Judith Shakespeare has one ambition: to be a playwright. When her debt-ridden father forces her into an engagement, she runs away with the help of dashing actor Ned Alleyn, hoping to join her brother in London. But when Judith arrives in the plague-stricken capital, she finds her brother gone, Ned engaged to another, and her play refused. Judith and the players confront poverty in the midst of economic depression, in a society where womens freedoms are curtailed, under a government confronting religious extremism in a climate of fear. Judith must choose between succumbing to social pressures, and following her dream, no matter what the cost.