre African Theatre Middle Eastern Theatre Asian Theatre Medieval Theatre Renaissance Early Modern Restoration Baroque Romanticism Minstrelsy Melodrama Realism Euro-American Postmodern Colonial Postcolonial

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of TheatreUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

About the authors

Mark Pizzato teaches theatre history, drama, and film at UNC-Charlotte, USA. His books include Edges of Loss (1998), Theatres of Human Sacrifice (2005), Ghosts of Theatre and Cinema in the Brain (2006), Inner Theatres of Good and Evil (2011), and Beast-People Onscreen and in Your Brain (2016).


Bibliographic information


“Start an incredible journey through "the undiscovered country" (as Hamlet says) of global theatre with the most competent and knowledgeable guide, Dr. Mark Pizzato. He'll rediscover many centuries of culture, leading us to theatres both known and not well known, or even unknown by others. This excellent book, full of details, is a must read for all theatre people and a must use for all teachers of theatre.” (Kazimierz Braun, Polish and American theatre director, dramatist, and theatre historian)

“From its fascinating exploration of prehistoric mimetic human expression to its provocative considerations of twenty-first century “acts” of terror, Mark Pizzato’s Mapping Global Theatre Histories offers a remarkably original and interdisciplinary approach to understanding theatrical performance throughout human history. Its innovative structure encourages trans-historical and cross-cultural thinking and is likely to inspire the creation of new or significantly revised methods of teaching theatre history.” (Cheryl Black, Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair in Fine and Performing Arts, University of Missouri, USA)

“A terrific book. Start with the title: “Mapping” promises active exploration, modeling how historians work. The lively writing fulfills that promise, joining the what of history to the how and why. Generously expansive, Mapping Global Theatre Histories combines genuinely world-wide coverage, thought-provoking contemporary references, and stimulating insights from science, teasing out the theatricality embedded in human evolution and the brain’s neural networks.” (David Carlyon, independent scholar and award-winning author of Dan Rice: The Most Famous Man You’ve Never Heard Of and Education of a Circus Clown: Mentors, Audiences, Mistakes)

“Dr. Mark Pizzato’s Mapping Global Theatre Histories is a comprehensive and deeply researched text on the subject of World Theatre History. Students and researchers will find the work exceptional in its accessibility and depth. The text covers a wide-range of topics from pre-history to the postcolonial that cross cultures, identities and strategies of analysis. The work will be a welcomed addition to any library of theatre and performance studies.” (Matthew Causey, Professor in Drama and Head of the School of Creative Arts, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland)

“Fresh and accessible yet rigorous and thorough, Mapping Global Theatre Histories offers an exciting resource for teaching theatre and performance studies.” (Sara Brady, Associate Professor, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York, USA, and Managing Editor of TDR: The Drama Review)

“As a student in the 80s, I was raised on “Brockett” and now use that text in my classroom; however, conversations have shifted to focus more on the cultural and political forces that constitute the theatre of its day. With Mapping Global Theatre Histories, Mark Pizzato expands the context of theatre history, including chapters on cognitive science, Middle Eastern and African rituals and other indigenous performance forms to international Post-Modernist trends. Pizzato's text offers a broader geographic and intellectual framework than earlier texts in a context that is new and ambitious.” (Felicia J. Ruff, Department Chair and Professor of Theatre at Wagner College, USA)

“Pizzato’s unique format offers experienced theatre history teachers the opportunity to use the text to support their own lectures, rather than having to tailor their lectures to fit a text. Overall, the text serves as a resource of theatrical events and personages, allowing faculty and students to create their own narrative.” (Susan Kattwinkel, Associate Professor of Theatre, College of Charleston, USA, and teacher of theatre history for 20 years)