Below is the first episode of HistoriCal Outreach.
In it, we discuss the ways that religion and theater supported each other and came into conflict in Geneva, Switzerland and Edinburgh, Scotland in the 1700s. In particular, Ashley shows us how government ties to the Calvinist faith caused some preachers to embrace the theater as a valuable tool to teach about God and entertain and uplift the masses, while others saw them as "seminaries of all wickednesse," a "superfluous pleasure" and an "abomination." We discuss how these attitudes changed over time, and how life in Edinburgh and Geneva changed as theater became an art form popular with both the everyday citizen and elite gentleman.
Ashley Leyba is seventh-year graduate student at Cal who studies early modern European history. Her dissertation uses debates about the morality of the theatre to examine religious change in eighteenth-century Edinburgh and Geneva.
Interviewer: Douglas O'Reagan