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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The performance is not an illusionist copy of reality, its imitation; nor is it a set of conventions, accepted as a kind of deliberate game, playing at a seperate theatrical reality... The actor does not play, does not imitate, or pretend. He is himself.

Ludwik Flaszen Flaszen Grotowski's Laboratory

I am so used to seeing the sort of play which deals with one man and two women. They do not leave me with the feeling I have made a full theatrical meal they do not give me the experience of the multiplicity of life.

E.M. Forster


In my plays I want to look at life -- at the commonplace of existence -- as if we had just turned a corner and run into it for the first time.

Christopher Fry

If the nature of human experience changes with the color of a man's skin, then the racists have been right all along.

Athol Fugard The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

January, month of empty pockets! Let us endure this evil month, anxious as a theatrical producer's forehead.

Sidonie Gabrielle


A nation that does not support and encourage its theater is -- if not dead -- dying; just as a theater that does not capture with laughter and tears the social and historical pulse, the drama of its people, the genuine color of the spiritual and natural landscape, has no right to call itself theater; but only a place for amusement.

Federico Garcia Lorca

The arts are at the very center of community development in this time of change...change for the better. The frontier and all that it once meant in economic development and in the sheer necessity of building a nation is being replaced by the frontier of the arts. In no other way can Americans so well express the core and blood of their democracy; for in the communities lies the final text of the acceptance of the arts as a necessity of everyday life. In terms of American democracy, the arts are for everyone. They are not reserved for the wealthy, or for the well-endowed museum, the gallery, or the ever-subsidized regional professional theater. As America emerges into a different understanding of her strength, it becomes clear that her strength is in the people and the places where the people live. The people, if shown the way, can create art in and of themselves.

Robert Gard
General, Musical Theatre, Playwriting

If Hitler's still alive, I hope he's out of town with a musical. [variously attributed]

Larry Gelbart

If I am so insistent about the bright lights, both the stage and house lights, it is because I should in some way like both actors and audience to be caught up n the same illumination, and for there to be no place for them to hide, or even half-hide.

Jean Genet The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

One mustn't allow acting to be like stockbroker -- you must not take it just as a means of earning a living, to go down every day to do a job of work. The big thing is to combine punctuality, efficiency, good nature, obedience, intelligence, and concentration with an unawareness of what is going to happen next, thus keeping yourself available for excitement.

John Gielgud


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