Queen’sMen Editions

A New Way to Play Old Texts

QME 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, 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.

A completed QME performance edition will include 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.

Performance 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 Library home page

Old-spelling Texts

The 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. EG 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, 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. Both texts are available on this site.

Performance Archives

In addition to the photographs and videos incorporated in the performance editions QME also collects other production records into archives where available. The  Performance Archives [LINK] include: costume designs, reviews, theatrical documents like actors' parts and the plot of the plays, scholarly articles relating to the productions, and interviews with the artists involved in the productions.