The Shoemaker's Holiday


Writers: Thomas Dekker


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Time & Place
London, England
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, High School, Large Cast, Mostly Male Cast, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes young adult, mature adult, adult characters


The Shoemaker’s Holiday is a comedy by Thomas Dekker written during the reign of Elizabeth I in England. Dekker was a contemporary of Shakespeare, and you can feel the tone and energy of the time in this exciting play filled with love, miscommunication, humor, disguise, and war. The Shoemaker’s Holiday takes place during the reign of Henry VI when England is heading into war with France. A couple of aristocrats find themselves in a sticky situation; The Lord Mayor of London doesn’t want his daughter Rose to marry Rowland Lacy, who is the nephew to the Earl of Lincoln. The two young lovers are not of the same class, and this means that they are prohibited from marrying one another. However, Rose and Lacy will not acquiesce so easily. Lacy, who is called to war immediately decides not to go and instead disguises himself as a shoemaker and goes to work for a man named Simon Eyre. Lacy plans to lay low until he can get to his love and marry her against his uncle’s wishes. Meanwhile, a young soldier named Ralph, who is also a shoemaker with Eyre, has been sent off to war and his wife Jane awaits his return. When she catches the eye of a rich, but slimy Englishman named Hammon, she refuses to marry him unless he proves that her husband is dead. Hammon produces paperwork that claims her husband has been killed in the war, and she agrees to marry Hammon despite her grief. Ralph returns from war and discovers (through a well-planted pair of shoes) that his Jane is marrying someone else, and he and his fellow shoemakers plan to win Jane back. Simon Eyre has meanwhile become Lord Mayor, and when Lacy and Rose finally sneak away and elope, Eyre uses his new power to ask the King for a pardon. The King agrees to pardon them and everyone lives happily ever after.

Lead Characters

The Shoemaker's Holiday guide sections