Engendering the Stage, Leverhulme Research Project Grant


Who took part in early modern theatre? The conventional answer, that it was predominantly male, requires a sole focus on the commercial stages and is based on evidence which, surprisingly, has not been fully reappraised since the early 20th century. Focusing on the period between Mary Tudor’s accession (1553) and Charles II’s injunction against boy-actresses (1662), we reassess the contribution of female, male and, in current terms, non-binary performers to English theatre- and performance-culture. Reconsidering the gendered organisation of a central period of English theatre also generates fresh materials and perspectives for makers of 21st-century ‘classical’ theatre.

This research is funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant.