An online performance of Sapientia by Hrosvitha – May 1st

On May 1st you can listen to a performance of the play Sapientia, written by the 10th-century canoness Hrosvitha. Brought to you by Theatre out of the Shadows.

Sapientia and her three daughters are newly arrived in Rome to spread the word about God. But words are weapons. The emperor Hadrian decrees they must be stopped. After cajoling and entreating fail, the most brutal tortures and humiliations ever devised are brought to bear on the children. Can the martyr’s palm prevail against the might of Rome? Where does true power lie – with the armies of an empire or in the belief in the hearts of young children?*


We’ll be presenting the play in the form of an audio drama. A no-holds-barred version, featuring the full brutality of the work on May 1st at 12:01 AM and a more toned-down PG version at 12:01 PM (links to both versions will be live for 12 hours).

Sapientia is part of the Theatre Out of The Shadows Festival, celebrating classical female playwrights. Tickets available here:


Hrotsvitha, also known as Roswitha was a historian, dramatist and poet from the Ottonian Dynasty. She is the first known female playwright. Working in Latin, she wrote legends, comedies and plays. After their initial presentations, Hrotsvitha’s plays were mostly forgotten until 1500 when they were rediscovered by German scholar Corradus Celtis. Hrotsvitha’s works presented a Christian alternative to the pagan writings of Roman playwright Terence. Where Terence told stories about women who were weak and morally corrupt, Hrothsvitha’s focused on virtuous women with strong faith and who persevered through adversity. Deeply influenced by Latin and Greek legends of the early church, Hrotsvitha’s plays explore themes of sacrifice and martyrdom. As one of few women to have written about her life during the Middle Ages, Hrotsvitha’s work provides one of the only first-hand perspectives of women from that time.


*This content may be disturbing to some due to the brutality of the subject matter and language used. Topics involving abuse, violence and torture in the name of religion are included in this work. Discretion is advised.

Click here to see more from Theatre out of the Shadows


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