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 81 - 120 of 404. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
Category Quote Firstsort descending Last Source
Playwriting

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 http://www.satheatre.com/quotes.htm
Acting

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
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
Shakespeare

Brush up your Shakespeare
Start quoting him now
Brush up your Shakespeare
And the women you will wow

Cole Porter Kiss Me, Kate (musical)
Acting, Directing

All action in theatre must have inner justification, be logical, coherent, and real.

Constantin Stanislavski
Acting

The secret of staying fresh in a show is to remember that the audience you're playing for that night has never seen it before.

Danny Kaye
General

The world is a complicated place, and there's a lot of division between people. The performing arts tend to unify people in a way nothing else does.

David Rubenstein
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
Playwriting

I've taught both screenwriting and playwriting, and playwriting is both much harder and much more rewarding. One can teach people how to tell a story in cinematic ways, but theater is a much more elusive craft.

David Ives http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/david_ives.html
Playwriting

Writing a play, you start with less, so more is demanded of you. It's as if you have to not only write a symphony, but invent the instruments as well.

David Ives http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/david_ives.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
General, Playwriting

The theatre is the best way of showing the gap between what is said and what is seen to be done, and that is why, ragged and gap-toothed as it is, it has still a far healthier potential than some poorer, abandoned arts.

David Hare
Playwriting

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
Acting, Playwriting

It is the writer's job to make the play interesting. It is the actor's job to make the performance truthful.

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

Don't write stage directions. If it is not apparent what the character is trying to accomplish by saying the line, tell us how the character said it or whether or not she moved to the couch isn't going to aid the case.

David Mamet The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Set Design

A ground plan is important in terms of its rigor. If your plan is soggy and weak, your production will be soggy and weak.

David Hays http://www.emerson.edu/emersontoday/index.cfm?action=3&articleID=678&editionID=45
General, Playwriting

I think theatre should always be somewhat suspect.

David Mamet
General, Management

I've never quite understood the idea of a "season." Whenever an artistic director says to me, 'I have this slot,' I always start to feel we're parking cars or something.

David Henry Hwang The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
General

There is no greater gift that a person can be given than to be put in touch with his creativity. [Theatre] transformed my life. [Director Declan Donnellan on discovering theatre as a lonely 16 year old.]

Declan Donnellan The Guardian
Acting

Actors ought to be larger than life. You come across quite enough ordinary, nondescript people in daily life and I don't see why you should be subjected to them on the stage too.

Donald Sinden
General

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

http://en.thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/theatrical/

Acting

If you cried a little less, the audience would cry more.

Edith Evans Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting, Costumes

The subjective actress thinks of clothes only as they apply to her; the objective actress thinks of them only as they affect others, as a tool for the job.

Edith Head
Acting, General, Playwriting

The thing that makes a creative person is to be creative and that is all there is to it.

Edward Albee http://www.mlquotes.com
Playwriting

A playwright is someone who lets his guts hang out on the stage.

Edward Albee http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Playwriting

People often ask me how long it takes me to write a play, and I tell them 'all of my life.'

Edward Albee http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Acting

Onstage, nothing is as important as truth, nothing. As soon as you lie, they know it.

Elaine Stritch It Happened On Broadway
Acting

You can't be funny unless you're tragic, and you can't be tragic unless you're funny.

Elaine Stritch
Acting

You cannot tell an audience a lie. They know it before you do; before it's out of your mouth, they know it's a lie.

Elaine Stritch
Acting

Audiences are not strangers to me. They're the best friends I've got in my life.

Elaine Stritch
Acting

These performers that go on about their technique and craft - oh, puleeze! How boring! I don't know what 'technique' means. But I do know what experience is.

Elaine Stritch
General

To save the theatre, the theatre must be destroyed, the actors and actresses must all die of the plague. They poison the air, they make art impossible. It is not drama that they play, but pieces for the theatre. We should return to the Greeks, play in the open air; the drama dies of stalls and boxes and evening dress, and people who come to digest their dinner.

Eleanora Duse http://izquotes.com/
Acting

Imagination! Imagination! I put it first years ago, when I was asked what qualities I thought necessary for success upon the stage. And I am still of the same opinion. Imagination, industry [hard work], and intelligence--the three I's--are all indispensable to the actor, but of these three the greatest is, without any doubt, imagination.

Ellen Terry The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting

Acting is a matter of giving away secrets.

Ellen Barkin
Acting

Act in your pauses.

Ellen Terry Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
General, Playwriting

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

Enid Bagnold
Acting, Playwriting

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

Eric Bentley In Search of Theater
Acting, Directing, General

In creating and performing in a play, there is a sense of common purpose, of living something outside of yourself, of hauling to one common goal. All these different artistic disciplines are corralled into one purpose, and in the process, incredibly strong bonds are created.

Eric Stern It Happened On Broadway
Directing, Musical Theatre

Seen from the point of view of the composer, the most nonsensical practice is that of casting people in musicals who are unable to sing. No one would cast a dancing part with someone who cannot dance sufficiently to come up to professional standards. The same is true of acting. But when it comes to singing, more often than not it is amateur night. . . . Either musicals should be written for specified performers in the first place, or they should be cast with people who are adequate to its dancing, acting and singing demands.

Ernest Gold Playwrights, Lyricists, Composers On Theater
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

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