On This Day
1642 – England’s Parliament bans public stage-plays.
In September 1642, just after the First English Civil War had begun, the Long Parliament ordered the closure of all London theatres. The order cited the current “times of humiliation” and their incompatibility with “public stage-plays”, representative of “lascivious Mirth and Levity”. The ban, which was not completely effective, was reinforced by an Act of 11 February 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War. It provided for the treatment of actors as rogues, the demolition of theatre seating, and fines for spectators.
On 24 January 1643, the actors pleaded with parliament to reopen the theatres by writing “The Actors remonstrance or complaint for the silencing of their profession, and banishment from their severall play-houses”, in which they state, “wee have purged our stages of all obscene and scurrilous jests.”
In 1660, after the English Restoration brought King Charles II to effective power in England, the theatrical ban was lifted. Under a new licensing system, two London theatres with royal patents were opened: the King’s Company and the Duke’s Company.
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Born On This Day
1857 – Zelia Nuttall, American archeologist and historian (d. 1933)
Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall (6 September 1857, San Francisco – 12 April 1933, Coyoacán, Mexico) was an American archaeologist and anthropologist specialised in pre-Aztec Mexican cultures and pre-Columbian manuscripts. She discovered two forgotten manuscripts of this type in private collections, one of them being the Codex Zouche-Nuttall. She was one of the first to identify and recognise artefacts dating back to the pre-Aztec period.
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