QueenʼsMen Editions

About this text

  • Title: Shakespeare and the Queen's Men (SQM) Repertory Productions
  • Author: Peter Cockett
  • Textual editors: Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best

  • Copyright Peter Cockett. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Peter Cockett
    Editors (Text): Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich
    Peer Reviewed

    Shakespeare and the Queen's Men (SQM) Repertory Productions


    In 2006, as the climax of three years of research-creation work, the Shakespeare and the Queen's Men Project (SQM) staged three Queen's Men plays in repertoire: King Leir, The Famous Victories of Henry V and Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay. Videos and photographs of the production are integrated in the performance editions on this site. Further records, pedagogical modules and a more detailed exploration of the rehearsal process can be found on the Performing the Queen's Men (PQM) website.

    The production annotations for Queen's Men Editions are designed to encourage users to explore the complexities of the relationships between the texts of these plays and their SQM productions. They are informed by the research agenda of the SQM project, which drove my work as stage director, and guided the decisions made in the rehearsal room. SQM used performance as a means to investigate theater history. The object of our research, the Queen's Men, was the premiere theatre company in England during the 1580s and continued to perform through to the death of its patron in 1603. Inspired by Scott McMillin and Sally-Beth Maclean's book, The Queen's men and their Plays, we aimed to test their hypotheses and discover what else might be learned by staging three of the company's plays in repertoire in conditions that approximated their original performance practices as best we understood them. Producing a play forces practitioners to make clear and finite decisions about staging and interpretation. Although our decisions were guided by our understanding of original theatrical and political contexts to a degree uncommon in modern productions, the evidence available to scholars and theatre practitioners is incomplete and inconclusive. Our production choices were therefore provisional; there are an infinite number of ways these plays may have been performed, and our choices should not be seen as definitive or authoritative. As with any argument on matters of theatrical history, whether presented in journal article, book, or on stage, the video record of the SQM productions presented on this website offers no definitive argument, but we hope will prompt further discussion and exploration of this fascinating subject.