About the Journal

Focus and Scope

Early Theatre publishes original, peer-reviewed research on medieval and early modern drama and theatre history, with a particular focus on records pertaining to actors, theatres, music, dance, and entertainment of all kinds. Our main emphasis is performance history, primarily in England, but we also feature interpretive articles relating to the performances themselves. We also publish scholarship on subjects relating to early English drama as it impinges on or is influenced by other international practices. Overall, we aim to bring together the disciplines of history, art history, theatre history, music, politics, and economics so that these various scholarly concerns have a common forum in which to test theories about performance.

Our content includes full-length articles, shorter notes, and book reviews. Each year we also feature an 'Issues in Review' forum guest edited by a scholar with expertise in a current 'hot' topic related to new directions in performance history and theory. 'Issues in Review' offers a section of related, short essays that together highlight new research directions in order to shape the field for further work in areas such as Islam and English drama (12.2); theories of performance place and space (15.2); new approaches to long-neglected earlier Tudor plays (16.2); and recent work on Francis Beaumont at the 400th anniversary of his death (20.2).

Early Theatre also publishes occasional special volumes with sustained attention to particular topics, for example, drama and politics in the English Midlands (14.2) and women’s performance in early modern England, Italy, France, and Spain (15.1).

In recognition of the excellence of our contributors, we issue biennial prizes in three categories. Please visit our Essay Prizes page for details.

Peer Review Process

Submissions to Early Theatre are assessed anonymously by at least two readers. Our acceptance of content for publication is based on double-blind peer review.


Early Theatre's Open Access Policy

Please note that Early Theatre’s green open access distribution policy aligns with the UK Research Excellence Framework recommendations and Canadian TriCouncil requirements for open access.

For more information, please click here.

Publication Frequency

Since 2002, Early Theatre: A Journal Associated with the Records of Early English Drama (ET/REED) has published two issues per year, in June and December. 

Journal History

Early Theatre: A Journal associated with the Records of Early English Drama (founded in 1998 by Helen Ostovich, McMaster University) evolved out of a newsletter at the Records of Early English Drama (REED) called the REED Newsletter. Issued biannually from 1976-1997, the REED Newsletter published documentary evidence of early drama, items on records research, and requests by scholars for information. It also listed calls for papers, conferences, and notices of recent publications. To view the REED Newsletter table of contents for all back issues and volumes, click here.

The change to Early Theatre in 1998 reflected the growing stature of the earlier publication and the need for a scholarly journal in this field which would have a longer and more independent life than a newsletter attached to REED. Early Theatre began as an annual, with 6-8 peer-reviewed articles per year. Soon thereafter, we moved to bi-annual publication, with one issue in June and one in December (averaging 17 peer-reviewed articles and notes each year).