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.

Displaying 21 - 40 of 404. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
Category Quote First Last Source
Playwriting

Drama is based on the Mistake. I think someone is my friend when he really is my enemy, that I am free to marry a woman when in fact she is my mother, that this person is a chambermaid when it is a young nobleman in disguise, that this well-dressed young man is rich when he is really a penniless adventurer, or that if I do this such and such a result will follow when in fact it results in something very different. All good drama has two movements, first the making of the mistake, then the discovery that it was a mistake.

W.H. Auden
General, Playwriting

The theatre is a gross art, built in sweeps and over-emphasis. Compromise is its second name.

Enid Bagnold
Acting

Acted drama requires surrender of one's self, sympathetic absorption in the play as it develops.

George P. Baker http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/g/georgepba199310.html

A play is a series of actions. A play is not about action, nor does it describe action. Is a fire about flames? Does it describe flames? No, a fire is flames. A play is action. Why do you think actors are called actors? And action in a play occurs when something happens that makes or permits something else to happen.

David Ball Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays
Acting

It's one of the tragic ironies of the theatre that only one man in it can count on steady work -- the night watchman.

Tallulah Bankhead Tallulah: My Autobiography
Acting

If you want to help the American theatre, don't be an actress, be an audience.

Tallulah Bankhead Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Playwriting

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 http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre
Acting

Acting is a matter of giving away secrets.

Ellen Barkin
General

I don't see why people want new plays all the time. What would happen to concerts if people wanted new music all the time?

Clive Barnes
Acting

The theatre has built a whole art round the actor, based on the man and his double - the actor and his character.

Jean-Louis Barrault http://www.satheatre.com/quotes.htm
Acting

An actor is a sculptor who carves in snow.

Lawrence Barrett http://www.satheatre.com/quotes.htm
Playwriting

I haven't really written my plays and books -- I've heard them. The stories are there already, singing in your genes and in your blood.

Sebastian Barry
Acting

For an actress to be a success she must have the face of Venus, the brains of Minerva, the grace of Terpsichore, the memory of Macaulay, the figure of Juno, and the hide of a rhinoceros.

Ethel Barrymore George Jean Nathan: The Theatre in the Fifties
Costumes, Set Design

Be daring, be different, be impractical; be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. Routines have their purposes, but the merely routine is the hidden enemy of high art. [Advice to theatrical designers,]

Cecil Beaton The Secret of How to Startle Theatre Arts May 57
Lighting

Lights are to drama what music is to the lyrics of a song. The greatest part of my success in the theatre I attribute to my feeling for colors, translated into effects of light.

David Belasco The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting, Playwriting

A play has two authors, the playwright and the actor.

Eric Bentley In Search of Theater
General, Management

Someone once said that being an artistic director is the intelligent exercise of one's own taste. And that is what I believe with all my heart and soul. If you start second-guessing yourself in advance, I think you're done for.

Andre Bishop The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
General

If politics is the art of the possible, theatre is the art of the impossible.

Herbert Blau The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Directing

The truth is that there is no one accepted method for directing, any more than there is for any other art. How a director fares is greatly dependent on who that person is, his collaborators, and the project at hand. To complicate matters, the relationship between product and process isnt't always a direct and causal one. Some directors work themselves to the bone, while others do very little. Paradoxically, they achieve successes and failures in both categories. But it would be naive not to believe that most successful productions occur because of the intensive efforts of a skilled director.

Michael Bloom Thinking Like a Director: A Practical Handbook
Directing

In the most basic terms, the director is a production's primary storyteller. A play has only one plot (including subplots), but it contains many potential stories. The interpretation of the primary characters largely determines the story, so in effect, every production of the same play will inevitably tell a different tale. One of the most important functions a director fulfills is determining, with the actors and designers, which story to tell and how to tell it coherently.

Michael Bloom Thinking Like a Director: A Practical Handbook

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