A Man for all Seasons


Writers: Robert Bolt


Show Information

Number of Acts
Tony Award®
Best Play 1962
First Produced
Drama, Historical/Biographical
Period, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
England, 1530s
Cast Size
Orchestra Size
Ideal for
professional theatre, community theatre, religious organization, Professional Theatre, Ensemble Cast, Mostly Male Cast
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, mature adult, young adult, late teen characters


Playwright Robert Bolt had a long-standing fascination with the story of Sir Thomas More, an English statesman and lawyer who served as Lord High Chancellor of England under King Henry VIII. More fractured his relationship with the monarchy when he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy swearing allegiance to the monarchy as the head of the Church of England. He also refused to legitimize the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. The intrigue surrounding the plot to secure the divorce and More’s subsequent persecution is the basis of A Man for All Seasons. Narrated by a man identified only as Common Man (who also plays a number of ensemble parts), the play follows More as he is confronted by antagonistic forces like the powerful Cardinal Wolsey and the opportunistic Richard Rich. King Henry VIII himself makes an appearance as well, portrayed as a youthful drunkard burdened by sin but determined to overcome God’s punishment and secure an heir to the throne. With moments of rich humor and transparent theatricality, the play is an homage to the style of Bertolt Brecht that paints a portrait of More not as a heroic martyr but as a victim of his own sense of morality.

Lead Characters

A Man for all Seasons guide sections