EXTENDED Call for Papers:
Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan


Strangers and Aliens in London and Toronto: Sex, Religion, and Xenophobia in Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan


22-24 March 2019

Length of abstract:

250 words


University of Toronto Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies

Final date for submitting abstracts:

31 January 2019

Please e-mail submissions to Helen Ostovich at ostovich@mcmaster.ca

Date of announcing accepted papers:

15 February 2019, or earlier

Targeted scholars:

Senior doctoral students, recent doctoral graduates, and early career scholars


To fill two panels of speakers for the March conference which follows RSA in Toronto, and includes performances of The Dutch Courtesan. Accepted papers will be peer-reviewed, copyedited, and published online on the Toronto Dutch Courtesan website, along with the other papers at the conference and reviews coming out of the performances. Not all accepted papers will be read at the conference, but all accepted papers will be published. Performances of the play begin March 19 and end with a matinee on March 24.

Papers (15-20 minutes) are requested on Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan (1605), on very specific topics of your choice. We are especially interested in pedagogy, rehearsal, and the modern connection between Marston’s play and current events now; also, theatrical connections with French and Italian comedy (commédia), ideas of masculinity and femininity; the working woman; geographical, religious, economic, social, political, and gendered landscapes of the play; Marston’s sharing of current concerns with Middleton (e.g., A Mad World, My Masters), Barry (e.g., The Family of Love), Jonson, or other playwrights fascinated by city comedy and the London of 1600-1610.

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Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan

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Dame Sirith Photos

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Dame Sirith, which opened today at the New Chaucer Society banquet! Public performances–with Pneuma Ensemble’s “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale”–are next weekend. Have a look at photos from the dress rehearsal below. (The performances will be at Majlis Garden, a different venue that is outdoors.)

Dame Sirith (July 2018)

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Poculi Ludique Societas and Pneuma Ensemble Present

Two Medieval Fabliaux

Dame Sirith  –  Poculi Ludique Societas

Fabliaux are short comic verse tales popular in France in the 12th and 13th centuries. Dame Sirith is the earliest known fabliau in English, and the only one not written by Chaucer. Dame Sirith tells the story of a love-lorn clerk, the married woman he yearns after, and the clever old woman who helps him get what he wants. PLS Artistic Director Linda Phillips directs this silly, bawdy tale using a “lightly modernized” version of the 13th century text.

The Nun’s Priest’s Tale  –  Pneuma Ensemble

The earliest surviving “Rooster and Fox” fable is a short but ornate poem by Alcuin of York, court Latinist for Charlemagne. Centuries later, Marie de France wrote her own version, in anglo-norman, possibly for the court of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Centuries after that, Chaucer took the simple plot and spun it into the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale”, the most flamboyantly rhetorical and allusive of all his Canterbury Tales, a “merry tale.” Pneuma Ensemble, known for their interpretations of medieval performance works, present their “director’s cut” of Chaucer’s tale, a dramatic interpretation of all three, in original languages, with period musical accompaniment.


  • Friday, July 20:  8 pm
  • Saturday July 21:  2 pm and 8 pm


Majlis Art Garden, 163 Walnut Avenue


$15 / $10 senior & student. Cash only at the gate.

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Upcoming: Dame Sirith

Please note: the performance date for Dame Sirith at the New Chaucer Society banquet has changed to July 14. It will take place at Metro Library Epic Hall.

Public performances will take place July 20-22 at Majlis Art Garden. Show times will be announced shortly.

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Audition Call: Dame Sirith


Poculi Ludique Societas (PLS) presents

Dame Sirith

A short medieval Interlude

Poculi Ludique Societas (PLS), Toronto’s renowned medieval and renaissance players, is a non-profit, non-Equity theatre company affiliated with the University of Toronto, dedicated to the production of early plays for research and entertainment.

Performance dates:

  • New Chaucer Society banquet: July 13 2018
  • Public performances: July 20-22

Rehearsals will begin in mid June, schedule TBD depending on actors’ availability.

Dame Sirith is a very short, very silly comic medieval play for four actors: a randy priest, the gullible woman he lusts after, the old “witch” Dame Sirith, and the narrator / puppeteer who also plays a dog. The text has been “lightly modernized” from the original Middle English. After the first production as in mid July 2018, PLS plans to keep this show in our repertory for future performances in classrooms or for events, so we are looking for local, non-union Toronto actors who can be available with reasonable notice. Honoraria will be paid for all performances.

We are looking for diverse actors who are comfortable with speaking verse. There may be cross-gender casting. Clown or puppetry experience would be helpful, but not necessary.

Auditions: by appointment Thursday May 31, Friday June 1, Saturday June 2.

Please submit your photo and resume as soon as possible to director@plspls.ca (with subject line: Auditions) to arrange an audition time. Come prepared with a short monologue.

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You’re invited to PLS’s AGM on May 4

The Annual General Meeting of Poculi Ludique Societas will be held on Friday, May 4, 1-3pm, in Room 103 of the Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queen’s Park at the corner of Bloor and Avenue Rd. Come and hear what we’ve been up to, and what we’re planning for next year! Refreshments will be provided, and an agenda is enclosed.

David Klausner, Chair
Board of Directors


Annual General Meeting
1:00-3:00pm, May 4, 2018
LMB 103, 125 Queen’s Park, Toronto

  1. Welcome and Approval of 2017 Minutes: David Klausner, Chair
  2. Artistic Director’s Report: Linda Phillips
  3. Office Manager Report: Katherine Belyea
  4. Financial Report
    • Financial Statements for May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018
  5. 2017-2018 Season
    1. The Towneley Second Shepherds’ Play
    2. Performance at The New Chaucer Society 2018 Congress
  6. Update on Upcoming 2018-2019 Season
    1. Christmas show
    2. Marston’s The Dutch Courtesan co-production with Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
  7. Audience Development
  8. Plans for 2019 and Beyond
    • Kalamazoo 2019?
  9. Other Business
  10. Adjournment

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Dress rehearsal photos

Second Shepherds’ Play opens tonight! Here is a slide show of photos from the dress rehearsal. Hover the mouse over the picture and click on the arrows for the next or previous photo, and click on the photo to view it in a larger size.

Towneley Second Shepherds' Play (2017)

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Second Shepherds’ Play performances are this weekend!

It’s nearly here! The Second Shepherds’ Play runs this Friday (8pm), Saturday (8pm) and Sunday (2pm). Tickets will be available for cash at the door of the Luella Massey Studio Theatre (4 Glen Morris St) or can be reserved in advance. More information is available further down this page or on the Facebook event. See you there!

Please note that latecomers cannot be admitted.

Rehearsal photo with special guests…

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Second Shepherds’ Play poster

Rehearsals and preparations continue for Second Sheps! Here’s our lovely poster.


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Second Shepherds’ Play

Poculi Ludique Societas

The Towneley
Second Shepherds’ Play


  • Friday December 15, 8 pm
  • Saturday December 16, 8 pm
  • Sunday December 17, 2 pm


Luella Massey Studio Theatre, 4 Glen Morris Street


Special Christmas Prices: $15 adult / $10 senior / $5 student
Cash only.
Please note that latecomers cannot be admitted.


The Second Shepherds’ Play is one of the most popular medieval Biblical comedies, written by the anonymous author known as the Wakefield Master. Part of the collection of plays in the Towneley manuscript, it tells the story of the three shepherds who are the first people to hear the news of the miraculous birth of the Christ child. But the Angel only appears to them after a hilarious slapstick comedic romp involving the sheep-thief Mak and his wife Jill. This production is based on the modernized text by David Parry and directed by PLS Artistic Director Linda Phillips.

For more information, please visit the Facebook Event, plspls.ca or call 416-978-5096.


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