Throughout history, great theatre has often been closely associated with great cities. One immediately thinks of fifth-century BCE Athens and the theatre of Sophocles and Euripides, Elizabethan London and Shakespeare and Marlow. Indeed, at certain historical moments great cities have used the theatre as a central institution to embody and express the vitality, creativity, and empowerment of their thriving civic culture. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, this course will investigate the symbiotic relationship between the theatre and other forms of public performance (civic ceremonies, pageants) and the urban centers in both Europe and Asia that cultivated them. In addition to examining plays, theatre architecture, scenic practices and acting styles, this course will draw on research into the social and political history of urban life, the rise of market economies and a sophisticated theatre audience, and, where appropriate, the life of other arts such as painting, sculpture, and urban architecture.