The First Actress

The First Actress

This image shows Nancy Price playing Margaret Hughes, one of the first actresses to be seen on the professional British stage.

This one act play called The First Actress was presented by the Pioneer Players at the Kingsway Theatre in 1911. The Pioneer Players was made up of members of the Actresses' Franchise League, a group set up in 1908 to help gain women the right to vote.

The story of Margaret Hughes was an appropriate choice. When Hughes became an actress after the Restoration of the monarchy in the 17th century, she found herself aggressively criticised by some audience members, and by many of her male colleagues. The modern actresses also came in for criticism for their 'propaganda' as contemporary reviews show. However the League boasted some very prestigious actresses among its numbers including Ellen Terry who played Nell Gwyn in this production.