by  Mark Ravenhill

Full Length Play, Dark Comedy  /  3m, 3f

"In Shopping and Fucking, Mark Ravenhill made theatre relevant to the Thatcher generation. Now he's put videos and Net-surfing in Faust. And it's no less stunning" (Guardian)

Read more +
License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 3f
  • Duration


    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


    Adaptations (Literature)
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Twenty-eight years before The Importance of Being Earnest, a young woman gives birth to a baby boy. Is it an accident when Nanny places him in a handbag and her unpublished novel into the pram? In 1998 a new baby is stolen and an academic discovers an unpublished novel of more than usual revolting sentimentality. From Victorian wet nurses to 90s sperm banks, Mark Ravenhill's play examines the role of parenting in an age of diverse sexualities, biological engineering and Tinky Winky's handbag.
Read more +



"A promising idea awaits dramatic payoff in 'Handbag,' the Mark Ravenhill play that — whatever else its achievements — confirms that the author of 'Shopping and Fucking' is no one-play wonder." - Variety, Read More

"Handbag entertainingly and sometimes jarringly explores the timeless search for love, acceptance and meaning in what’s often an unwelcoming world." - Washington BladeRead More 

"There are few stage authors writing more interestingly than Mark Ravenhill ...He is - it is now yet more evident - a searing, intelligent, disturbing sociologist with a talent for satirical dialogue and a flair for sexual sensationalism." - Financial Times


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Drugs Drugs
  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    This title is currently restricted in London, please contact the Licensing Department for further details.



  • Time Period: 1990s, Victorian (British and American)
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: London, in both the 1990s and the 1860s


3m, 3f
See all +

Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)

Casting Notes

Five of the roles are double-casted and feature two gay couples.

Note from Mark Ravenhill: I'm happy for any of the parts to be played by whoever, whatever gender. The gendered casting is only a suggestion and the parts are open to anyone wherever they are on the gender spectrum.


Available Services



Mark Ravenhill

Mark Ravenhill was born in Haywards Heath, West Sussex in 1966. He studied Drama and English at Bristol University. His first play Shopping and Fucking was produced by Out of Joint and the Royal Court Theatre in 1996. Subsequent plays include Faust Is Dead and Handbag (both Actors Touring Company), Some Explicit Pola ...

View full profile

First performed at the Lyric Hammersmith Studio, London, in 1998 and was commissioned by the Actors Touring Company.

Now Playing

Community Experiences