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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Category Quote First Last Source
Acting, Directing, General

You can't make theater happen without actors. The actor is the central ingredient in making theater happen. Audiences may come to theaters to see the work of stage managers, directors and producers, but the only people who can communicate theater magic to audiences, through ideas and emotions, are the actors. They are the only ones who can communicate this by themselves, and if necessary, they can get along without you. But you can't make theater without the actor.

Lawrence Stern Stage Management
Acting, Backstage, Directing, General

The director is responsible for interpreting the playwright's work through the cast with the help of the staff. It is the director's artistic concept of the play that the cast, staff, and crew work to obtain.

Lawrence Stern Stage Management
Backstage

An interesting difference between new and experienced stage managers is that the new stage manager thinks of running the show as the most difficult and most demanding part of the job, whereas the experienced stage manager thinks of it as the most relaxing part. Perhaps the reason is that experienced stage managers have built up work habits that make then so thoroughly prepared for the production phase that they [can] sit back during performances to watch that preparation pay off.

Lawrence Stern Stage Management
General

Festivals promote the improvement of theater. They give theater people the opportunity to meet, to present their dramatic skills and see what their fellow theater workers are doing (and how well). They offer opportunities for exchange of ideas, competition, and social contact. Participants get a chance to go on the road, to play in an unfamiliar environment. They have an opportunity to evaluate themselves by the reactions of judges and a new audience. Participants may also measure themselves by comparison to the other groups entered. Festivals often result in joyful, stimulating, exciting, and rewarding experiences.

Lawrence Stern Stage Management
General

The cast, staff, and crew of a live theater work together toward a common goal: a good performance. Thus, theater is necessarily a group effort. However, it is never a group effort of vague fellow committee members, but of associated autocrats--a playwright, a producer, a director, a stage manager, designers, and, above all, actors. Each accommodates the others, and may overlap others in function when necessary. But each autocrat assumes distinct responsibilities and accepts them completely.

Lawrence Stern Stage Management
Backstage

There is no definitive list of the duties of a stage manager that is applicable to all theaters and staging environments. Regardless of specific duties, however, the stage manager is the individual who accepts responsibility for the smooth running of rehearsals and performances, on stage and backstage.

Lawrence Stern Stage Management
Playwriting

The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means. [A take-off on Oscar Wilde's "The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means."]

Tom Stoppard http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre
Acting, Directing

Audiences know what to expect. . . and that is all they are prepared to believe in.

Tom Stoppard www.angelfire.com/dc/musicthea/Quotes.html
Acting

Like the Bible, Stanislavsky's basic texts on acting can be quoted to any purpose.

Lee Strasberg The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting

Acting isn't something you do. Instead of doing it, it occurs. If you're going to start with logic, you might as well give up. You can have conscious preparation, but you have unconscious results.

Lee Strasberg

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