By: Emma Smith
The Elizabethan and Jacobean theatres specialized in new plays which had relatively few performances over a period of a few weeks. There was thus a huge appetite for fresh writing, and hundreds of plays, many now lost, were produced, often collaboratively. In this section of Great Writers some of these non-Shakespearean plays and authors are introduced through a combination of podcasts, ebooks and supporting materials. Some plays - such as John Webster's empathic presentation of a woman who follows her own desires in The Duchess of Malfi (1614) - have had an ongoing life in the modern theatre. Others - such as Thomas Dekker's contemporary fairytale The Shoemakers Holiday (1599) are interesting precisely because they so closely map onto the immediate context of their writing and performance, giving us a window into the late Elizabethan world.
To us, this group of plays and dramatists is overshadowed by Shakespeare's towering reputation.
Read more: Shakespeare's Contemporary dramatists