The Roaring Girl

The Roaring Girl is a city comedy written by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker. The earliest printed edition that we know of is the 1611 quarto, printed by Nicholas Okes. It has been suggested that the play was composed in early 1611, and first performed in April/May of the same year (Mulholland,13). The main character, Moll Cutpurse, is distinguished and celebrated in the play for her competent navigation and interpretation of London’s spaces: she “achieves success by maneuvering through London’s spaces and by taking advantage of normative social practices. She flouts the idea of domestic enclosure, loiters in the streets, frequents badly reputed neighborhoods, and thwarts police actions. Her ability to navigate the city, suburbs, and in-between spaces of London demonstrates her urban competency, which no other character in the play matches” (Stage, 417).

the roaring girl title pageAlthough the printed edition of The Roaring Girl does not make any overt references to the theatre were the play was performed, Sir Alexander’s speech (I.II.14-32) makes specific references to the design of the Fortune Playhouse. As a result, it is clear that Middleton and Dekker at least intended the play to be performed at the Fortune.

A full digital edition of the play-text is available here.