Background Artiste

by  Stephen Smith

Short Play, Comedy  /  2m, 3f

Mary decides to spice up her life and join Alfredo Leache's Background Artistes Agency. But spending just a short time in the office Mary learns that being a walk-on artiste isn't all glamour.

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Background Artiste

by  Stephen Smith

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 3f
  • Duration


    40 minutes
  • Accolades


    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Mary decides to spice up her life and join Alfredo Leache's Background Artistes Agency. But spending just a short time in the office Mary learns that being a walk-on artiste isn't all glamour. She faces the eccentric, elderly couple Walter and Enid, who pepper their speech with malapropisms, but later reveal their true surprising identity; secretary Jessica, who ceaselessly acts out her ambition to be an air hostess; and Alfred, the tireless boss who works hard for his actors against the odds. Full of playful and lively repartee, this humorous play can performed by itself or in a double bill with its sequel ON LOCATION.

Written well before Ricky Gervais's Extras this, and its sister play ON LOCATION, tap into the rich vein of life as an film extra and is based on the author's interview and subsequent career in the business during the late 1990s.

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Review of Background Artist and On Location by Nick Warburton

`Stephen`s great strengths as a writer are to be found in the sharp portrayal of his characters and in genuinely funny dialogue.`

`Like his other plays, these pieces are based on Stephen Smith`s own experience - in this case as a `background artiste` on a film set - and his acute observation of this world is informative and rewarding`

` Here, true to form, we had vividly colourful characters that provided us with many laughs`




Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £30 per performance plus VAT when applicable.



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: 40 minutes
  • Setting: The offices of Alfredo Leache Artistes. Alfred`s desk, UR, littered with various papers and files. On the desk is a telephone and under the telephone is a Yellow Pages directory. In front of the desk is a chair for Alfred`s clients. UC is jessica`s desk, equally untidy. On the desk, amongst the clutter, there is a telephone; a note pad and pen; a Cosmopolitan magazine and various directories, files and desk dairies. DL is a small coffee table with three chairs around it. On the table there are back copies of The Stage newspaper. Against the back wall C, there is a filing cabinet and some boxes. On the back wall R, there is a large display of photos of all the actors the agency represents and L, there is a noticeboard with theatrical posters and newspaper cuttings on it. All entrances ansd exits are made through the door L.
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)


2m, 3f
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast


Available Services



Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith started writing plays in 1985 and has so far had sixteen published. He either directs or appears in every play and has won numerous Best New Play Awards. His plays have been produced not only throughout the UK but in many overseas countries as well with Parentcaft translated into ...

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First performance March 29th 1999 at Sawston Drama Festival, Cambridgeshire and directed by the author

On November 15th 2000 premiere performance with On Location in a double bill entiltled Lights Camera Action

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