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

Actors are the only honest hypocrites.

William Hazlitt
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

A cat actually thinks visibly. If you watch him jump on a shelf, the wish to jump and the action of jumping are one and the same thing... It's in exactly the same way that all Brook's exercises try to train the actor. The actor is trained to become so organically related within himself, he thinks completely with his body. He becomes one sensitive, responding whole... The whole of him is one.

John Heilpern

I've always had great satisfaction out of writing the plays. I've not always had great satisfaction out of seeing them produced--although often I've had satisfaction there. When things go well in production, on opening there's no nicer feeling in the world--what could be nicer than watching an audience respond? You can't that from a book. It's a fine feeling to walk into the theater and see living people respond to something you've done.

Lillian Hellman Playwrights, Lyricists, Composers On Theater

Failure in the theatre is more dramatic and uglier than in any other form of writing. It costs so much, you feel so guilty.

Lillian Hellman The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

But when I got to SMU and decided to take a playwriting class, I said this isn't a bad idea. If I write characters, they could be as dumb as me, and I don't have to be very smart.

Beth Henley

What acting means is that you've got to get out of your own skin.

Katherine Hepburn Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur

Acting is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four.

Katherine Hepburn

You're an actor, are you? Well, all that means is: you are irresponsible, irrational, romantic, and incapable of handling an adult emotion or a universal concept without first reducing it to something personal, material, sensational -- and probably sexual.

George Herman


Drama should not present new stories but new relationships.

Frederick Hessel The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

The world's a theater, the earth a stage,
Which God and Nature do with actors fill.

Thomas Heywood

This is an extremely foolish and stupid and idiotic kind of attitude--to expect theatres to make money. Do the public schools make money? Do libraries make money? Does the zoo make money? Do the sewers make money? It's a community service.

John Hirsch The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.

Alfred Hitchcock

Acting is a very limited form of expression and those who take it seriously are very limited people. I take it seriously.

Judy Holliday

The novel is more of a whisper, whereas the stage is a shout.

Robert Holman

Acting's entertainment. It's not brain surgery.

Anthony Hopkins Hello! Special Edition, 9.6.01.
General, Management

This is a non-commercial theatre. It's got to be run by a person who sees right from the start that the profits won't be money profits. [On the idea of a Federal Theatre Project, 1934]

Harry Hopkins The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

White male playwrights' works continue to dominate production slates. Sometimes it seems easier for them to have the texts of their driver's licenses produced than for the female or non-white playwright to have her best play produced. The reality is, they are more often given that all-important opportunity to fail than the women's play or ethnic play.

Velina Hasu Houston
Backstage, Lighting, Set Design

If I wanted to have people tell me what to do, I would have become an actor.

Rob Hudd
Acting, Shakespeare

Playing Shakespeare is very tiring. You never get to sit down, unless you're a king.

Josephine Hull The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips


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