For a peak behind the scenes of our work at the Stratford Festival, check out this 5 minute video:

For project updates, see our blog page and Twitter feed (on the left).


Casting women in men’s roles may seem like a radical innovation 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.