A New Way to Play Old Texts

Para1QME is driven by the desire to integrate Performance as Research (PaR) productions with traditional literary, historical, and textual scholarship. A textual edition of a script and a public performance of a script are two forms by which a play can be published. The performance editions are designed to make two forms of publication speak to each other. Working from texts published hundreds of years ago, editors modernize spelling; regularize punctuation; and add, move, and revise stage directions to produce an edition of the original playtext they feel best communicates the social, political, and theatrical meanings or potentialities of the original text to a modern audience. The interpretive role of directors is similar, but communicates direct bodily experience in the perception of meanings. Directors are not bound to follow the text (although they commonly do) and must deal with specific physical aspects of a theatrical production that are either mentioned in passing or not mentioned at all, such as costumes, props, blocking, vocal interpretation, music, and sets. The final performance editions establish the principle that the choices made in directing a play bring insight to the text of a play, and the information provided by an editor can give insight into a performance.
Para2A completed QME performance edition includes clarifying choices in punctuation, spelling, and verse lines; full textual annotation, including textual history or solutions provided by earlier editors; video of the performance that appears beside the text; photographs from the production; production notes outlining the creative choices behind the productions; introductory matter on the texts, contexts,and performances; and links to further production resources. The nature of those resources depends on the research process behind the production and the research team’s documentation of their sources.
Para3Performance editions take a long time to create and the playtexts are published in stages: old-spelling texts, texts with modernized spelling, modern texts with annotations, and then performance editions. The current status of the editions can be found on the editions page.

Old-Spelling Texts

Para4The old-spelling texts form part of the full editions on the site. Users can view, search, print, or cut-and-paste these transcriptions of the texts as they were originally published. It may come as a surprise to many to see that some texts appeared in different versions, although not with as many versions as in Shakespeare’s works. For example, King Leir was published in quarto in 1605, around the same time that Shakespeare was putting his King Lear on the stage. The quarto of Lear was not published until 1608, and a different version was published much later in folio, in 1623. Similarly, The Three Ladies of London was first performed in 1581/2, brought into the Queen’s Men when Wilson moved from Leicester’s Men to the new company, and then published in 1584; an expanded edition was published in 1592.


Janelle Jenstad

Janelle Jenstad is a Professor of English at the University of Victoria, Director of The Map of Early Modern London, and Director of Linked Early Modern Drama Online. With Jennifer Roberts-Smith and Mark Kaethler, she co-edited Shakespeare’s Language in Digital Media: Old Words, New Tools (Routledge). She has edited John Stow’s A Survey of London (1598 text) for MoEML and is currently editing The Merchant of Venice (with Stephen Wittek) and Heywood’s 2 If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody for DRE. Her articles have appeared in Digital Humanities Quarterly, Elizabethan Theatre, Early Modern Literary Studies, Shakespeare Bulletin, Renaissance and Reformation, and The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. She contributed chapters to Approaches to Teaching Othello (MLA); Teaching Early Modern Literature from the Archives (MLA); Institutional Culture in Early Modern England (Brill); Shakespeare, Language, and the Stage (Arden); Performing Maternity in Early Modern England (Ashgate); New Directions in the Geohumanities (Routledge); Early Modern Studies and the Digital Turn (Iter); Placing Names: Enriching and Integrating Gazetteers (Indiana); Making Things and Drawing Boundaries (Minnesota); Rethinking Shakespeare Source Study: Audiences, Authors, and Digital Technologies (Routledge); and Civic Performance: Pageantry and Entertainments in Early Modern London (Routledge). For more details, see janellejenstad.com.

Joey Takeda

Joey Takeda is LEMDO’s Consulting Programmer and Designer, a role he assumed in 2020 after three years as the Lead Developer on LEMDO.

Martin Holmes

Martin Holmes has worked as a developer in the UVicʼs Humanities Computing and Media Centre for over two decades, and has been involved with dozens of Digital Humanities projects. He has served on the TEI Technical Council and as Managing Editor of the Journal of the TEI. He took over from Joey Takeda as lead developer on LEMDO in 2020. He is a collaborator on the SSHRC Partnership Grant led by Janelle Jenstad.

Navarra Houldin

Project manager 2022-present. Textual remediator 2021-present. Navarra Houldin (they/them) completed their BA in History and Spanish at the University of Victoria in 2022. During their degree, they worked as a teaching assistant with the University of Victoriaʼs Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies. Their primary research was on gender and sexuality in early modern Europe and Latin America.

Peter Cockett

Peter Cockett is an associate professor in the Theatre and Film Studies at McMaster University. He is the general editor (performance), and technical co-ordinating editor of Queen’s Men Editions. He was the stage director for the Shakespeare and the Queen’s Men project (SQM), directing King Leir, The Famous Victories of Henry V, and Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (2006) and he is the performance editor for our editions of those plays. The process behind those productions is documented in depth on his website Performing the Queen’s Men. Also featured on this site are his PAR productions of Clyomon and Clamydes (2009) and Three Ladies of London (2014). For the PLS, the University of Toronto’s Medieval and Renaissance Players, he has directed the Digby Mary Magdalene (2003) and the double bill of George Peele’s The Old Wives Tale and the Chester Antichrist (2004). He also directed An Experiment in Elizabethan Comedy (2005) for the SQM project and Inside Out: The Persistence of Allegory (2008) in collaboration with Alan Dessen. Peter is a professional actor and director with numerous stage and screen credits. He can be contacted at cockett@mcmaster.ca.



The LEMDO Team is based at the University of Victoria and normally comprises the project director, the lead developer, project manager, junior developers(s), remediators, encoders, and remediating editors.

Queenʼs Men Editions (QME1)

The Queen’s Men Editions anthology is led by Helen Ostovich, General Editor; Peter Cockett, General Editor (Performance); and Andrew Griffin, General Editor (Text).