Getting Into the Act is a vigorous and refreshing account of seven female playwrights who, against all odds, enjoyed professional success in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Ellen Donkin relates fascinating, disturbing tales about the male theatre managers to whom they were indebted, and the trials and prejudices they endured, ranging from accusations of plagiarism to sexual harassment. This scarred and turbulent early history still resonates in the late twentieth-century: women still occupy only a marginal proportion of the playwriting profession. A female playwright may no longer be a contradiction in terms or an offence to feminine modesty, but she is still battling with a hazardous occupation for a woman. Getting Into the Act is entertaining and informative reading for anyone, from scholar to general reader, who is interested in the history and gender politics of the stage.