Judith Shakespeare has one ambition: to be a playwright. When her debt-ridden father forces her into an engagement, she runs away with the help of dashing actor Ned Alleyn, hoping to join her brother in London. But when Judith arrives in the plague-stricken capital, she finds her brother gone, Ned engaged to another, and her play refused.
Judith and the players confront poverty in the midst of economic depression, in a society where women’s freedoms are curtailed, under a government confronting religious extremism in a climate of fear. Judith must choose between succumbing to social pressures, and following her dream, no matter what the cost.
Shakespeare’s Sister was first performed as a staged reading at the Theatre Royal Haymarket as part of the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust’s “Pitch Your Play” scheme, supported by the Noël Coward Foundation and the Vernon Charitable Trust. It was revived as part of the Shakespeare 400 celebrations at King’s College London.
Shakespeare's Sister received a full amateur production at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London in October 2016, and received its international premiere in the Blackfriars Playhouse at the American Shakespeare Center, Staunton, Virginia, in February 2017.