The Restoration in England
Before 1642 – the royalty supported the theatre.
In 1642, a civil war – the Puritan Revolution. Charles I was beheaded and the country’s leadership taken over by Oliver Cromwell (the Lord Protectorate – the only time in British history that England was not run by a monarch ??).
From 1642 - 1660, called "the interregnum." Theatre was outlawed; it was connected with the monarchy and with "immoral," non-Puritan values.
Music, however, was allowed, and William Davanant (a writer of masques) produced some operas with Italianate stagings (with perhaps some illegal performances).
The monarchy was restored in 1660. Charles I’s son, Charles II, restored to the throne. He had been in France during the Interregnum, in the court of Louis XIV, who loved theatre. Charles II helped bring Italianate and French styles and staging to England.
The Drury Lane and Covent Gardens became the first theatres officially licensed during this period.
The type of theatre brought back resulted in a sort of protest against the Puritan ideal, and was designed primarily for the aristocracy. And then this form of theatre was in turn rebelled against.
With the Restoration in 1660, the London theatre scene, which had been discouraged if not actually suppressed during the Interregnum, became once again an important component of literary life in the capital. The new King was an enthusiastic patron of drama, and he – and many of his court – were eager to introduce onto English stages many of the innovations to which they had been exposed during exile on the Continent. There was little delay, then, in issuing two patents for new theatre companies, the Duke's Company and the King's Company, to Sir William Davenant and Thomas Killigrew respectively.
Two important challenges faced the new patentees, however. Firstly, the old Jacobean theatres, closed down in 1642 and unused for nearly two decades, were in a state of terrible disrepair and no longer fit for use. Secondly, both patentees needed to find venues that would allow them to introduce the new Continental style of theatre, utilizing stages with proscenium…