Welcome to Points Like A Man: The Shakespearean Breeches Performance Catalogue. This catalogue is a digital project aiming to curate records of individual Shakespearean breeches performances by actresses from 1660 to 1900.

Breeches roles are roles written as male characters but played by a woman actress, and disguise roles are women characters, played by women actresses, that disguise as men in the course of their play. Our database explores both kinds of roles.

Project Scope

We seek to collect records of Shakespearean breeches performances by actresses, inclusive of breeches and disguise roles, from 1660 to 1900. While breeches and disguise roles were performed and embodied before and after this period, it is during this period that the genre of breeches performance rose to immense prominence. Because of this, we focus on this 240-year time frame to study these roles.

Our project began by focusing on performances by actresses in London, but will seek to curate records of breeches performances from around the world. Our scope, therefore, is far-reaching. Because of this, though, we know we cannot be comprehensive in representing all breeches performances in total, but we will certainly do our best.

Project Goals

Each catalogue record features information about a particular breeches performance, including actress name, date of performance, type of role (breeches or disguise), role name, play name, theatre and location of theatre, and source of record. Beyond this preliminary information, each record will eventually aim to include supplementary links to digitized materials from the performance, including prompt books, playbills, and images or prints when available.

The aim of the catalogue is to provide a resource wherein students, researchers, and scholars can read about, explore, and study the rich genre of Shakespearean breeches performance. By way of the catalogue tags and search filters, readers can trace patterns from actresses, the various roles they played, and the theatres at which they played.

In addition to the performance records, this catalogue will also feature a bibliography of resources to study the genre of breeches performance further and short essays on case studies of performances.

Project History

This catalogue was launched in 2023 by Alexandra E. LaGrand as a digital capstone project for her graduate certificate in Digital Humanities at Texas A&M University. The research for this project has since been funded by Texas A&M’s Center of Digital Humanities Research and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Project Team

Editor: Alexandra E. LaGrand, Texas A&M University
Corpora Plugin Developer: Dr. Bryan Tarpley, Texas A&M University
Project Supervisor (Spring 2023): Dr. Laura Mandell, Texas A&M University
Technical Advisor (Spring/Summer 2023): Dr. Lauren Liebe, Penn State Brandywine
Project Advising (Fall 2022): Dr. Heidi Craig, University of Toronto Scarborough

Keep in Touch

Stay up-to-date with Points Like A Man by following us on Twitter at @pointslikeaman. Have suggestions or comments? Feel free to email us directly at pointslikeaman@gmail.com.