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 41 - 80 of 404. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
Category Quote First Last Source
Directing

Most directors work from inside out and from the outside in. They concentrate not only on the life of the characters but also on the play's structrual or external elements, including its central conflict, function, event, architecture, and suspense.

Michael Bloom Thinking Like a Director: A Practical Handbook
Acting

Acting is experience with something sweet behind it.

Humphrey Bogart
General

Theatre is like a virus: once you get it you can't get rid of it.

Robin Boisseau http://www.hamptonu.edu/academics/schools/libarts/fparts/facultyandstaff.htm
Backstage

Beat to fit, paint to match.

Kate Bolgrien http://www.denagy.com/techiejokes/tjokes.html
Acting

Actors should be overheard, not listened to, and the audience is fifty percent of the performance.

Shirley Booth Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting, Directing

I think actors have a greater responsibility when doing comedy. It's as easy as anything to get cheap laughs, but that's not the idea at all. "The slight trip syndrome," we call it. With tragedy one can get away with things a bit more because audiences don't always know how to react.

Peter Bowles Richmond Magazine, April 2001
Acting

Acting, in general, is something most people think they're incapable of, but they do it from morning to night. The subtlest acting I've ever seen is by ordinary people trying to show they feel something they don't, or trying to hide something. It's something everyone learns at an early age.

Marlon Brando Newsweek, 13 March 1972
Acting

Nobody "becomes" a character. You can't act unless you are who you are.

Marlon Brando Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting

Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It's a bum's life. The principal benefit acting has afforded me is the money to pay for my psychoanalysis.

Marlon Brando
General

We need a type of theatre which not only releases the feelings, insights and impulses possible within the particular historical field of human relations in which the action takes place, but employs and encourages those thoughts and feelings which help transform the field itself.

Bertolt Brecht www.angelfire.com/dc/musicthea/Quotes.html
Directing

The work of rehearsal is looking for meaning and then making it meaningful.

Peter Brook
Directing, General

The purpose of theatre is... making an event in which a group of fragments are suddenly brought together... in a community which, by the natural laws that make every community, gradually breaks up... At certain moments this fragmented world comes together and for a certain time it can rediscover the marvel of organic life. The marvel of being one.

Peter Brook
Acting

Preparing a character is the opposite of building--it is a demolishing, removing brick by brick everything in the actor's muscles, ideas and inhibitions that stands between him and the part, until one day, with a great rush of air, the character invades his every pore.

Peter Brook
Fundraising

If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them.

Jeff Brooks
General

Theatergoing is a communal act, movie going a solitary one.

Robert Brustein http://izquotes.com/
General

The primary function of a theater is not to please itself, or even to please its audience. It is to serve talent.

Robert Brustein
Acting

The most important thing in acting is honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made.

George Burns Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting

When I was a fireman I was in a lot of burning buildings. It was a great job, the only job I ever had that compares with the thrill of acting.

Steve Buscemi http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre
Management

The core challenge for us as arts managers is to deal with change: changing external environmental conditions, evolving styles and approaches to the arts by our artists, advancements iin how we present and distribute our art to our ever-changing audiences, and the shifting competition for resources and attention.

William J. Byrnes Management and the Arts (Fifth Edition)
Acting

Walk in, plant yourself, look the other person in the eye, and tell the truth.

James Cagney Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting

First of all, I choose the great roles, and if none of these come, I choose the mediocre ones, and if they don't come, I choose the ones that pay the rent.

Michael Caine
Acting

I'm a skilled professional actor. Whether or not I've any talent is beside the point.

Michael Caine Film Yearbook, 1985
Acting

I don't care if people think I'm an overactor. People who think that would call Van Gogh an overpainter.

Jim Carey www.angelfire.com/dc/musicthea/Quotes.html
Directing

Don't let a single comic moment pass you by; then help the audience get the laughs. Give them permission to laugh by holding for laughter and by letting them know early on what they're in for. In the first few moments, the audience is gathering information, looking at the scenery and costumes. Create a comic moment as soon as you can.

James Carver Stage Directions Guide to Directing
Directing

In comedy, beware the split focus. The audience should focus on the face of the actor. The audience must see the setup. If there is action elsewhere on the stage, the comic line can be lost.

James Carver Stage Directions Guide to Directing
General

In is down, down is front. Out is up, up is back. Off is out, on is in. And of course, left is right and right is left. A drop shouldn't and a 'block and fall' does neither. A prop doesn't and a cove has no water. Tripping is okay. A running crew rarely gets anywhere . A purchase line buys you nothing. A trap will not catch anything. A gridiron has nothing to do with football. Strike is work (in fact, a lot of work). And a green room, thank God, usually isn't. Now that you're fully versed in theatrical terms, break a leg.

But not really.

Kerry Chafin https://suite.io/kerry-chafin/2nhw2w1
Acting

Onstage, you just have to tell the absolute truth about the character you are playing. You hope you communicate it, and you hope it comes back like a tennis ball. If you're listening to the sound of your own voice, nobody else is. The audience knows, and they freeze on you.

Carol Channing It Happened On Broadway
Acting

The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting.

Charles Chaplin
Playwriting

I swear fearfully at the conventions of the stage.

Anton Chekhov The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Playwriting

If there is a gun hanging on the wall in the first act, it must fire in the last.

Anton Chekhov http://www.ag.wastholm.net/category/art
Playwriting

The critics suppose that it is easy to write a play. They aren't aware that writing a good play is difficult and writing a bad one is twice as hard.

Anton Chekhov The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Playwriting

A good play tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad play tells us the truth about its author.

G.K. Chesterton http://www.ag.wastholm.net/category/art
Backstage, Management

Tell me and I'll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand.

Chinese Proverb
Costumes

Why don't I just give you some money, then you can buy whatever you want to wear on stage. You obviously want a shopper, and I am merely a designer. [said to an uncooperative actress during a costume fitting]

Nan Cibula-Jenkins The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Critics, Playwriting

Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don't like - then cultivate it. That's the only part of your work that's individual and worth keeping.

Jean Cocteau

http://www.quotegarden.com/critics.html

Acting

Whatever you do kid, always serve it with a little dressing.

George M. Cohan Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Fundraising

Appreciation can make a day--even change a life, Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.

Margaret Cousins http://www.museummarketingtips.com/quotes/giving.html
Acting

Acting is not a state of being ... but a state of appearing to be. You can't be eight times a week without going stark staring mad. You've got to be in control.

Noel Coward
General

The theatre should be treated with respect. The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment, a temple of illusion. What it most emphatically is not and never will be is a scruffy, ill-lit, fumed-oak drill hall serving as a temporary soap box for political propaganda.

Noel Coward www.musicals101.com/noelquot.htm
General

I will accept anything in the theatre . . . provided it amuses or moves me. But if it does neither, I want to go home.

Noel Coward http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre

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