‘The Belle’s Stratagem’

The Belle’s Stratagem, which was written by the playwright Hannah Cowley (1743-1809), is a romantic comedy of manners. It was premiered at the Drury Lane theatre in 1780, and was Cowley’s most successful work. The play drew its name from George Farquhar’s The Beaux’ Stratagem.


Cowley, an English dramatist and poet, has been described as “very before her time” in writing strong and intelligent female characters.


In February and March 2018, a new production of The Belle’s Stratagem, adapted and directed by Tony Cowley, was staged at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.



George Fairfull-Smith, January 2020.