- skip - Brewer’s



Female characters used to be played by boys. Coryat, in his Crudities (1611), says, “When I went to a theatre (in Venice) I observed certain things that I never saw before; for I saw women acte… . I have heard that it hath sometimes been used in London” (Vol. ii.).

“Whereas, women’s parts in plays have hitherto been acted by men in the habits of women … we do permit and give leave for the time to come that all women’s parts be acted by women, 1662.”—Charles II.

The first female actress on the English stage was Mrs. Coleman (1656), who played Ianthe in the Siege of Rhodes.

The last male actor that took the part of a woman on the English stage, in serious drama, was Edward Kynaston, noted for his beauty (1619–1687).

previous entry · index · next entry


Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

previous entry · index · next entry

Act and Opponency
Act of Faith (auto da fé)
Act of God (An)
Actian Years
Action Sermon
Acu tetigisti
Ad Græcas Calendas. (Deferred)
Ad inquirendum
Ad libitum
Ad rem (Latin)
Ad unum omnes
Ad valorem
Ad vitam aut cuīpam