Teaching All-Female and Non-Binary Shakespeare at the Performance


  • Allison Machlis Meyer Seattle University


all-female, non-binary, live performance, inclusive casting, regional theater, collaborative projects


This essay analyzes student experiences of studying all-female and non-binary cast Shakespeare productions in the Seattle area, including upstart crow collective’s Richard III and The Fern Shakespeare Company’s Much Ado About Nothing. I draw on my teaching of the experimental work of these regional companies in an upper-level special topics course focused on all-female and non-binary Shakespeare, “Early Modern Drama on the Modern Stage,” to articulate the pedagogical value of students’ experiences of representation in live theater performances of Shakespeare. I argue for the importance of intentionally framing such inclusively-cast productions, and describe the enlivened learning that emerges from students’ creative and analytical engagements with the local voices of modern Shakespearean performance, which offer representations of their identities in live theater within their own communities. To do so, I detail students’ responses to these performances, their study of the history of women’s Shakespeare, and the classroom products—including two major collaborative projects—that document their learning at the site of performance.

Author Biography

  • Allison Machlis Meyer, Seattle University

    Allison Machlis Meyer is an associate professor of English at Seattle University. She is the author of Telltale Women: Chronicling Gender in Early Modern Historiography (University of Nebraska Press, 2021) and has published work on gender and historiography in Studies in Philology, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, Borrowers and Lenders: A Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, and in the edited collection Shakespeare/Not Shakespeare.