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 1 - 20 of 404. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
Category Quote First Last Sourcesort descending
General

The primary function of a theater is not to please itself, or even to please its audience. It is to serve talent.

Robert Brustein
Directing

The work of rehearsal is looking for meaning and then making it meaningful.

Peter Brook
Playwriting

I have always been pushed by the negative. The apparent failure of a play sends me back to my typewriter that very night, before the reviews are out. I am more compelled to get back to work than if I had a success.

Tennessee Williams
Playwriting

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.

Tennessee Williams
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
Directing, General

The purpose of theatre is... making an event in which a group of fragments are suddenly brought together... in a community which, by the natural laws that make every community, gradually breaks up... At certain moments this fragmented world comes together and for a certain time it can rediscover the marvel of organic life. The marvel of being one.

Peter Brook
Acting

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
Playwriting

Some mystery should be left in the revelation of character in a play, just as a great deal of mystery is always left in the revelation of character in life, even in one's own character to himself.

Tennessee Williams
Playwriting

Drama assumes an order. If only so that it might have -- by disrupting that order -- a way of surprising.

Vaclav Havel
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

Preparing a character is the opposite of building--it is a demolishing, removing brick by brick everything in the actor's muscles, ideas and inhibitions that stands between him and the part, until one day, with a great rush of air, the character invades his every pore.

Peter Brook
Directing

This ain't Chekhov, you know! [comment to cast during a rehearsal for "H.M.S. Pinafore"]

Alan Stambusky
Playwriting

A playwright is the litmus paper of the arts. He's got to be, because if he isn't working on the same wave length as the audience, no one would know what in hell he was talking about. He is a kind of psychic journalist, even when he's great.

Arthur Miller
Backstage, Management

Tell me and I'll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand.

Chinese Proverb
Acting

All the theories that acting is reacting to imaginary circumstances as though they are real, and directing is turning psychology into behavior, those are all stabs at something that can't be taught. All the great actors can't talk about what they do, and they don't want to begin to talk about it. They just do it.

Mike Nichols
General, Playwriting

Farce is tragedy played at a thousand revolutions per minute.

John Mortimer
General

The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is close to the center of a nation's purpose -- and is a test of the quality of a nation's civilization.

John F Kennedy
Management, Volunteers

I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.

Charles Schwab
Acting, Directing

The whole point about laughter is it's like mercury: you can't catch it, you can't catch what motivates it - that's why it's funny.

Mike Nichols
Playwriting

Good drama must be drastic.

Friedrich Schlegel

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