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