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 241 - 300 of 404. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
Category Quote First Last Source
Acting

The truth of ourselves is the root of our acting.

Sanford Meisner http://www.aldersonstudio.com/quotes/index.html
Acting

You can't learn to act unless you're criticized. If you tie that criticism to your childhood insecurities you'll have a terrible time. Instead, you must take criticism objectively, pertaining it only to the work being done.

Sanford Meisner http://www.aldersonstudio.com/quotes/index.html
Acting

The only way to deal with yourself as an actor is to follow the emotional truth of what you have to do under the imaginary circumstances. And as you develop you become confident. You come to believe in what you're doing and trust it because it's out of you.

Sanford Meisner http://www.aldersonstudio.com/quotes/index.html
Acting

If you have the emotion, it infects you and the audience. If you don't have it don't bother; just say your lines as truthfully as you are capable of doing. You can't fake emotion.

Sanford Meisner http://www.aldersonstudio.com/quotes/index.html
Acting

When you go into the professional world, at a stock theater somewhere, backstage you will meet an older actor--someone who has been around awhile. He will tell you tales and anecdotes about life in the theater. He will speak to you about your performance and the performances of others, and he will generalize to you, based on his experience and his intuitions, about the laws of the stage. Ignore this man.

Sanford Meisner Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Playwriting

The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost.

Arthur Miller http://www.satheatre.com/quotes.htm
Playwriting

By whatever means it is accomplished, the prime business of a play is to arouse the passions of its audience so that by the route of passion may be opened up new relationships between a man and men, and between men and Man. Drama is akin to the other inventions of man in that it ought to help us to know more, and not merely to spend our feelings.

Arthur Miller http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Arthur_Miller
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
Acting

The "magic if" is a tool invented by Stanislavski, the father of acting craft, is to help an actor make appropriate choices. Essentially, the "magic if" refers to the answer to the question, "What would I do if I were this character in this situation?" Note that the question is not "What would I do if I were in this situation?" What you would do may be very different from what the character would do. Your job, based on your analysis of the script, the scene, and the given circumstances regarding the who of your character, is to decide what he or she would do.

Bruce Miller Acting on the Script (2014)
Acting

I still suffer terribly from stage fright. I get sick with fear. Not every night, but at the beginning and on occasion - not necessarily when I'm expecting it. You just have to cope with it - take it on the chin and work through it, trying to use the adrenalin to perform. keyword=stagefright

Helen Mirren Brainyquote.com
Acting

If you achieve success, you will get applause. Enjoy it--but never quite believe it.

Robert Montgomery Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
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
Acting

It is a great help for a man to be in love with himself. For an actor, however, it is absolutely essential.

Robert Morley Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
General, Playwriting

Farce is tragedy played at a thousand revolutions per minute.

John Mortimer
Lighting

I think that the first thing that I learned about lighting design was that there are no real rules involved and that as long as I remembered this then my lighting would remain fresh and interesting to me and hopefully to the audience and to the people that I collaborate with.

Jock Munro http://www.artsalive.ca
Lighting

Theatre is interesting because it's a very collaborative process. Typically I'm working with a director, a set designer, a costume designer and a sound designer too. That means that there are a number of perspectives that are brought into any particular script. Typically the director has the final say in where we go conceptually with a piece but we all have an opportunity to influence that direction and typically that direction is based on the script. As such, my studies in english and philosophy have enriched my ability to take a look at a text and react to it in my own way so that I can bring to the table what I consider to be an informed perspective. Then we negotiate the project's process and it's always quite enriching. Projects basically come out of a bond of trust that you have created. As I have progressed throughout my career I have gravitated to people who I feel a common bond with; who I seem to be able to communicate with. We establish a trust and then we go about our project. Very often I will work with someone for three or four years and we will have a particularly creative time and then, for whatever reasons, we will go our separate ways and new bonds will be established. It's an extremely communal approach to the arts. [Lighting designer Jock Munro]

Jock Munro http://www.artsalive.ca
General, Lighting

I find that kids who take conventional approaches whereby they study in theatre schools and then become assistants to established artists at various reputed institutions like Stratford and the National Arts Centre have a kind of fast-track to the knowledge process. Very often they become very useful to the institutions for their knowledge. At the same time they are often are denied the fundamental experiences that you get when you are actually producing your own theatre and making decisions yourself among your own peers. I think it's really important to place more emphasis on that than on getting a formal training. You can probably successfully, after you've gotten the buzz and you've become intoxicated if you want to enhance your knowledge in certain areas then it's worthwhile to go back to the institutions and find a niche. I found my niche though being a stagehand. You can be an assistant. You can be a production assistant. I think the key is to be around people who really, truly love what they are doing first, although they might not necessarily know what they are doing. [Lighting designer Jock Munro]

Jock Munro http://www.artsalive.ca
General, Playwriting

Drama - what literature does at night.

George Jean Nathan
Acting, Directing, General

Opening Night: The night before the play is ready to open.

George Jean Nathan The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Playwriting

The Russian dramatist is one who, walking through a cemetery, does not see the flowers on the graves. The American dramatist . . . Does not see the graves under the flowers.

George Jean Nathan The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting

The fun for me is knowing what the other person is saying and what my character would be thinking at that time. On the stage you get the chance to do all that, to analyze and build a part, to react, to contribute something no one else can--not the author, not even the director.

Barry Nelson It Happened On Broadway
Acting

Acting isn't really a creative profession. It's an interpretive one.

Paul Newman http://www.satheatre.com/quotes.htm
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
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
Fundraising

You cannot expect people to give to you on an annual basis if they have never heard of your organization or are unaware of what you do in the community and why it is so important. As part of this annual giving plan, your board of directors (with staff help) needs to have a time of brainstorming so you can identify all your “target markets” i.e. those people with whom you need to establish a relationship.

NonprofitExpert.com http://www.nonprofitexpert.com/annualgiving.htm
General, Playwriting

Theater is so critical because it has always been able to release people from their isolation... The theater is a communal event, church. The playwright constructs a mass to be performed for a lot of people. She writes a prayer, which is just the longings of one heart.

Marsha Norman
Acting

Acting expresses a part of the self otherwise hidden to the conscious mind.

Lisa M. O'Neill
Acting

I have no intention of uttering my last words on the stage. Room service and a couple of depraved young women will do me quite nicely for an exit.

Peter O'Toole

http://home.att.net/~quotations/theatre.html

Acting

Have a very good reason for everything you do.

Laurence Olivier Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting

Lead the audience by the nose to the thought.

Laurence Olivier Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting

What is the main problem of the actor? It is to keep the audience awake, and not let them go to sleep, then wake up and go home feeling they've wasted their money.

Laurence Olivier
Acting

Use your weaknesses; aspire to the strength.

Laurence Olivier Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting

I have to act to live.

Laurence Olivier http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre
Acting

Acting is an everlasting search for truth.

Laurence Olivier http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Acting

When you're a young man, Macbeth is a character part. When you're older, it's a straight part.

Laurence Olivier Theatre Arts May 58
Critics

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs.

John Osborne Time, 31 October 1977
Acting

My playground was the theatre. I'd sit and watch my mother pretend for a living. As a young girl, that's pretty seductive.

Gwyneth Paltrow http://www.worldofquotes.com
General

Although one may fail to find happiness in theatrical life, one never wishes to give it up after having once tasted its fruits.

Anna Pavlova

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

Set Design

I've always tended to work with the set as another character in the play.

George Pinney http://www.iu.edu/~rcapub/v29n1/sets.shtml
Playwriting

The more acute the experience, the less articulate its expression.

Harold Pinter The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Playwriting

As a writer you're holding a dog. You let the dog run about. But you finally can pull him back. Finally, I'm in control. But the great excitement is to see what happens if you let the whole thing go. And the dog or the character really runs about, bites everyone in sight, jumps up trees, falls into lakes, gets wet, and you let that happen. That's the excitement of writing plays--to allow the thing to be free but still hold the final leash.

Harold Pinter http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Costumes

If you do a certain amount of work on your own before consulting with the director then the process starts with the script. I tend to do a certain amount of my own work before I go into a first meeting. It is important to be open minded in your first meeting with a director but I like to be well-prepared for that meeting because sometimes that time with your director can be limited. At the time of that first meeting, I will have read the play several times and from different points of view. I might read the play once to just check how many costume changes there are. I will read it again to make a prop list. I will read it again to analyse where the entrances and exits are and also to imagine where the furniture will be. It's difficult to concentrate on all of these things in one reading so I go through these processes in separate readings. Once you have that under your belt, depending on the period of the production, I guess I start to do visual research based on my response to the text. Depending on where and when I might choose to look at photography of the period or I might choose to look at painting or I might just look at history books and look for thematic influences. That's the start and having done that you team up with your director and see what their response is to those ideas you have and then you start to form a stronger direction. [Christina Poddubiuk, Set and Costume designer]

Christina Poddubiuk http://www.artsalive.ca
Costumes, Set Design

I think the best shows are always the ones where the elements come together very well and where the intention is realized. These are the shows in which what you set out do is what you end up with. Through very fortunate circumstances, like the combination of a good director, a good cast, and other people designing, you all manage to end up at the point that you intended when you started out. Nothing is ever perfect and there are always things that you'd perhaps do differently but I think that as long as you get a sense of fulfillment from a show then it is going to be a good experiences. [Christina Poddubiuk, Set and Costume designer]

Christina Poddubiuk http://www.artsalive.ca
Acting

Act well your part; there all the honor lies.

Alexander Pope Essay on Man, Epistle iv, line 193
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)
General

It hath evermore been the notorious badge of prostituted Strumpets and the lewdest Harlots, to ramble abroad to Plays, to Playhouses; whither no honest, chaste or sober Girls or Women, but only branded Whores and infamous Adulteresses, did usually resort in ancient times.

William Prynne http://izquotes.com/
Acting

Having talent is like having blue eyes. You don't admire a man for the colour of his eyes. I admire a man for what he does with his talent.

Anthony Quinn Sunday Express, 1960
Playwriting

A novelist may lose his readers for a few pages; a playwright never dares lose his audience for a minute.

Terence Rattigan

http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre

Acting

A lot of what acting is paying attention.

Robert Redford
Acting

Acting is not being emotional, but being able to express emotion.

Kate Reid http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/acting
Musical Theatre

In musical theater you have to be very big and very animated, while film and television are more toned down.

Kevin Richardson http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/k/kevinricha292397.html
Acting

The most precious things in speech are pauses.

Ralph Richardson The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting

Acting is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing.

Ralph Richardson http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/acting
Directing

Directing takes such a big lump out of your life.

Alan Rickman http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alanrickma251372.html
Acting

Acting is mostly about listening. If you just focus in on what the other person is saying, acting takes care of itself to quite a large extent.

Alan Rickman http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alanrickma251358.html
Acting

Acting touches nerves you have absolutely no control over.

Alan Rickman http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alanrickma251360.html
Management

What constitutes a good manager in this field? He must be knowledgeable in the art with which he is concerned, an impresario, labor negotiator, diplomat, educator, publicity and public relations expert, politician, skilled businessman, a social sophisticate, a servant of the community, a tireless leader -- becomingly humble before authority -- a teacher, a tyrant, and a continuing student of the arts.

Rockefeller Panel Report Rockefeller Panel Report: The Performing Arts
Acting

When actors go onstage, you know immediately if they can do their job. You can be a lawyer or an accountant for years and not find out.

Patsy Rodenburg The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
General, Musical Theatre

There is a traditional trick that theatre people have played as long as I can remember. A veteran member of a company will order a gullible newcomer to find the key to the curtain. Naturally, the joke is there is no such thing. I have been in the theatre over fifty years, and I don't think anyone would consider me naive, but all my life I've been searching for that key. And I'm still looking. . . .

Richard Rodgers Musical Stages
General

The theatre, like the fresco, is art fitted to its place. And therefore it is above all else the human art, the living art.

Roman Rolland http://www.wisdomportal.com/Quotes

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