In France and Italy the relationship between Renaissance neoclassical criticism and theatrical practice is well known; in England, however, the place of the stage and the place of criticism are felt to have been distinct. English dramatists, we are told, rejected the Aristotelian unities of time and place. This paper will argue, rather, that non-allegorical English drama shares with neoclassical criticism an interest in techniques for implying times, places and actions beyond those enacted onstage. Drawing on Quintilian, Erasmus, Ludovico Castelvetro, William Scott and others, and on a range of plays, it will show how a neoclassical critical discourse on evidentia and on the circumstantial topics of time, place, motive, etc. contributed to a more complex integration of diegetic or ‘unscene’ dimensions of dramatic action, enabling dramatists to imply passion, character, causality and, indeed, a wholly imaginary dramatic ‘world’ beyond the stage.