Folk Drama

folk drama, noncommercial, generally rural theater and pageantry based on folk traditions and local history. This form of drama, common throughout the world, declined in popularity in the West (although not in Asia) with the advent of printing, general literacy, and the increasing emphasis on the individual contribution to the drama of playwright, director, and actors. The mid-19th cent. witnessed a revival of folk drama in the United States and parts of Western Europe. Some of the major figures responsible for this resurgent interest were the Americans Percy McKaye and Paul Green, the Englishman Louis N. Parker, and the French actor-manager and poet Maurice Pottecher. American universities, including North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State Univ.) and the universities of North Carolina and Wisconsin, sponsored much experimental work in producing regional history plays. One yearly drama presented outside the university environment is the Trail of Tears history play performed by Native North Americans of Cherokee, N.C.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Rethinking Folk Drama
Steve Tillis.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Folklore in America: Tales, Songs, Superstitions, Proverbs, Riddles, Games, Folk Drama and Folk Festivals
Tristram P. Coffin; Hennig Cohen.
Anchor Books, 1970
Seasonal Feasts and Festivals
E. O. James.
Barnes & Noble, 1963
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IX "Folk Drama, Dances, and Festivals"
Aliens, Ghosts, and Cults: Legends We Live
Bill Ellis.
University Press of Mississippi, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Ostension as Folk Drama"
A Companion to the Medieval Theatre
Ronald W. Vince.
Greenwood Press, 1989
Librarian’s tip: "Folk Drama" begins on p. 126
American Folk Plays
Frederick H. Koch; Archibald Henderson.
D. Appleton-Century Company, 1939
Librarian’s tip: Includes actual examples of folk plays
The English Folk-Play
E. K. Chambers.
Clarendon Press, 1933
Carolina Folk-Plays
Frederick H. Koch.
Henry Holt, 1941
Galoshins: The Scottish Folk Play
Brian Hayward.
Edinburgh University Press, 1992
Nomai Dance Drama: A Surviving Spirit of Medieval Japan
Susan M. Asai.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Shugendo Religion and Folk Dance Drama: Religious Antecedents"
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