This article considers ways in which contemporary feminist theatre-makers respond to Shakespeare by reviewing the performance and production histories of two recent theatre pieces – a new play by Bryony Lavery, and an innovative staging of Hamlet by Jane Prendergast. Drawing on interviews with participants and observation of rehearsals for Ophelia, Jane de Gay looks at the practical issues faced by performers and directors as they explored issues of gender in Shakespeare's plays and characters. She also builds on her own research interest in intertextuality to look at the issues which arise when women writers attempt to ‘rewrite’ Shakespeare, whether by adapting his plays for performance or by writing new texts which allude and respond to them. Jane de Gay is Researcher with the Open University ‘Gender, Politics, and Performance’ Research Project, with whose chair, Lizbeth Goodman, she has edited The Routledge Reader in Gender and Performance (1998). She was also a major contributor to Feminist Stages, edited by Goodman, a collection of interviews with women in contemporary British theatre, published by Harwood in 1996.