In this critical look at how homosexuality and homosexual acts have been represented in English plays since the 14th century, key plays and writers are examined against the historical and cultural backgrounds of each period. From morality plays to Marlowe to the Restoration, the author traces the emergence of camp and the desire to shock. The central section, on the emergence of "homosexual" theatre from Wilde to Orton, considers how leading writers depict the theme openly, by subversion or by the use of textual codes. It also looks at how lesbians took the stage. The book then discusses the decades since Orton in depth, covering agitprop, positive imaging and queer theatre.