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Why Seven Stages?

Because there is no one convenient word for everybody who works in the theatre, whether as playwright or composer, producer or manager, actor, singer or dancer.

Why these particular great figures whose stories are told in these pages?

First, because they represent between them all the arts of the theatre.

Secondly, because these men and women from different countries remind us that the stage-door stands open to both sexes and all nationalities.

And thirdly, these seven lives link up to give an outline of theatrical history at all its greatest and most colourful periods: our celebrated characters are seen against famous settings — among them the Elizabethan playhouse, the Paris and Versailles of Louis the Fourteenth, and Drury Lane in the eighteenth century.

But perhaps the best reason of all for selecting these great men and women, is that as human beings, they held a great interest and their lives, both in and outside the theatre, are truly fascinating.