chapter  5
Playing in northern Europe: setting the stage for the Low Countries
ByElsa Strietman
Pages 16

All of this chapter is based on other people’s work with brief intermezzi of my own contributions; after all, if you have existing riches, would it not be folly to discard them and start learning your lines from the beginning? In what follows, I shall give an overview of the Rhetoricians drama of the Low Countries with a wide contextualising background and zoom in close on individual examples of genres, modes of staging, occasions for drama and theatricality, performance culture(s), patrons, agents, actors and audience, using as illustrating material a very few of the c. 600 plays which are still extant, many still in manuscript, some in contemporary printed form, quite a number in modern editions, i.e. dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and a very respectable number in the twenty-first century. Students and scholars familiar chiefly with the English tradition will find that this material, arguably the “gold standard” of late medieval civic drama, will suggest new ways of reading texts and contexts, as well as numerous opportunities for comparative study. A number of recent editions are available (Hüsken 2005; Hollaar; Dreef; Davidson et al. ; Ryckaert), and a number of translations into English, with the original text included, have been published by Strietman and Happé (2006; 2013; 2015).