History of entertainment
People probably started entertaining themselves by telling stories around a fire in prehistoric times, and storytelling has been an important part of most forms of entertainment ever since. Stories are still told in this original form, for example while camping or when listening to the stories of another culture as a tourist. Entertainment is provided for mass audiences in purpose-built structures such as a theatre, auditorium or stadium. One of the most famous venues is the Colosseum where spectacles, competitions, races and sports were presented as public entertainment. Relatively minor changes to the form and venue of an entertainment continue to come and go as they are affected by the period, fashion, culture, technology and economics. For example, a story told in dramatic form might be presented in an open-air theatre, a music hall, a movie theatre, a multiplex, or via a personal electronic device such as a tablet computer. Some forms become controversial and are eventually prohibited. Hunting wild animals is still regarded by some as entertainment but as with other forms of animal entertainment (see below) it has become more controversial. Hunting wild animals, as a form of public entertainment and spectacle, was introduced into the Roman Empire from Carthage. Some forms of entertainment, especially music and drama, have developed into numerous variations of form to suit a very wide range of personal preferences and cultural expression. Many forms are blended or supported by other forms. For example, drama and stories use music as enhancement. Sport and games are incorporated into other forms to increase appeal. Commonly, entertainmen
evolves from serious or necessary activities (such as running and jumping) into competition and then into entertainment. Gladiatorial combats, also known as "gladiatorial games", popular during Roman times, provide a good example of an activity that is a combination of sport, punishment and entertainment. Such examples of violent entertainment have supported arguments that contemporary entertainment is less brutal than it was in the past, in spite of the ubiquity of violence in the more sophisticated technology used by modern media as a medium for entertainment. Many of these once necessary skills, such as perhaps pole vaulting, need equipment, which has become increasingly sophisticated. Other activities, such as walking on stilts, are still seen in circus performances in the 21st century. Entertainment can change in response to cultural or historical shifts. For example, entertainment evolved into different forms and expressions as a result of World War I, the Great Depression and the Russian revolution. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Revolutionary opera was sanctioned by the Communist party. Music hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. It involved a mixture of popular song, comedy, speciality acts and variety entertainment. The term is derived from a type of theatre or venue in which such entertainment took place. British music hall was similar to American vaudeville, featuring rousing songs and comic acts, while in the United Kingdom the term vaudeville referred to more working-class types of entertainment that would have been termed burlesque in America.