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About this text

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

  • Copyright Peter Cockett. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Peter Cockett
    Not Peer Reviewed

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

    1Introduction to the Shakespeare and the Queen's Men (SQM) Performances

    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. The productions have been documented on the Performing the Queen's Men(PQM) website, where records of the productions are housed and the rehearsal and performance process can be explored in detail. Videos of the productions are also presented on Queen's Men Editions alongside in the performance editions of the plays. 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.

    The annotations are informed by the research agenda of the SQM project, which drove my work as stage director, and guided many of the decisions made in the rehearsal room. SQM used performance as a means to investigate theatre 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.