In September 1642, just after the First English Civil War had begun, the Long Parliament ordered the closure of all London theatres. The order cited the current "times of humiliation" and their incompatibility with "public stage-plays", representative of "lascivious Mirth and Levity". The ban, which was not completely effective, was reinforced by an Act of 11 February 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War. It provided for the treatment of actors as rogues, the demolition of theatre seating, and fines for spectators.
On 24 January 1643, the actors pleaded with parliament to reopen the theatres by writing "The Actors remonstrance or complaint for the silencing of their profession, and banishment from their severall play-houses", in which they state, "wee have purged our stages of all obscene and scurrilous jests."
In 1660, after the English Restoration brought King Charles II to effective power in England, the theatrical ban was lifted. Under a new licensing system, two London theatres with royal patents were opened: the King's Company and the Duke's Company.
- King's Men § Aftermath for the history of one company affected by the prohibition
- William Robbins (actor) an actor who lost his living, and fought and died for the Royalist cause.
- Antitheatricality 16th and 17th century
- The Cambridge History of British Theatre from Roman colony origins through the twentieth century.
- Jane Milling; Peter Thomson (23 November 2004). The Cambridge History of British Theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 439. ISBN 978-0-521-65040-3.
- Jane Milling; Peter Thomson (23 November 2004). The Cambridge History of British Theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 459. ISBN 978-0-521-65040-3.
- "The Actors remonstrance or complaint for the silencing for their profession, and banishment from their severall play-houses". Eighteenth Century Collections Online. January 24, 1643.
- Brian Corman (21 January 2013). The Broadview Anthology of Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Comedy. Broadview Press. p. ix. ISBN 978-1-77048-299-9.