The Actress (Quilter)

by  Peter Quilter

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  2m, 5f

The Actress dramatises the events backstage as a colourful, complicated actress makes her emotional farewell performance. Various people from her life invade her dressing room to say their goodbyes, declare their love, roar with laughter, spit insults, grab a final embrace, and renew old battles.

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The Actress (Quilter)

by  Peter Quilter

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 5f
  • Duration


    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre


    Romantic Comedy
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

“The last show is always a very strange affair. It’s like a party, a great buzz of excitement. But then each actor will leave, with laughter still ringing in the air and a cheery wave. Then it stops. And as you watch each of them walk down the street, they look terribly lonely. That’s the thing about it, you see. After all the applause and elation, we walk home alone. And that’s who actors are - the happiest, saddest people you’ll ever meet.”

A touching and hilarious comedy about an actress making her farewell performance...

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"The audience was thrilled and greatly moved by the show" - Dez Minutos de Arte 

"A huge success...  The applause just didn't want to end...The play is full of witty dialogue that is also philosophically profound...A smart, intelligent and very amusing play." - The Mercury

"This play is so rich...Quilter's characters ring true" - Woodinville Weekly



Performing Groups

  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance



  • Time Period: Not Applicable
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting:

    A dressing room backstage at a theatre.  The time period is flexible.

  • Additional Features: Physical Comedy
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes


2m, 5f

LYDIA MARTIN - the actress (In her late 40s, 50s, or 60s.)
KATHERINE - her dresser
CHARLES - her elderly fiancee
HARRIET - her agent
NICOLE - her daughter (20s or early 30s)
PAUL - Nicole's father
MARGARET - the company manager


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Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)



Peter Quilter

Peter Quilter’s plays have been produced in forty countries around the world and translated into thirty languages. He has had three successful shows in London’s West End, a hit run on Broadway, and has twice been nominated for the Olivier Award - for Best New Play and Best New Comedy. His work has been produced at som ...

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The Actress had its world premiere at the Woodinville Repertory Theatre in September 2014. It has since had productions in Germany, Brazil, Russia and the UK, and will shortly tour Australia. 

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