Theatre Quotes | AACT

Theatre Quotes

Words to the Wise
Quotations from a wide range of theatrical perspectives

For use in newsletters, season or fundraising brochures or emails, presentations--you name it.

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7 tips to reduce stage fright: (1) Shift the focus from yourself and your fear to your true purpose: contributing something of value to your audience. (2) Stop scaring yourself with thoughts about what might go wrong. Instead, focus your attention on thoughts and images that are calming and reassuring. (3) Refuse to think thoughts that create self-doubt and low confidence. (4) Practice ways to calm and relax your mind and body, such as deep breathing, relaxation exercises, yoga, and meditation. (5) Try to limit caffeine, sugar, and alcohol as much as possible. (6) Visualize your success: Always focus on your strength and ability to handle challenging situations. (7) Give up trying to be perfect and know that it is OK to make mistakes. Keyword=stagefright

Janet Esposito


A cat actually thinks visibly. If you watch him jump on a shelf, the wish to jump and the action of jumping are one and the same thing... It's in exactly the same way that all Brook's exercises try to train the actor. The actor is trained to become so organically related within himself, he thinks completely with his body. He becomes one sensitive, responding whole... The whole of him is one.

John Heilpern

A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.

Kenneth Tynan New York Times Magazine, Jan 9. 1966

A dramatic experience concerned with the mundane may inform but it cannot release; and one concerned essentially with the aesthetic politics of its creators may divert or anger, but it cannot enlighten.

David Mamet

A dramatist is one who believes that the pure event, an action involving human beings, is more arresting than any comment that can be made upon it.

Thornton Wilder
General, Musical Theatre

A flop is often the result of the fact that each of the talents involved, while working on the same project, may in effect have been working on a different show from all the others. If all contributors do not share the same vision of the evening, the end product will not evince the harmony of diverse elements--the seeming inevitability of book, score, and staging--of a good musical.

Ethan Mordden Not Since Carrie

A fool cannot be an actor, though an actor may act a fool's part.


A good actor makes clear the meaning of the words. A better actor gives also the emotion of the part. The best actor adds emotion of which the character is unconscious.

Clare Eames The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation.

Ring Lardner The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

A good play is a play which when acted upon the boards make an audience interested and pleased. A play that fails in this is a bad play.

Maurice Baring


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