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

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 www.musicals101.com/noelquot.htm
Playwriting

It's no use to go and take courses in playwriting any more than it's much use taking courses in acting. Better play to a bad matinee in Hull - it will teach you much more than a year of careful instruction. Come to think of it, I never did play to a good matinee in Hull . . .

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

Of course, the age-old tradition that a star must appear even if he or she is practically dying is an excellent one, but it can be carried too far. I one played a performance of The Knight of the Burning Pestle with a temperature of 103 and gave sixteen members of the company mumps, thereby closing the play and throwing everybody out of work. There may be a moral lurking somewhere in this, but I cannot for the life of me discover what it is.

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

In the first act, you get the audience's attention - once you have it, they will repay you in the second. Play through the laughs if you have to. It will only make the audience believe there are so many of them that they missed a few.

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

She stopped the show--but then the show wasn't traveling very fast.

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

Many years ago I remember a famous actress explaining to me with perfect seriousness that before making an entrance she always stood aside to allow God to go on first. I can also remember that on that particular occasion He gave a singularly uninspired performance.

Noel Coward www.musicals101.com/noelquot.htm
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
Acting, Shakespeare

You have to think about the big speeches in Shakespeare as the most important things the character has ever said; they need to be spoken with your chest cut open, your heart bare, and with tremendous passion. You need to tear the words from the sky. If you don't feel like you've run a marathon when you're done, you're not doing it right. It takes courage to open yourself up to an audience like that, letting them see your insides without desperately trying to show them--it takes practice.

Ben Crystal author of Shakespeare on Toast
Lighting

An effective lighting design is like a beautiful painting. Your medium is bringing someone to an emotional state he or she would not achieve at that moment without your art. This does not and can not happen by accident.

Glen Cunningham Stage Lighting Revealed

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