Acting great DAME HELEN MIRREN suffers from stage fright, despite 40 years treading the boards.

The CALENDAR GIRLS star, 60, has been performing in the theatre since she began her acting career with Britain's National Youth Theatre (NYT) in the 1960s.

Despite growing more famous over the decades, Mirren admits the fame and accolades she receives, only propel her anxiety further.

She says, "I do actually get stage fright. If anything it gets worse because you have a great sense of responsibility both to yourself and your audience.

"You know that the expectation is there and you don't want to disappoint. But it's not every night, and only for the first few performances - certainly not when the critics are there."

When Mirren is starring in a play, she admits she is so strict over her voice, she refuses to party.

She explains, "I used to go out late at night and party, but now I'm afraid of losing my voice."