Selection of Plays: The Scope of Queenʼs Men Editions

Selection of Plays

Para1For Queen’s Men Editions we decided to make a fairly conservative choice, selecting the nine plays listed in McMillin and MacLean (McMillin and MacLean 88–89) on the basis that these published works identified themselves on the title page as Queen’s Men productions. We added Thomas Wilson’s The Three Ladies of London, even though it was written in 1581, before Wilson joined the Queen’s Men. The play was published in 1584; it was expanded and republished in 1592, suggesting that the play had been performed successfully by the Queen’s Men. Wilson also wrote the sequel, The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London, written after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, 1588, and published in 1590. The two plays use many of the same characters and the second continues the story of the three ladies, left in a kind of limbo at the end of the first play.
Para2The fact of the sequel is not the only reason for including Wilson’s 1581 play. That play illustrates most of the traits we have come to associate with Queen’s Men house style. The verse form is irregular, anything from short lines to fourteeners to prose. The topics ranged from early English history, mythology, magical transformation, religious conversion, romance, swordplay and wordplay, lively storytelling including folk tales, and comic business of all kinds. All the plays might be loosely considered comedies, as they all have happy endings and restorations, but they also include deaths along with the marriages and feasting usually associated with comic finales. Most were printed by Thomas Creede. McMillin and MacLean list a further thirteen plays (91–93), of which four are lost; Roslyn Knutson gets up to seventeen, although she concedes that what she is recognizing is Wilson’s influence on playwrights of the 1580s, with The Three Ladies of London as seminal in the development of the Queen’s Men repertory (Knutson 101). That is, her list, like McMillin’s and MacLean’s conjectures, might be Queen’s Men or might be imitations by other companies, including such plays as James IV, The Cobbler’s Prophecy, The Pedlar’s Prophecy, and Locrine as well as the Shakespeare-assigned Edmund Ironside, and the still anonymous Edward I. We decided, however, to stick with the strongest candidates and aim for ten complete performance editions with as little muddying of the water as possible.


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

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


Knutson, Roslyn L. The Start of Something Big. Locating the Queenʼs Men, 1583–1603. Ed. Helen Ostovich, Holger Schott Syme, and Andrew Griffin. London: Routledge, 2009.
McMillin, Scott, and Sally-Beth MacLean. The Queen’s Men and Their Plays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. WSB aw359.



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).