It is not known for certain when the theater was founded. Prehistoric hunters acted out stories of their exploits, the ancient Egyptians performed theatrical religious ceremonies, but the idea of theater as entertainment and art came later.
The first European theatrical performances appeared in the 6th century BC. from religious festivals dedicated to the god of wine and fertility Dionysus. The actors used masks to show the emotions of the characters, as well as to make it clear to the audience of what gender and age the character entered the stage. The millennial tradition that forbade women to play on stage originated precisely in the ancient Greek theater.
The first actor is considered the Greek Thesipus, who won the poetry competition in honor of Dionysus.
In the 3rd century BC. the Romans, inspired by Greek theater, created their own versions of ancient Greek plays and began to stage them on improvised stages. Slaves acted as actors in such performances. Women were only allowed to play secondary roles. As Roman theaters had to compete for the attention of audiences accustomed to gladiatorial combat, public executions and chariot races, plays increasingly featured violent scenes and crude humor. With the spread of Christianity, such notions came to an end.
The emergence of the theater of the Middle Ages
Although theatrical performances were considered sinful in medieval Europe, theatrical traditions developed. Minstrels invented and performed ballads, puppeteers, acrobats and storytellers performed at fairs. During the Easter service, the priests acted out mysteries - theatrical stories that allow illiterate people to understand the meaning of what is happening.
Later, the mysteries began to be played during other religious holidays, presenting various biblical stories.
During the Renaissance (XIV-XVII centuries), an interest arose in the revival of the classical Greek and Roman theater. At the junction of the traditions of ancient and medieval theater, secular theatrical performances arose, the Comedy del Arte appeared - an impromptu show created by several masked actors. In these plays, for the first time since Roman times, women were allowed to return to the stage.
In 1576, the first theater building was built in London, before that all plays were played in hotels, on the fairgrounds or in the middle of halls in castles and noble houses. The English Queen Elizabeth I patronized theatrical art, in the era that bears her name, the first professional playwrights appeared, the most famous of which is the great Shakespeare, actors, the tradition of using props and changing costumes during performances. The final classical theater was formed by the middle of the 18th century.