Compiled by Laura Shamas

Theatre tickets can be expensive. So how can you participate in #52playsbywomen if you’re on a budget?

If you are interested in learning more about plays written in other eras by female writers, there are quite a few free options available online. The list below of fifty free plays is just a start.

For more information about women playwrights of the past, please check out History Matters/Back To The Future. They have a terrific Library Page. And the plays of the writers listed on that page may purchased, as most are in anthologies or are published separately. And libraries, too, carry anthologies of plays.

(Note: If you’re interested in reading contemporary plays by women playwrights, you can join the New Play Exchange for a minimal yearly fee and read hundreds of plays online by women playwrights.)

FIFTY FREE PLAYS BY WOMEN PLAYWRIGHTS ONLINE

PRE-TWENTIETH CENTURY

Three Plays by Aphra Behn:

THE ROVER, (Pt. 1 [1677] & Pt. 2 [1681]);
THE DUTCH LOVER (1673);
THE ROUND-HEADS; OR THE GOOD OLD CAUSE (1681).

THE WITLINGS by Frances Burney (1779)

17 Plays by British Women Playwrights around 1800 :
Frances Burney LOVE AND FASHION (1799);
Hannah Cowley, THE RUNAWAY (1776);
Elizabeth Craven, THE GEORGIAN PRINCESS (1799);
Catherine Gore, KING O’NEIL (1835);
Elizabeth Inchbald, SUCH THINGS ARE (1788); THE MASSACRE (1792); THE WEDDING DAY (1794); WIVES AS THEY WERE AND MAIDS AS THEY ARE (1797); LOVERS’ VOWS (1798);
Harriet Lee, THE MYSTERIOUS MARRIAGE (1798);
Sophia Lee, ALMEYDA, QUEEN OF GRANADA (1796);
Mary Russell Mitford, CHARLES THE FIRST (1834);
Anne Plumptre, THE NATURAL SON (1798);
Elizabeth Polack, ESTHER (1835)
Jane Scott, WHACKHAM AND WINDHAM: or THE WRANGLING LAWYERS (1814);
Mariana Starke, THE SWORD OF PEACE (1788)
Lady Eglantine Wallace, THE TON, or FOLLIES OF FASHION (1788).

Five Plays by Susanna Centlivre:

THE PERJUR’D HUSBAND (1700)
THE BUSIE-BODY  (1709)
THE CRUEL GIFT, a tragedy  (1717)
A BOLD STROKE FOR A WIFE  (1718)
A BICKERSTAFF’S BURYING, a farce (1724)

5 Plays by Mercy Otis Warren:

THE ADULATEUR, a tragedy, as it is now acted in Upper Servia (1772)
THE BLOCKHEADS, a farce (1776)
THE DEFEAT (1773)
THE GROUP (1775)
THE MOTLEY ASSEMBLY, a farce (1779)

Two Plays by Anna Cora Mowatt:

FASHION (1845)
ARMAND or THE PEER AND THE PEASANT (1855)

TWENTIETH CENTURY

MISS LULU BETT by Zona Gale (1920)

TRIFLES by Susan Glaspell (1916)

Nine Plays by Lady Augusta Gregory:

Five Plays (1913): THE BOGIE MAN,
THE FULL MOON,
COATS,
DAMER’S GOLD,
MCDONOGH’S WIFE
WONDER’ Plays – THE DRAGON (1917),
ARISTOTLE’S BELLOWS (1921),
THE JESTER (1919)
THE UNICORN FROM THE STARS by Lady Augusta Gregory and W.B. Yeats (1908)

RACHEL by Angelina W. Grimké (1916)

A SUNDAY MORNING IN THE SOUTH by Georgia Douglas Johnson (1925)

BLACKOUT by Lawenda Jones (1994)

VOTES FOR WOMEN by Elizabeth Robins (1907)

RUTHERFORD AND SON by Githa Sowerby (1912)

MACHINAL by Sophie Treadwell (1928)

Any suggestions of plays with free links to add to this list? Please put it in the #52playsbywomen hashtag on Twitter and we will add it. Or e-mail us at: venusinorange (at)gmail (dot) com. Thanks.