In Wales, all pupils at state schools must either by taught through the medium of Welsh or study it as an additional language until aged 16, and the Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998 provide that the Welsh and English languages should be treated equally in the public sector, so far as is reasonable and practicable.Irish and Ulster Scots enjoy limited use alongside English in Northern Ireland, mainly in publicly commissioned translations.Other globally well-known British novelists include; George Orwell, C. Lewis, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, H. At the same time, there was a burgeoning theatre sector featuring a diet of low melodrama and musical burlesque; but critics described British theatre as driven by commercialism and a 'star' system.A change came in the late 19th century with the plays on the London stage by the Irishmen George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, who influenced domestic English drama and vitalised it again.The poetry of the time was highly formal, as exemplified by the works of Alexander Pope and the English novel became popular, with Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Henry Fielding's Tom Jones and Samuel Richardson's Pamela.From the late 18th century, the Romantic period showed a flowering of poetry comparable with the Renaissance two hundred years earlier and a revival of interest in vernacular literature.In the 19th century, major poets in English literature included William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alfred Lord Tennyson, John Keats, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron. From its formation in 1707, the United Kingdom has had a vibrant tradition of theatre, much of it inherited from England and Scotland.
The culture of the United Kingdom refers to the patterns of human activity and symbolism associated with the United Kingdom and its people.At its formation, the United Kingdom immediately inherited the literary traditions of England and Scotland, including the earliest existing native literature written in the Celtic languages, Anglo-Saxon literature and more recent English literature including the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare and John Milton.The early 18th century is known as the Augustan Age of English literature.These states are sometimes collectively known as the Anglosphere, and are among Britain's closest allies.As well as the British influence on its empire, the empire also influenced British culture, particularly British cuisine.The English novel developed in the 20th century into much greater variety and was greatly enriched by immigrant writers. In 1847, a critic using the pseudonym Dramaticus published a pamphlet describing the parlous state of British theatre.It remains today the dominant English literary form. Production of serious plays was restricted to the patent theatres, and new plays were subjected to censorship by the Lord Chamberlain's Office.The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre was opened in Shakespeare's birthplace Stratford upon Avon in 1879; and Herbert Beerbohm Tree founded an Academy of Dramatic Art at Her Majesty's Theatre in 1904.Carte built the West End's Savoy Theatre in 1881 to present their joint works, and through the inventor of electric light Sir Joseph Swan, the Savoy was the first theatre, and the first public building in the world, to be lit entirely by electricity.In Scotland the poetry of Robert Burns revived interest in Scots literature, and the Weaver Poets of Ulster were influenced by literature from Scotland. Important British poets of the 20th century include Rudyard Kipling, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, John Betjeman and Dylan Thomas.In Wales the late 18th century saw the revival of the eisteddfod tradition, inspired by Iolo Morganwg. In 2003 the BBC carried out a UK survey entitled The Big Read in order to find the "nation's best-loved novel" of all time, with works by English novelists Tolkien, Austen, Pullman, Adams and Rowling making up the top five on the list.