Rogues & Vagabonds

Rogues & Vagabonds is an exuberant blend of Shakespeare in Love and The Breakfast Club.

The full-length, 3-act, stageplay takes place in Civil War-torn, 1642 London, backstage at the fictional theatre, the Merrie Fool.

The young adult cast consists of four strong-willed young women, ages 15-17, and three spirited young men, 16-17, all of whom are approaching adulthood, hell-bent on personal triumphs, unaware of the private, personal and political obstacles heading their way.

Link to Preview Script available at the Dramatist’s Guild’s New Play Exchange 


The Cast of Characters

In pre-Restoration England, both theatrical tradition and the statutes of law forbadd women from appearing on the English stage, much to the chagrin of stage-struck Ellen Stirling, a fiery young woman who has grown up backstage with her famous father.  Now, her arrogant, less-capable twin brother, Ned Stirling, is set to make his stage debut and is in love with Ellen’s best friend, Meg Wyatt, who desperately wants to be a playwright, as beloved and prolific as her father–a blasphemous ambition for a woman. Philip Somerton, Ellen’s dearest love, plans to leave his Oxford college to join his father, the Earl of Leighton, in King Charles’ army in its fight against a parliament in open rebellion.  Julia Wharton is forced to disguise herself as a boy to help her infirm father hold onto his stage-keeper job by creating his stage effects for him, forever fearful her secret will be discovered, landing them both in the streets of London. Alec Barlow is a multi-talented young actor, singer, juggler, jig-dancer, comedian, best friend to Ned and enamored of Ellen. All hell breaks loose when Charity Browne, a determinedly pious young Puritan, is thrust into their midst at a time when tragedy strikes and everyone must take sides.    

PRODUCTION HISTORY & Upcoming Performances


  • Bag & Baggage Theatre
    • Workshop Reading-March 30, 2018
    • Hillsboro, OR                                        


  • Hillsboro Actor’s Repertory Theatre
    • Hillsboro, OR
    • Jan & Mar 1996
  • Harrisburg High School
    • Harrisburg, OR
    • March 2000
  • Hillsboro High School
    • Hillsboro, OR
    • April/May 2013
    • October 2001l
The Action

The year is 1642, the eve of the English Civil War: and as the story opens the Puritan Parliament officially denounces stageplays as ‘… spectacles of lascivious Mirth and Levity,’ closes down the theatres, and condemns actors as ‘rogues and vagabonds.’ Though breaching the new law may bring dire consequences, each character mounts their own private and ever more public rebellion against family, friends and enemies of the state. Recklessly resourceful, and keenly impassioned in their disparate causes, each faces issues that are just as relevant to young people in today’s political and social climate: freedom of expression, feminism, intolerance, individualism. Tempers are tossed and hearts left aching as each struggles with disappointments, sorrow and forever-partings. Loyalties are tested and expectations mature as the young people confront their own fears and form unexpected alliances against unanticipated enemies. And learn that tolerance, just like friendship and honor, is a two-way street.


Staging Requirements

With few props, Rogues & Vagabonds can be played in the plainest Elizabethan costumes, on a bare stage, from a single trunk, or the set can be as realistic as the individual production allows.

  • SCENE — Backstage at the Merrie Fool, a popular London playhouse.

A typical backstage area, cluttered with the leavings of a recent rehearsal: costume pieces, props, drapery, a paper mache rock, banners, swords, an ornate chair, crates and barrels There is one exit Up, leading to the stage, and one each at left and right, leading to other areas of the building.

  • TIME — September to December 1642