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By Sophie Boyce & Veronica Mansour.

WINNER of the Eugene O'Neill NTMC 2023.

Official Selection for MT West, Goodspeed Writers Grove and South Carolina New Play Festival 2024.

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The year is 1588. Emilia Bassano is crafting the most remarkable stories the world will ever see.

But women are not permitted to write for stage. And so theatre's greatest characters stand to be lost in the abyss.

That is until a deal is struck, with the stableboy William Shakespeare.....

What's in a Name?

It is a well-known theory that William Shakespeare was not - or could not have been - solely responsible for all of the works he was credited for. Other writer's names have been tossed into the ring as the potential true authors of the works... but it is hard to explain why any of them would have swapped their name out for Shakespeare's.

But what about Emilia Bassano? A radical and a poet, living in a time when women were not permitted to be involved in theatre. Historians believe that Emilia was the inspiration for the Dark Lady sonnets; that she and Shakespeare were lovers. Some speculate that Shakespeare plagiarized her works. But we speculate that this extraordinary woman took matters into her own hands; orchestrating the arrangement in order to have her plays seen.


This musical is a mix of historical fact and speculation. Every part of it could be true. There are enough easter eggs to tantilise anyone with an intimate knowledge of Shakespeare's life, whilst thrilling those who are learning this for the first time. 

More Materials / Get Involved

To view more materials, and find out how you can support this production in it's next stages of development, please email

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