Short SoS – Female Parts

In the first of a series of supplementary podcasts, Sheldrake talks about the boys who created Shakespeare’s female roles on-stage.

Also available on iTunes:


  1. Fascinating stuff James! We did a research project on cue scripts when I was at CSSD and we did workshops with actors to see what the usage of cue scripts bought to performance – absolutely incredible to see how much the actors had to listen and attune their ears to the text – turns out it’s really rather difficult, and the “modern actor” struggled somewhat to really make it work. But it certainly made it much more lively and more like a living game than just actors waiting for their chance to speak. Lovely to think about the impact of communication between two characters and how the younger actors would learn their trade in this way…


    1. That all sounds fascinating Helen. I knew experiments were underway, though I’ve participated myself only very briefly. I think there have even been productions rehearsed start to finish in this fashion. Nobody has found it easy. I suspect the Elizabethan ear was a great deal more attuned generally – so much of their communication was spoken (school, church, story-telling, the low literacy levels) and the language was changing so rapidly. How else could Shakespeare expect a complex pun like ‘Light seeking light doth light of light beguile’ from LLL to be laughed at?


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