mon15may6:30 PMmon7:30 PMProfessors Lucy Munro and Clare McManus: Women investors and performers in the Fortune playhouse6:30 PM - 7:30 PM View in my timeEvent Type :Researching the Rose

Event Details

Discover the remarkable history of women investors and performers at the Fortune playhouse — the theatre built as the successor to the Rose in 1600 by its owner Philip Henslowe and leading actor Edward Alleyn.

New evidence analysed by Lucy Munro and the Engendering the Stage researchers reveals a previously unknown story of women’s investment in the Fortune playhouse between the 1620s and 1640s. Far from being a world without women, their findings show how this playhouse was sustained by women’s investment and how it is connected to the history of female performers such as Cicely Peadle — troupe leader, tumbler and rope-dancer. This talk will share these findings and the stories we can glean of the lives of women who invested and performed in a London playhouse, and how the involvement of such women with theatre relates to the broader history of performance at the Fortune and in early modern London.

Co-led by Lucy Munro and Clare McManus, the Engendering the Stage project team members use archival and practice-based performance research to investigate the gendering of early modern performance. They search the archives for evidence of performance by women, children and gender nonconforming people in Shakespeare’s time. Engendering the Stage is based at Roehampton University and King’s College London and is funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant.


Clare McManus is Professor of Early Modern Literature and Theatre, and Director of the Research Centre for Inclusive Humanities at the University of Roehampton, London. She publishes widely on Shakespearean women’s performance. Her books include Women on the Renaissance Stage (Manchester University Press, 2002) and Women and Culture at the Courts of the Stuart Queens (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). Clare has edited Shakespeare’s Othello (Norton, 2015), John Fletcher’s The Island Princess (Arden Early Modern Drama, 2013) and James Shirley’s The Bird in a Cage (Routledge, 2020). She is currently co-editing John Marston’s The Fawn (Oxford University Press) and completing a book on the way that women’s performance shaped the Shakespearean stage.

Clare collaborates with two international research groups: Theatre Without Borders, which investigates transnational early modern theatre; and Engendering the Stage.


Lucy Munro is Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at King’s College London, and co-director with Farah Karim-Cooper of the Shakespeare Centre London, a collaboration between King’s and Shakespeare’s Globe. She is the author of three books: Children of the Queen’s Revels: A Jacobean Theatre Repertory (CUP, 2005); Archaic Style in English Literature, 1590–1674 (CUP, 2013); and Shakespeare in the Theatre: The King’s Men (Bloomsbury, 2020). Her work as a textual editor includes the Arden Early Modern Drama edition of Dekker, Ford and Rowley’s The Witch of Edmonton (Bloomsbury, 2016). Lucy’s recent essays include accounts of the Blackfriars playhouse in English Literary Renaissance and Shakespeare Quarterly. She is currently editing Marston’s The Insatiate Countess (OUP) and Shakespeare’s The First Part of Henry IV (Arden Shakespeare Fourth Series).

Lucy is a contributor to two collaborative research projects that bring together archival research, literary analysis and practice-as-research: Before Shakespeare and Engendering the Stage.

Tickets are £7 (£5 for Friends of The Rose) and can be booked through TryBooking. You will receive a link to this Zoom event via email. Any additional contributions for The Rose Playhouse will be much appreciated and go towards funding the Rose Revealed Project.

Please note that booking for this event will close at 5.30 pm on 15 May.