From ArticleWorld

An actor is a person that acts in a performance. He usually acts in a theatre play but can also be involved in movies, television, radio or street entertainment. Female actors are known as actresses and the term “actor” can also be used for both male and female actors. This entertainer will play a character that can be:

  • Fictional – someone that does not or did not exist
  • Real – somebody that is or was real
  • Themselves – actors can perform as themselves in certain circumstances.


The first case of a person performing a part as an actor dates back to 534 BC. That was when Thespis (Greek performer) stepped on a stage and recited the first ever part from a play as an actor. Because of his performance actors are sometimes referred to as being Thespians. He revolutionized acting as prior to him acting the characters were played by use of songs and dancing and talked about in the third person narrative. The ancient and medieval periods showed only male actors. This is because women were not allowed to act as it was deemed disgraceful. Shakespeare’s era is the best example of a time where only men performed. Women started to be allowed to act around the 17th century. During the 20th century a quick development of theatre took place. The actor became more known and this is mainly because of the increase in popularity of films. Movie stars appeared and they quickly started to be so popular that the term “movie star” was created. Actors are now known across the world and some are considered role models by teenagers.

Women as men

Actresses sometimes perform the parts of men. This happens especially when there is a part of a boy to be acted. Women are much more similar to small boys than men. The first play that pointed this out was “Peter Pan”. In most cases a woman will play the role of the leading male boy. An adult will play a boy in theatre plays and only rarely in movies. Based on what the director says, in certain performances an actor will play opposed sex characters for creating a comic effect. Several male actors act female roles. As an example, Shakespeare’s plays have many circumstances that require a man to dress up as a woman. This is either dictated by the director or by the text itself. A popular part is that of Thisbe in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.