These pioneering education videos present the first recorded versions of six plays by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-73), filmed on location in York, England. A prolific dramatist, poet, writer of prose, philosophy, letters, autobiography and biography, Margaret Cavendish’s published works were overlooked for more than three centuries. Feminist critics have new established the significance of her wide-ranging literary achievements.

Margaret Cavendish’s plays foreground women’s roles and voices. They incisively critique early modern social and cultural limitations on women’s ambitions and opportunities. Her comedies explore creative alternatives to marriage, whilst her tragedies highlight frustrations and difficulties encountered by women who prefer not to conform.

Gweno Williams founded the Margaret Cavendish Performance Project in 1999 to research the performance potential of Cavendish’s plays. These videos, originally available in DVD, include interview footage recording student insights into the production process. Critical commentary and discussion of learning and teaching issues are provided, to maximize these recordings as teaching and study resources.

© & ℗ Gweno Williams/Plays in Performance1999. All rights of the producer and of the owner of the work reproduced reserved. Unauthorised copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting of this recording prohibited.