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Updated: Jun 13

1564 - 1593

The circumstances surrounding the fatal stabbing of British playwright Christopher Marlowe on 30th May 1593 have often been debated. Some say it was a simple bar brawl over the payment of a bill, others suggest it was an assassination ordered by Queen Elizabeth I, while some point to it being a dispute over a boy. Both in life and death, Marlowe, a contemporary and friend of William Shakespeare, sparked controvery and speculation about his sexuality.

Marlowe, a successful and popular playwright and poet, was often in trouble with the law, particularly on account of him being an atheist and suspected spy. His plays include The Tragicall History of Doctor Faustus (1592) and Edward II (1592), a work about King Edward in which Marlowe appears to encourage the audience to interpret the relationship between the king and nobleman Piers Gaveston as homosexual.

In March 2017, the British Library in London put on display a document written by Richard Baines, and Elizabethan double agent and Catholic priest, who claims that Marlowe declared Jesus Christ was gay. The document also states that Marlowe believed the only purpose of religion was to intimidate people and that 'all they that love not tabacco and boys were fools.'

Our Dunfermline seniors film a scene from Edward II...

In this scene, Queen Isabella voices her concerns about the relationship between the king and Piers whilst her advisors insist on banishing Gaveston from the kingdom.


Modern scholars still look for evidence of collaborations between Marlowe and other writers. In 2016, one publisher was the first to endorse the scholarly claim of a collaboration between Marlowe and the playwright William Shakespeare:

  • Henry VI by William Shakespeare is now credited as a collaboration with Marlowe in the New Oxford Shakespeare series, published in 2016. Marlowe appears as co-author of the three Henry VI plays.

How do you rate the following?...


The Hollow Crown - BBC iPlayer


Source: 365 Gays of the Year - Lewis Laney


Make sure you are booked in for this week's DRAMA CLASSES

Mix Up Theatre provide drama classes Online for anyone aged 12-18 (can be based anywhere!)

and in-person drama classes for ages 3-18 throughout Scotland.

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