A Performance Studies Approach to <i>The Tragedy of Mariam</i>


  • Rebecca McCutcheon Royal Holloway, University of London




site-specific, Mariam on stage, Elizabeth Cary, performance, closet drama, theatre, gender, marginal, environment, audience behaviour, immersive, Globe theatre, practice-based research, performance studies, ethnography


This essay offers insights from workshops exploring Elizabeth Cary’s The Tragedy of Mariam in a range of contrasting sites. The Tragedy of Mariam has a slender performance history, a fact which arguably presents barriers to production and reception in traditional theatre settings. This lack of practice-based understanding makes future performance less likely, and consequently limits appreciations of the play. The workshops in four sites documented here create new lenses through which to view Mariam. By taking a performance studies approach, valuing what Carol Chillington Rutter terms the excess of meaning generated through performance of play-texts, this article aims to contribute performance and practitioner insights to the current Cary discourse.

Author Biography

Rebecca McCutcheon, Royal Holloway, University of London


Rebecca McCutcheon (Rebecca.McCutcheon.2009@live.rhul.ac.uk) is a London-based theatre director, completing a practice-based PhD in site-specific performance at the department of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The enquiry centres on rarely performed texts, and the possibilities of site-specific practice. The inception of the PhD occurred when McCutcheon directed two acclaimed productions of Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage, in the House of St Barnabas in Soho, and at Kensington Palace, discussed in McCutcheon’s co-authored chapter, ‘Site-Specific Marlowe’ in P. Aebischer and K. Prince (eds), Performing Early Modern Drama Today (Cambridge, 2012).






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