Prisoner of Zenda

A Romantic Swashbuckler
Based upon the Romantic Adventure Classic by Anthony Hope
Co-authored by Elizabeth Ferns 

Jo Walton

Jo Walton,
award winning author of "Among Others",
"Tooth and Claw", and "The King's Peace"

"The timeless classic novel by Anthony Hope won such reviewer praise as: "This (novel) is a romp; princesses are beautiful, heroes are honourable, villains twirl their moustaches and live in awesome double castles with dungeons and drawbridges."

Prisoner of Zenda

Prisoner of Zenda

The Prisoner of Zenda dramatizes the perilous and romantic adventures of Rudolf Rassendyll, an English gentleman, in the fictional kingdom of Ruritania. When a seditious plot threatens the king of Ruritania, Rassendyll, who bears a striking physical resemblance to His Royal Highness, is called upon to impersonate him.

Despite an initial reluctance to play the role, Rassendyll eventually masterminds a counterplot to save the king. With the aid of stalwart Colonel Sapt and Fritz von Tarlenheim, he vanquishes the king's power-hungry half-brother Michael, and matches wits, as well as swords, with Michael's henchman, the devilishly suave Rupert of Henzau.

Matters become more complicated, as Rassendyll, in royal guise, falls in love with the king's betrothed, Princess Flavia, and she with him. After a passionate exchange of vows, Flavia faces up to her obligations to her country and the restored king, and Rassendyll gallantly sacrifices his one true love for duty and honour.

Romantic intrigue and swashbuckling adventure take center stage as the playwrights present the first, full-scale stage version of this classic in almost a century. Produced on a generic, open set, The Prizoner of Zenda features an array of characters that may be played by 12 actors, with optional extras. Major scenes include a coronation, a state ball and a climactic sword fight.


There are a number of ways to purchase this script.

Play Description

Full-Length Play
Romantic Swashbuckler
Single Generic Set
2 Acts
90 minutes

Time Period - 1894

Settings Of Play - Play takes place in the fictitious, European kingdom of Ruritania. All action, whether in a palace, ballroom, hunting lodge or dungeon, takes place on a single generic set.

Stage Combat

Mood Music

Period Costumes

Gun Shots

Friendship & loyalty, love & honour, good vs evil, duty, greed

Adult, Senior, Teen and families

College Theatre, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


12 actors (with doubling), extras (if desired)

Rose Burlesdon (f)
Rudolf Rassendyll (m)
Robert Burlesdon (m)
George/Georgina Featherly (flex)
Antoinette de Mauban (f)
Frits Von Tarlenheim (m)
Colonel Sapt (m)
Rudolf V (m)
Joseph/Josefina (flex)
Archbishop (m)
Princess Flavia (f)
Rupert of Henzau (m)
Black Michael (m)
Detchard (flex)
Butler (flex)
Johan/Johanna (flex) 

Color blind casting, Minority casting, Parts for senior actors, doubling available.

Even though the cast list numbers 16 characters, these roles may be played by as few as 12 actors. Further, although the casting notes call for only 3 female parts, there are a number of characters in the cast list that could be played by female performers.

N/A (Not a musical)

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Concord Theatricals


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Playwrights Guild of Canada


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Dark Porch Publishing


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"Thom Bennett is the most versatile writer I know. "
Melodie Campbell, winner of the Derringer and Arthur Ellis awards

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