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This Introduction - an indispensable 'how to' guide for students and teachers alike - investigates the methods and aims of historical study in the performing arts, from archival research to historical writing. Beginning with case studies on Shakespearean theatre and avant-garde theatre, this study examines fundamental procedures and problems in documentary history and cultural history. It demonstrates how historians not only construct various kinds of performance events but also place them in relation to the historical agents, the political and social conditions, artistic traditions, audience responses, and historical periods. Drawing upon scholarship in classics, literary studies, art history, performance studies, and general history, Postlewait shows how to ask appropriate historical questions, construct evidence, use plays as historical documents, eliminate faulty sources, challenge unreliable witnesses, and develop historical arguments and narratives. The book concludes with a survey of the 'twelve cruxes' of research, analysis, and writing in theatre history.