Harman Patil (Editor)

List of early modern women playwrights (UK)

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List of early-modern women playwrights (UK)

This is a chronological list of women playwrights who were active in the United Kingdom before approximately 1800, with a brief indication of productivity. (NB. Drama is the focus of this list, though many of these writers worked in more than one genre.)


  • Jane Lumley (1537–1578): first translator of Euripides into English
  • Mary Sidney Herbert (1561–1621): translated one play
  • Elizabeth Cary (1585–1639): wrote the first original play in English by a woman
  • Mary Wroth (1587–1652): primarily a poet; one drama extant
  • Jane Cavendish (1620/21–1669): co-authored a pastoral masque with her sister, Elizabeth Egerton
  • Margaret Cavendish (1623–1673): author of closet dramas
  • Elizabeth Egerton (1626–1663): co-authored a pastoral masque with her sister, Jane Cavendish
  • Katherine Philips (1631–1664): mainly a poet; author of two plays (one unfinished)
  • Aphra Behn (1640–1689): highly successful playwright
  • Elizabeth Polwheele (c. 1651 – c. 1691): two plays extant
  • Anne Finch (1661–1720): primarily a poet; author of verse dramas
  • Frances Boothby (fl. 1669–1670): author of the first original play by a woman to be produced in London
  • Delarivier Manley (1663 or c. 1670–1724): successful playwright
  • Mary Pix (1666–1709): successful playwright
  • Susannah Centlivre (c. 1667–1723): highly successful playwright
  • Mary Davys (1674–1732): novelist; produced one play; had another published
  • Penelope Aubin (c. 1679 – c. 1731): primarily a novelist; had one play produced
  • Catherine Trotter (1679–1749): successful playwright
  • Jane Wiseman (fl. c. 1682–1717): author of one successfully produced play
  • Mary Wortley Montagu (c. 1689–1762): wrote primarily in other genres
  • Eliza Haywood (1693–1756): successful as a playwright; wrote primarily in other genres
  • Catherine Clive (1711–1785): highly successful actress; wrote farces with some success
  • Charlotte Charke (1713–1760): playwright/actress/manager
  • Charlotte Lennox (1720–1804): wrote primarily in other genres; two plays (one an adaptation)
  • Frances Brooke (1723–1789): primarily a novelist; successful with comic opera
  • Frances Sheridan (1724–1766): successful playwright
  • Elizabeth Griffith (c. 1727–1793): successful playwright
  • Charlotte Lennox (c. 1727–1804): limited success as playwright; primarily a novelist
  • Dorothea Celesia (bap. 1738, d. 1790): translated Voltaire's Tancrède
  • Hannah Cowley (1743–1809): successful playwright and poet
  • Hannah More (1745–1833): successful as a playwright; published in many genres
  • Mary Bowes (1749–1800): published one play
  • Charlotte Turner Smith (1749–1806): novelist and poet; one comedy attributed to her
  • Elizabeth Craven (1750–1828): limited success as a writer of light plays
  • Sophia Lee (1750–1824): successful playwright.
  • Frances Burney (1752–1840): primarily a novelist; author of several plays, only one of which was produced in her lifetime
  • Elizabeth Inchbald (1753–1821): successful playwright
  • Ann Yearsley (c. 1753 – 1806): primarily a poet; produced and published one play
  • Hannah Brand (1754–1821): productions largely unsuccessful; published her plays
  • Harriet Lee (1757–1851): successful playwright
  • Mary Robinson (1757–1800): wrote primarily in other genres; one play produced
  • Jane West (1758–1852): wrote primarily in other genres; her plays enjoyed limited success
  • Anne Plumptre (1760–1818): wrote primarily in other genres; translated dramas
  • Elizabeth Kemble (1761–1836): mainly known for acting
  • Mariana Starke (1761/2–1838): author of four plays, not all produced; mainly a travel writer
  • Joanna Baillie (1762–1851): prolific playwright
  • Barbarina Brand (1768–1854): author of four published plays, one produced
  • Frances Burney (1776–1828): published two tragedies, never produced
  • Jane Porter (1776–1850): two plays; limited success
  • Jane Scott (c. 1779 – 1839): prolific author of stage pieces; theatrical manager; performer
  • Mary Russell Mitford (1787–1855): some success as a playwright
  • Felicia Hemans (1793–1835): primarily a poet; wrote some verse drama
  • Catherine Gore (1799–1861): eleven plays produced
  • Catherine Crowe (1800–1876): primarily a writer of fiction; wrote two plays, one of which was produced
  • Elizabeth Polack (active 1830-1838): author of five plays, three of which survive
  • References

    List of early-modern women playwrights (UK) Wikipedia

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