Culture in Great Britain
It you're staying in London for a few days, you'll have no difficulty
whatever in finding somewhere to spend an enjoyable evening. You'll find
opera, ballet, comedy, drama, review, musical comedy and variety. Most
theatres and music-halls have good orchestras with popular conductors.
At the West-End theatres you can see most of the famous English actors
and actresses. As a rule, the plays are magnificently staged - costumes,
dresses, scenery, everything being done on the most lavish scale.
The last half of the XVI and the beginning of the XVII centuries are
known as the golden age of English literature, It was the time of the
English Renaissance, and sometimes it is even called "the age of
Shakespeare, the greatest and most famous of English writers, and
probably the greatest playwright who has ever lived, was born in
Stratford-on-Avon. In spite of his fame we know very little about his
life. He wrote 37 plays. Among them there are deep tragedies, such as
Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, light comedies, such as The Merry
Wives of Windsor, All's Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, Much Ado
English culture tends to dominate the formal cultural life of the United
Kingdom, but Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have also made
important contributions, as have the cultures that British colonialism
brought into contact with the homeland. Scotland, Wales, and Northern
Ireland share fully in the common culture but also preserve lively
traditions that predate political union with England.
Widespread changes in the United Kingdom's cultural life occurred after
1945. The most remarkable was perhaps the emergence first of Liverpool
and then of London in the 1960s as a world centre of popular culture.
The Beatles were only the first and best-known of the many British rock
groups to win a world following. British clothing designers for a time
led the world as innovators of new styles of dress for both men and
women, and the brightly coloured outfits sold in London's Carnaby Street
and King's Road shops briefly became more symbolic of Britain than the
traditionally staid tailoring of Savile Row.
Underlying both this development and a similar if less-remarked renewal
of vigour in more traditional fields were several important social
developments in the decades after World War II. Most evident was the
rising standard of education. The number of pupils going on to higher
education increased dramatically after World War II and was matched by a
major expansion in the number of universities and other institutions of
higher education. In society in general there was a marked increase in
leisure. Furthermore, immigration, particularly from the West Indies and
South Asia, introduced new cultural currents to the United Kingdom and
contributed to innovation in music, film, literature, and other arts.
The United Kingdom's cultural traditions are reflective of the country's
heterogeneity and its central importance in world affairs over the past
0