Veteran British actress Alison Steadman's future in the theatre has been put in doubt after she was hit by a crippling bout of stage fright.

The Abigail's Party star reveals she has been turning down regular work over the last 18 months due to her nerves about treading the boards again, and she admits it could mark the end of her illustrious stage career.

She says, "I'm hoping my courage will come back. I have been offered a few things over the past 18 months and I haven't been able to face doing them for some reason.

"It happens to actors sometimes. It is one of those things. If I say to myself, 'You'll never do a stage play again and you'll just be on Tv and film' I get depressed.

"But at the moment I cannot see it happening. You are so vulnerable on stage. You have nobody to help you. Actors are always telling you, 'I was in this play and I forgot my lines and didn't know what to do and just walked around and around'. Actors have always got those concerns. Every actor forgets his lines at some point in his career and there are a million reasons why these things happen."

Steadman last appeared on stage in play Here in London in May, 2012, when the Michael Frayn production received largely negative reviews.