More Middling Liz I (1590 to 1593)

The late 1580’s and early 1590’s are full of slightly tricky to precisely date plays – and is also the last flourishing of some of our favourite playwrights before early onset death disorder cuts their output somewhat.


The True Chronicle History of King Leir and his three daughters – Another winner from the Queen’s Men repertoire – exploring session available on YouTube.

George a Greene by (probably) Robert Greene. Exploring session was done with Orlando Furioso, just skip ahead.

James IV by Robert Greene – an exploring session on this most strange and wondrous play is available.

A Looking Glass for London and England by Robert Green and Thomas Lodge – as the dating varies, and there is evidence the play has a good ongoing performance history, we’re putting it here as well as 1588 – there’s an exploring session on YouTube

And there’s a look at the epilogue available below.

Fair Em, the Miller’s Daughter of Manchester, with the Love of William the Conqueror – exploring sessions available.

Also around here: Edward III, Soliman and Perseda, The Cobblers Prophecy.

Lord Mayors Show by Thomas Nelson – or, the Device of the Pageant for John Allot on 29th October. This can be found midway through this video covering the three extant 16th century pageants.

Tarlton’s News Out of Purgatory – a prose short story collection, tied around the character of the late Richard Tarlton (d.1588). You can explore this work on YouTube.


Mucedorus – there are two fairly distinct versions, an early version (we call it the studio cut), and an extended version with more characters. Our Second Look session below covers the earlier iteration. The full playlist contains a lot at both texts together.

Arden of Faversham by Some People – we’re not down to do this yet, but we have got a recording of a discussion with someone who is, coming soon.

The Life and Death of Jack Straw by Someone – Spoilers and Full Cast Audio Adaptation available on the podcast – with more to come.

Also available an exploring session read through, with introduction by Stephen Longstaffe, editor of a critical edition of the play.

The True Tragedy of Richard III – we’ve recorded the opening of the play for the podcast…

And done a complete exploration of the text on YouTube.

Orlando Furioso by Robert Greene – an exploring session is available

The Lamentable Tragedy of Locrine – we’ve completed two looks at this history play – there are First Look, scene by scene exploring sessions available on YouTube (skip past the opening of the first video, which covers the tail end of Alcazar), and also a Second Look speed run through.

Edward I by George Peele – a first look at this history play, plus other material on the fascinating character of Queen Elinor is available in this playlist.

Lord Mayors Show by George Peele – or, Descensus Astraeae, the Device of the Pageant borne before William Web. Covered in our exploring session for the three 16th century pageants, video above or can be viewed here.


A Knack to Know a Knave – exploring session planned.

Selimus by well no one’s super sure, some say Greene. It’s a Queen’s Men play, so it fits within that sort of thing envelop of stuff. The exploring session begins midway through the first video on YouTube, as we read it back to back with another play. Skip to about 57 minutes in.

Thomas of Woodstock – or Richard II, part 2. Following on from Jack Straw, here are the further adventures of the king. It’s such a good play and we will be going further with it.

John of Bordeaux, or Friar Bacon Rides Again by maybe Greene or some other people. Here presented in two videos from the exploring sessions.

Opening of the play.

Second session on John of Bordeaux.

Edward II by Christopher Marlowe – First Look Exploring Session available… there is a discussion on the play and the changing history of the figure of Edward II on the podcast.

Other plays from around here: Summer’s Last Will and Testament by Thomas Nashe, The Four Prentices of London by Thomas Heywood, Roxanna by William Alabaster.


David and Bathsabe by George Peele – maybe written earlier, probably lives in the early 1590’s. Trigger Warning: some scenes of sexual violence early on in the play.

Tragedy of Antony by Mary Herbert, or Mary Sidney, or Countess of Pembroke. Full cast audio adaptation in the works, exploratory read through playlist available here.

The Massacre at Paris by Christopher Marlowe – exploring session available.

The Woman in the Moon by John Lyly

Cornelia by Thomas Kyd

The Rising to the Crown of Richard III by Himself (via Giles Fletcher) – a narrative poem about Richard, part of a selection of narrative poems we’ve been playing with.

Cleopatra by Samuel Daniel

Guy Earl of Warwick

The Old Wives’ Tale by George Peele – before the plague came a full cast audio adaptation was in the works, but till then, two exploring sessions are available, a First and Second Look. Both in playlist below.

In late 1592 there was a nasty outbreak of plague that just wouldn’t go away. It disrupted the various playing companies, and coincided with the deaths and retirement of most of the playwrights we know and love. Marlowe, Kyd, Greene and a closing off in the output of Peele. When the playhouses and their companies get their act together from 1594 there’s much change and a lot of new faces.