Hannah Snell: Female Warriorphotophotophotophotophotophotophoto
home  |  writing  | editing  | film theatre/performance  |  upcoming   |  bio  |  contact    

Alone on stage, a gaunt figure in a tattered asylum gown and a threadbare navel jacket shuffles unsurely, then straightens up to address the curious spectators who've paid a penny to gawk at the inmates of Bedlam.

In 1747, bereft of her baby daughter and abandoned by a no good husband, Hannah Snell stomped across gender constraints, donned her brother-in-law's uniform and  boarded the Swallow as a member of the Royal Marines, where she served for three years as a man. Forty-four years later Snell was committed to London's notorious Bethlem Hospital where she died in 1792, aged sixty-nine


Hannah Snell: Female Warrior or Hannah in Bedlam is a developing work that seeks to dramatize the remarkable life of Hannah Snell as well as document the historial lineage of gender-shifters, who have always been among us.  The work received a development grant from the Ontario Arts Council in 2006.



"T'was not for love n'a glory. T'was for revenge! N' th' preservation o' me life!

Wha' was there ta' do but shed th' prison o' me sex, change me name, n' thus pursue th' scoundrel that condemn'd me?!"

      "In a word, gentlemen, I am as much a woman as my mother ever was, and my real name is Hannah Snell."
-The Female Soldier (1750)

Production History

2007 produced as part of the Windsor Feminist Theatre's  Choices Project. Performed by christina starr and directed by Eleanor Piotrowski

2009 produced as Hannah in Bedlam at the Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts, Toronto, ON. Performed by christina starr and directed by Esther Jun. 

2010, an excerpt, "Bargain with the Devil," included in the Loud & Queer Cabaret, by Guys in Disguise and Workshope West Theatre, Edmonton   AB.