Little is known about theatre in the West from the 6th through the 10th century ce. By the end of the 12th century, it was being performed in found spaces such as village greens, churches, churchyards, halls, and the ruins of Roman amphitheatres. Found spaces were used much as flexible theatres are today in that they could be configured as arena theatres, as any variety of thrust stage theatre, as end stage theatres, or even as surround stage or promenade spaces. The only form that is not found in the Middle Ages is the proscenium theatre. By the late Middle Ages, temporary theatres were also being constructed in market squares, at stations along streets, and in open areas in or just outside cities. What made medieval theatre so adaptable was multiple setting (décor simultané), a staging technique that used localized scenic structures (mansions, or houses) and a generalized stage area. Individual mansions represented a location required for a performance, from “heaven” to “Jerusalem” to “hell.” These could be arranged in any configuration, from straight lines to circles to a number of other shapes, or they could be put on wagons and moved from one location to another. The only requirement was that the mansions face an open stage, or “place,” which then took on the identity of whatever mansion was in use. When characters entered from the Garden of Eden mansions, for instance, the entire stage became the Garden of Eden, and all other mansions in view of the audience were ignored.
A typical Medieval Theatre Stage
Brent Eleigh church, England