Bate, Toni (2016) From Morality Play to Court Masque: A Study of Allegorical Performance Costume from Medieval Religious Dramas to Secular Theatre of the 17th Century. In: Out of the Dark and into the Light? Dress in the Early Modern Period and the Age of Enlightenment, 1400–1800, 05.11.16, The Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, London. (Unpublished)

This paper will explore the development of theatrical costume from the religious mystery and morality plays of the Middle Ages to the secular court masque performances of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. With an emphasis on colour, decoration, symbolism and allegory, the progression from ecclesiastical stoles and simple colour association to highly decorative and extravagant costumes will be analysed.
Used to convey a moral or political message, these performances and their costumes epitomised the occupation with allegory at this time and provide examples of the obvious one dimensional characterisation prevalent in early European theatre.
This examination will demonstrate how religious and secular theatre of this time, often compartmentalised in historical dress and costume literature, were interconnected and inextricably linked in terms of their performance costume.

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