All the world is a stage, Shakespeare tells us, and we are all its players. In fact, since the dawn of human history, we find evidence of theatre and performance. And throughout that history, this unique art form has flourished. In this engaging series of lectures, theatre historian, Megan Lewis takes listeners on a journey from the ancient world of the Greeks and Romans to the modern era as she explores how theatre - a live event that synthesizes many other art forms and disciples in a collaborative process of storytelling - entertains, educates, and inspires us, as well as helps build community and reflect society. Dr. Lewis begins by mapping the ancient origins of performance, as a communal storytelling and mythmaking endeavor, while she discusses the traditional birthplace of theatre in ancient Greece as well as its African predecessors. Subsequent lectures explore the classical origins of theatre in the West; the Roman Theatre; theatre in the medieval world; the national theatres of Shakespeare and Lope de Vega; the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Restoration periods; as well as non-Western performance traditions in Asia, Africa, and India. In addition, physical theatres such as the Italian Commedia dell'arte and Japanese Bunraku puppetry are examined. Covering performances that make-believe and those that make belief , Professor Lewis also passionately discusses the art, politics and meaning of theatre and how it offers humans a space in which to imagine new realities and suggest different possibilitiesor to incite action and bring about social change.