This July Fred Theatre is presenting a recently discovered Restoration comedy that hasn’t been seen on stage for more than three centuries.

The Dutch Lady turned up in a manuscript buried in the bowels of Boston public library, in the USA. So far the play remains anonymous.

Forgotten for over three centuries, in February 2017, Dr Joe Stephenson of Abilene Christian University (Texas) began working on the manuscript, and his edition of The Dutch Lady is forthcoming in 2018.


Joe kindly gave Fred access to the script and we’re delighted to be giving it its first recorded public performances in July in Stratford upon Avon, London and Birmingham.

Joe says: “We’ve all heard of manuscripts being “discovered”—of course, they’re not discovered but “noticed”. I never thought I would be the guy to notice a play that no one’s ever heard of and work on it for the first time. 

“The play was written to be put on stage, and my continuing research will incorporate what we learn this summer during Fred Theatre’s production.”

Robert Ball, Fred Theatre’s artistic director says: “It’s a superb play, following the exploits of Fuscara, the eponymous Dutch Lady, to marry her way out of financial difficulties. There are additional sub-plots, and very many laughs along the way.

“We’re having a great time rehearsing the play, discovering all the humour, fleshing out wonderful characters that will be new to everyone seeing the show. It’s big, bold, lively and with all the much loved traits of a Restoration comedy. Fred’s production will honour the play whilst presenting it in an accessible way.

“I’m really excited to be working on a play not seen on stage in more that three centuries—and it’s great fun! Can’t wait now to welcome the audiences.”

The production has secured support from a range of sources including The Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham), Abilene Christian University and members of the public via a successful crowdfunding campaign.


The Dutch Lady can be seen at:

The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford upon Avon, 6-7 July at 19:00

The Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone, London, 9 July at 18:00

Stan’s Cafe Theatre, Birmingham, 11-12 July at 19:00


See the What’s On page for dates and booking information


Pictured is Georgia Christodoulou who is playing Fuscara, the Dutch lady.