Casting women in men’s roles may seem like a radical departure of our times; so might portrayals of early modern characters by trans and non-binary actors. Playing with gender, however, was an exciting feature of early modern theatre practice across Europe. “Engendering the Stage in the Age of Shakespeare and Beyond” is an international research project that explores resonances between the history of gendered performance on the early modern stage and our contemporary drive to achieve gender equity in today’s professional theatre industry.
Our project explores:
- the influential but largely unacknowledged work of female performers in early modern Italy, Spain, France, and England
- the effects of such performances by women on the “all-male” early modern English stage
- traces of trans and queer identities on the early modern stage
- the impacts of these new insights on contemporary casting and performance practices, and
- the insights of actors and directors working with innovative cross-casting today.
Our next event is at Stratford, Ontario, at the Avon Theatre on October 10, when we’ll be discussing women’s performance in Europe (as part of the Festival’s Forum). Event details available HERE. Questionnaires for those attending are available HERE.
For updates from the project and our past work, see our Blog page and Twitter (on the left).