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Women Performers in Shakespeare's Time, with Clare McManus

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 132

Think there were no women onstage in Shakespeare’s time? Think again. We talk to scholar Clare McManus about where and how women performed in early modern Europe: emerging from mechanical seashells in elaborate court masques, dancing across tightropes, and on the stages of the European Continent.

Clare McManus is a professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton in London. She is the author of Women on the Renaissance Stage: Anna of Denmark and Female Masquing in the Stuart Court, 1590-1619 and is working on a manuscript titled Early Modern Women’s Performance and the Dramatic Canon. McManus is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

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From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. Published November 12, 2019. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, “She Can Spin for Her Living,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. We had technical helped from Andrew Feliciano and Evan Marquart at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California, and Gareth Wood at The Sound Company studios in London.

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MICHAEL WITMORE: Here’s a truism: There were no women on stage in Shakespeare’s time. And now: Here’s a twist. There were plenty of women on stage in Shakespeare’s time, you just haven’t been looking in the right place.

From the Folger Shakespeare Library, this is Shakespeare Unlimited. I’m Michael Witmore, the Folger’s director. Yes, it’s true that in Shakespeare’s company, and elsewhere on the commercial stage in Early Modern London, boys played all the female roles.

But that doesn’t mean that Elizabethan and Jacobean audiences wouldn’t have seen women performing, maybe even at the Globe theater. New scholarly research is revealing the work of women whoup to nowhave largely been hidden in plain sight… Women who danced and sang on civic, court, and festival stages … and women who swooped, tumbled, and flew over those stages on tightropes and trapezes.

One of the principal researchers working in this area is Dr. Clare McManus, a professor of Early Modern Literature and Theatre at the University of Roehampton in London. We invited her into the studio recently to catch us up on her work, which challenges the exclusion of women from the histories of early modern theater.

We call this podcast episode “She Can Spin for Her Living.” Clare McManus is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.


BARBARA BOGAEV: Clare, I was so happy you were coming on our podcast because the first thing I thought when I saw your research is, “Look, we’ve all seen Shakespeare in Love. Women did not appear on the stage in England, at least in Shakespeare plays.” So where is this coming from, this idea and your research?

CLARE MCMANUS: Yes, Shakespeare in Love, I think, is a touchpoint somehow. It’s where I always start. I say exactly that. There is no moment when Juliet will reveal herself to have been a woman all along. It just doesn’t happen like that. So, this comes from thinking partly about making theater history more accessible to more kinds of people.

The penny dropped for me when I realized that women, gender non-conforming performers, whoever, don’t need to be on the stage to influence what happens on it. It’s just too blunt to say, “This is an all-male stage because there are only male bodies on it.” People watch other kinds of performances. They go to other performance venues than the playhouses. They’re out in the world. They’re out in those incredibly vibrant streets, watching all kinds of different bodies performing in all kinds of different ways.

BOGAEV: Right, and you said there are lots of different kinds of theater, even in Shakespeare’s day, especially in Shakespeare’s day. And the way you put it in your lectures, you write that, “The theatrical women of early Modern England have been hidden in plain sight.”

MCMANUS: I really do think they have because they’re literally just to the left or just to the right or behind the scenes, or working in the theater industry, just not if you only frame the question as: Who acts in a Shakespeare play? If you’re only looking for a script and a history on a character and someone to declaim lines, then you won’t find that many women.

But if you broaden your definition a little bit and think about royal and courtly women performing in the court masques, you find people. If you think about people performing using their bodies rather than their voices, you find all different kinds of people. Acrobats, tumblers, sword dancers, rope dancers, tightrope walkersall of whom perform in streets, in playhouses, in Inn-yards, alongside people who would be doing what we think of as Shakespearean acting.

BOGAEV: And you also say that there were pageants that were put on by cities. What were they, to welcome visiting dignitaries or royal visitors?

MCMANUS: Yeah, very often, they’re to welcome new monarchs or new royal consults. There’s an annual performance, a huge city pageant in London every year for the Lord Mayor, and that’s run by the guilds rather than the court. See, you get all these different kind of centers of performance, so that the Shakespearean playhouses are only one of those centers. The court is another.

Go looking outside London, you have great halls of houses, and you even have churches if you go a little further back. You have all the kinds of social festivities that happen in churchyards for festive days, for things like Accession Day pageants in the Elizabethan reign. And it’s open to men and women in ways that we don’t see if we just look for Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado about Nothing, and that kind of thing.

BOGAEV: Well, that is such a wide array of performance venues and styles, and so I think we’re going to narrow them down to maybe a couple. Why don’t we start with the court masques? They are fascinating. So, let’s talk about them for a moment. First, remind us what were the masques like. What was going on onstage? Did the actors recite lines, or did they just stand there like statues and tableaux? What did it look like?

MCMANUS: It really depends who you are. The first thing to say is they are one-off occasions, so they’re organized by the court, and they effectively happen for King James. One of the central figures in this is James’ queen consult, Queen Anna of Denmark, who I think really develops this form.

BOGAEV: And please, help us imagine it. What did it look like? What’s going on as part of the performance?

MCMANUS: Well, if you imagine the Whitehall Banqueting House… all the windows have been covered with tapestries. Candles have been lit. A stage has been built at one end of the hall and a dais for James to sit and watch at the other. Outside there’s a crush of people trying to get in. Once you’re inside, everybody sits basically on three sides of this rectangle with a dancing hall left in the middle. They have curtains that drop and incredible scenery behind it.

You may get actors from plays from the playing companies, professionals who are therefore thought of as lower class thanthen courtiers entering on stage, introducing the action, explaining which idealized classical or mythical figure they are playing. And then into that will come a spectacular piece of scenery, holding members of the royal family.

For James, men and women performed separately. So what you’d find for James, you’ll find a spectacular entrance, maybe in a cloud machine descending from the sky. Maybe in a scallop shell being pushed forward as if it’s on water. And sitting in those machines are Queen Anna, her favorite ladies-in-waiting, perhaps her daughter, dressed in the most remarkable, elaborate, usually-classical costumes.

BOGAEV: And did they talk? What did they do?

MCMANUS: They don’t act.

BOGAEV: They don’t act?

MCMANUS: That’s the key thing. They don’t. No. They don’t speak.

BOGAEV: That’s wonderful.

MCMANUS: It’s one of those social distinctions that you know you look out from 400 years later and you think is really odd. You don’t speak. If you speak, you’re acting. If you act, you’re a professional. You’re not royal.

So, you move, or you don’t move. You hold poses or you dance, or you move in very carefully choreographed patterns. Sometimes they even write out people’s names with their bodies. There’s this incredible kind of like… almost proto-cheerleading. It’s a performance of your best, idealized courtly self. Anna is always, you know, queen of everything. So, you spend a huge amount on your costume. They’re often not the kind of costume we might expect… they’re often quite revealing.

BOGAEV: What do you mean by that? You mean like topless? I mean, nudity? What?

MCMANUS: Yes. Sometimes yes. Sometimes they are. I have a theory that it’s to do with the fact that if you have professional actors, some of whom are boys who will play the female parts, who need to speakso any speech is done by a professional. So, you have boys playing women’s parts, and you have women playing women’s parts on the same stage together. And almost as a kind of reaction to that, what happens is that you see more and more of these women’s bodies. It’s almost like they’re offering “ocular proof” that this really is a woman that you’re watching here and don’t even mistake… yeah.

BOGAEV: Huh, kind of, this is reality TV here. In your talk, you should show this image of Lucy Russell, who’s the Countess of Bedford. She’s playing an Amazon Queen in Ben Jonson’s Masque of the Queens, and she appears to be naked from the waist up. So, she was.

MCMANUS: She may well have been. They’re also really skillful at making people look like they’re naked as well.

BOGAEV: Oh, so like a body sock.

MCMANUS: Yeah, but made of leather sometimes. And it cut, so you don’t need to go to the gym, don’t need to go and work out your own six pack. You can wear it in leather.

BOGAEV: Oh, it has abs, like in the movie 300.

MCMANUS: Yep. Yes. Without the airbrushing.


MCMANUS: Or it could be gauze. So, you either suggest that something’s there or you show that something’s there. And the brilliant thing about Lucy Harrington Russell is that she is a deeply devout religious woman.

BOGAEV: Right, you say in the lecture she’s a Puritan.

MCMANUS: And yet there she is. It’s not what we think Puritans do is it at all? She’s a literary patron, and she’s very serious, but the dynamics of power are such that it’s a necessary performance. It’s required, and it’s a statement of her proximity to her queen, her favor that she gets from the queen. And there she is dressed like an Amazon warrior with a classical plumed helmet and buskins, and a sash suggesting the myth that the Amazon’s remove one breast in order to be able to shoot their bows and arrows better.

BOGAEV: Fantastic.

MCMANUS: So, she inhabits this remarkable ideal.

BOGAEV: Well, how did the clergywhich is at the time preaching such rectitudehow did the clergy allow court women to romp around on stage topless or looking topless?

MCMANUS: They couldn’t really stop them, to be honest. Because you’re talking about the center of power. For sure, there’s criticism of the idea of performing women, but at the same time, there’s an enormous amount of criticism of theater per say, and certainly of cross-dressed theater. So, having boys standing in for women is a problem as well. But yes, there are sermons against the kind of… the sort of luxury that you find in those performances.

Sermons against particular items of clothing as well that get associated with court corruption. And if you look at some of the women who did dance, women like Frances Howard for example, who ends up absolutely notorious, it doesn’t help their reputation.

⇒ Related: Frances Howard and the Overbury Poisoning Scandal

It’s almost as if you’ve got kind of twoat least two—tracks of interpretation going on. Whereas the masquing, in that performance, is what you need to do to be a fully-fledged member of the court… But outside the court it looks very, very different; it looks like what it is, like extravagance.

BOGAEV: And now let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about another kind of performance that women did. This is the broad category of women street performers, acrobats and aerialists. What are your sources for this? What evidence is there that women were doing these kinds of performances?

MCMANUS: There is actually quite a lot which I think is fascinating, because it does play into my conspiracy theory about these people hiding in plain sight. Sometimes there’s the sort of quite obvious theater history records. There are licenses. You need a license when you enter a new town. You need to get the approval of the civic authorities. There’s a license from the 1630s of a woman brilliantly named Sisley Peadle.

BOGAEV: That’s very English.

MCMANUS: I know. Sisley Peadle. And she’s the head of the Peadles, which is by then an actually really quite famous troupe of acrobats and tumblers that tours London. They play at court. They play for James, the scholar king. They tour Germany, and they tour the southwest of England as well, and up to about Coventry. And she in the 1630s, for whatever reason, is at the head of this troupe. So, we have that kind of record.

We have records of the playing companies who also have acrobats and tumblers and rope dancers associated with them. There’s no real clear cut different between someone who would call themselves a player and someone who would call themselves a rope dancer. And then there’s the visual record, which is just amazing.

BOGAEV: You also talk about things that happened in formal settings on ropes. I think during the time of Edward VI, they had what they call a flyer, and you say that it was terrifying.

MCMANUS: The flyers are amazing. This is a phenomenon that happens around Europe. For Edward VI, the chap’s called a “Ragusan”and we’re not 100 percent sure what that means, but one of the things it could mean is someone from Dubrovnikand he fixes, from somewhere near Westminster, a rope at the top of a tower, and takes it down to the ground. Straps himself onto a plank which has a rope-sized groove in, fits the groove onto the rope, straps fireworks to himself and slides down headfirst, and ends up at the king’s feet.


MCMANUS: I know.

BOGAEV: That’s insane. You do that once, right?


BOGAEV: And then you need a new flyer.

MCMANUS: I mean there are some terrible stories of people who died because one firework on one arm went off, but the other didn’t, so they just start spinning. There are just so many ways to die with this job.

BOGAEV: Right. Getting back to women performers, you mentioned they were playing as aerialists or acrobats in the playhouses as well, and in the Globe. Is that right?

MCMANUS: We definitely have records of aerialism and acrobats in the Globe. We don’t have a record of a woman aerialist in the Globe. That’s kind of the Holy Grail that I’m looking for. But we know that audiences who went to these playhouses wouldn’t expect only to see a play. They would expect to see what everybody knows about… the jigs, you’d expect to see perhaps a fencing display, perhaps some kind of tumbling acrobatic displays, perhaps some rope dancing and rope walking.

So, it just raises the possibility thatgiven that we know that women do this, given that we know that it happens in the playhousesit just raises the possibility and maybe the probability that there were women who performed in that way in those playhouses. We know it happens elsewhere.

There’s an Inn-yard theater in Bristol. In fact, there are two theaters in Bristol in the early-modern period, and in one of them we know there’s a playbill advertising a nine-year-old girl and a four-year-old girl who will dance on the ropes on the stage. That’s the phrase we have, “On the stage.” So, we know that young girls, women, are encroaching into this area for sure. We just can’t say it happened in the Globe, unfortunately.

BOGAEV: Now I know what you get you for Christmas.

MCMANUS: Yes, please.

BOGAEV: Shakespeare in Love Two. This is what Shakespeare in Love should’ve been.

MCMANUS: I think it would be more exciting because it’s so much more energetic, and it’s so much more daring, and it’s so much more physical than anything you ever see in these very kind of clichéd versions of what Shakespearean acting is. This is something completely different.

BOGAEV: Right, and you describe… you had the tightrope, which, you know, we’re familiar with that, but they also had this slack rope thing where… what? It was something like a trapeze and women or men would tumble around it, swing around it and hang?

MCMANUS: They’d lounge, they’d swing, they’d dangle by more or less toes, and make it a feat to kind of hang on. So, as an audience memberI mean if you have vertigo, you’re not going to want to watch thisbut in terms of skill and ability and agility, it’s remarkable.

And they would do this either wearing a dress, which we know has a very wide skirt and a corset… and I wonder if the corset helps you stay vertical if you’re walking on the tightrope. Or if you’re on the slack rope, they tend to cross dress, which maybe reflects the different kinds of moves they’re making as they’re doing this, as they’re swinging around. But certainly, either way, the woman’s body is being put up high as a spectacle for audiences to look at and to see in ways they wouldn’t normally see.

BOGAEV: “Born to perform high above your head,” that’s what they always say at Barnum & Bailey. Well, you describe an engraving that you’ve seen of rope dancing in the fechthaus in Nuremburg, in the 1650s. You say in a lecture that seeing this image helped make sense for you of Shakespeare’s Ariel as an aerialist. I think the quote is, you say, “Who flamed amazement around the wrecked ship.” So, describe that engraving for us. What was this woman doing in it, and how did it make sense of that Shakespearean line for you?

MCMANUS: It looks like a ship’s rigging, and it’s covered in little figures doing amazing things; people standing on their heads on a high rope, people sliding down diagonal ropes headfirst or running up them in ways that don’t look possible, people doing sword dances on ropes, people doing handstands, somersaults, and occasionally just what we think of as tightrope walking, just walking across and walking back.

The detail doesn’t let us know if this is a group of men or a mixed group, but it’s a scene of incredible activity. And there absolutely seems to be some kind of crossover between the kind of skill that you would need as a sailor or as a stagehand and the skill that you need to work these ropes as well. Those are the three professions that use ropes, and so there is Ariel in this maritime setting working his magic on a shipwreck. And I think that it would remind an audience, even only rhetorically, of the kind of performances that they’ve seen elsewhere or of people working with ropes, performing on ropes, flaming with amazement.

That could be like the fireworks that these poor, unfortunate flyers strapped to themselves. It works better for Ariel, but, you know, there’s so much less risk in describing it than doing it. It seems to me to be a moment when this performance form is brought in from outside and Shakespeare is using it to draw on, to exploit. Likely to add a little freedom of excitement to that moment, and to suggest ways in which magic is really a very physical, very bodily thing as well I think.

BOGAEV: Yeah, this idea of performance and the body and women and men’s bodies, it gets very interesting in your scholarship. You talk about how, “The plays performed in the commercial theaters are documents not only of women being excluded but also female performers presence elsewhere and their influence.” That’s a quote from one of your lectures, and I’m not sure I understand the word “influence” here. Do you mean that the boys who played women in the playhouses would watch these women performers, either the masque performers or the street performers, and that those women taught them how to act like women on stage, or are you saying something different?

MCMANUS: I’m saying something quite close to that, but I think there’s a little bit of a rejection going on. So, rather than asking a woman to teach you how to perform femininity, I think there’s a response to the kind of femininity that those women perform and a wish to do something different.

It seems really clear to me that any boy who lives in London will have seen this kind of performance going on, and they’ll be working with people in their company who have those skills as well. For the court masque, we know that the King’s Men certainly and other playing companies are brought into the court masque, and so they actually are there to watch Anna and her women performing on the stage. So, they see a different mode of femininity and a stage femininity being enacted in front of them.

What I think I mean by a “response,” or a “reaction” is, if you think of that kind of really plush decade of Shakespearean tragedy, if you think sort of from Hamlet or Othello, all the way through that first decade of the 17th century, up to something like Webster’s Duchess of Malfi, we get more and more objectified women. Women who are… Female characters who are turned into things that turn into statues, like Hermione in the Winter’s Tale. They’re turned into skulls like Gloriana in the Revenger’s Tragedy. They’re turned into tombs like The Duchess in the Duchess of Malfi or they’re just killed and then the audience has to look at their bodies onstage, like Desdemona.

And that seems to meit’s a really interesting run of playsand it feels as if that reach for a passive tragic heroine—a woman with whom we identify emotionally but who has to be enacted in a very still, very self-contained way, until she herself becomes something still: a corpse or a skull or a tomb or a statue—that feels like it’s reacting against this much more kind of bouncy and bendy and explosively powerful form of femininity that’s happening somewhere else. Happening on the tightrope, or happening on the slack rope, or happening on the ground with female tumblers, sword dancers. I haven’t been able to prove it yet, but I’m going to keep trying.

It just feels as if that’s one way in which that image of the tragic heroine that’s become very accepted—the quiet dignity that the Duchess of Malfi has—is actually only one form of femininity that could be acted in the early-modern period, and it’s a choice. It’s a choice made against this background of women doing other things. So, it’s a way, maybe, of the King’s Men of marking out their territory, marking themselves out as a different kind of performance.Come here, see this, it’s different from that.”

BOGAEV: And since elitism is so much a part of this conversation, it’s as if to be bendy and jump around, that’s what disreputable women do. Whereas the women of the stage, of the Globe or of the playhouses, they are the noble, virtuous women. Still and unmoving, like royalty, which doesn’t have to move that much because everyone around them is always anticipating what they need so they don’t have to say or move.

MCMANUS: Yes. I hadn’t thought of that, but that’s actually a fantastic idea. Yeah, you are the still center. And of course these boys are wearing corsets… maybe, it depends exactly when… perhaps farthingales, certainly very bulky long skirts. They’re going to find it easier to stay still, easier to adopt the kind of hands-folded-in-front-of-the-stomach posture that we associate with these tragic heroines, than they are to upend themselves or, you know, to turn. But, yet, turning seems to be something that’s associated with the disreputable. Very often with the foreign, very often with the heretical, and definitely with the sexual as well. So, if you want a chaste heroine, she must not turn.

BOGAEV: Well, taking all of this into account, it seems as if our idea that Shakespeare’s all-male playhouse stage or what we think of as the Elizabethan stage wasn’t the norm, but more like the exception to the norm, at least in this moment in history.

MCMANUS: I think so. To my mind, these stages feel more and more like islands in seas of performing women. There’s a fantastic scholar called Natasha Korda who has shown us the way that women work in the theater building. What we think of as the all-male stage really is now just the stage, because these performers are surrounded by women working in the building, taking money, providing costumes, working in the finances of theater. We know now that women build theaters. They’re involved in that. We know that women owned theaters.

There’s a fantastic scholar called James Stokes who has done decades of work for the records of early English drama. And he has discovered so many examples of performing women that he has decided that what we think of, you know that the time of Shakespeare, Webster, Fletcher, Middleton, this high point in English theater, he has flipped that on its head. He thinks of this as an interregnum, a low point for women in theater.

And so more and more, what we’ve put at the center of culture and what we returned to again and again is starting to look like a little bit of an anomaly. And it’s an anomaly in Europe as well. It’s not the norm there either. That won’t be the first time that England is strange compared to Europe, but I think it really matters in this, because it speaks to what we as a culture have chosen to look at and what we’ve chosen not to look at.

BOGAEV: And why? I mean all of this begs the question, why? Why a low period at this moment in time, and what does this say about how England was trying to define what the stage is, also with a capital S? Or what theater, English theater, is? Is it a matter of the dominance of English theater and this is one way they were defining it? To distinguish English theater from the foreign rabble who might allow women to perform on the stage?

MCMANUS: I don’t think the English theater is thinking of itself as at the vanguard at this point. I mean certainly not compared to the kind of developments that have happened in Italy, for example. The most celebrated actors at this point are Italian, including the women, some of whom tour to London and some of whom play for Elizabeth.

Everything changes if we put England back into a European network and think of it comparatively rather than thinking of it in isolation. I mean there are some great descriptions of bridling Englishmen going abroad and harrumphing at actresses, but in the same breath saying, “Well I’ve seen actresses before.” So they’re comparing like for like in a way.

BOGAEV: Why though? I mean, that doesn’t answer the question: Why? If women were performing in so many venues in so many ways, why weren’t they on Shakespeare’s stage?

MCMANUS: I think one reason isand this is going to be one of those moments where you have to have about 12 reasons for it, and they all come together cumulatively. I don’t think there is just one.

BOGAEV: I love those comments.

MCMANUS: But I think one of the reasonsand this is Natasha Korda’s workthis is the way that these organizations are structured. The playhouses are run by playing companies that are based around a guild organization, which is more or less a kind of masculine structure. A man in authority teaches, trains a boy in his trade, and so some of the structures are to do with organization of labor.

Some of it probably has to do with the range of audiences for this kind of theater. You do have people writing at the top of their game for an elite audience and also at the same time drawing on the other kinda more popular forms of entertainment that attract others as well. And then there’s downright misogyny.

BOGAEV: I was waiting for that one.

MCMANUS: We, yeah. It was kind of inevitable. And a wish to police women, and sometimes the policing is very efficient: so, there are no women performing on this stage. And sometimes it’s less efficient: “Okay, there’s a female body on the court masque stage, but they’re not talking.”

And when you get out into the streets or out into the Inn-yards, it’s a case of, “Well, okay. This isn’t really acting is it?” And some of those preconceptions have filtered through to the way that we look at this theater as well.

BOGAEV: Well, I was speculating that in times of great social upheaval, women generally are locked down.

MCMANUS: It’s really interesting, because against all of this, if you compare Italy and England, the Italian women are locked down and English women are sort of notoriously free. But Italian women can be actors, and English women don’t.

This is the question that’s been troubling scholars for at least 100 years, and better minds than me have tried to explain as to why the English stage used boys instead of women. Also, why they wouldn’t allow women onto this particular kind off stage. The difference now is we know that women were allowed almost everywhere else, so it really does put the focus on how peculiar and how nominalist that stage is.

BOGAEV: Yes, and since women were performing in so many different venues, yet not on Shakespearean stages, I’m assuming that the more you discover about how women performed, that has implications for future study. I mean, is this leading scholars like you down new paths, kind of a revisionist history of a period?

MCMANUS: I really hope so because I think it’s important not to simply write straightforwardly about an all-male stage anymore. I really hope that we can start to set these amazing plays against the background of the performing women who shaped them, and I think it’s really… or I hope it would be really exciting for an actor now to look at a refresh, a kind of revised theater history, and think, “You know what, there is a place for me in here. I don’t have to go from Juliet to All’s Well with nothing in between and hope for Cleopatra along the way.”

To give people more purchase, more sense of ownership of that canon, to involve more people in it and not to make them feel excluded. I think stepping back, reassessing the evidence for this theater history, and thinking it through again can actually be really powerful because we still take Shakespeare as our cultural touchstone. It would be wonderful to be able to show the ways in which more of us have access to that than we thought.

BOGAEV: I have so enjoyed this conversation. Thank you so much, Clare, for taking the time today.

MCMANUS: Thank you very much for having me.


WITMORE: Dr. Clare McManus is a professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton in London. She is the author of Women on the Renaissance Stage: Anna of Denmark and Female Masquing in the Stuart Court, 1590-1619, and she is currently working on a manuscript titled Early Modern Women’s Performance and the Dramatic Canon. She was interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

Our podcast episode, “She Can Spin for Her Living,” was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster. Ben Lauer is the web producer. We had technical helped from Andrew Feliciano and Evan Marquart at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California, and Gareth Wood at The Sound Company studios in London.

If you’re enjoying Shakespeare Unlimited, we hope you’ll do us a favor. Please consider rating and reviewing the podcasts on whatever platform you get this podcast from. When you do that, it helps us get the word out to people who haven’t heard it yet.

Shakespeare Unlimited comes to you from the Folger Shakespeare Library. Home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the Folger is dedicated to advancing knowledge and the arts. You can find more about the Folger at our website, And, if you find yourself in Washington, DC, please come and visit us on Capitol Hill. Take in a performance in our Elizabethan theater and come face to face with a First Folio—the first printed edition of Shakespeare’s plays. We’d love to see you.

Thanks for listening. For the Folger Shakespeare Library, I’m Folger Director Michael Witmore.