Theatre Quotes

Words to the Wise
Quotations from a wide range of theatrical perspectives

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Good actors are good because of the things they can tell us without talking. When they are talking they are the slaves of the dramatist. It is what they can show the audience when they are not talking that reveals the fine actor.

Cedric Hardwicke The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

Good drama must be drastic.

Friedrich Schlegel
General, Playwriting

Good plays drive bad playgoers crazy.

Brooks Atkinson Theatre Arts Aug 56

Good theater anywhere is good for theater everywhere.

Frank Schneeberger

Has anybody ever seen a dramatic critic in the daytime? Of course not. They come out after dark, up to no good.

P.G. Wodehouse New York Mirror, 27th May 1955
Acting, Shakespeare

Has anyone understood that the basic thing about Elizabethan theatre is that it was played in daylight? The actor saw the eyes of the audience.

Peter Hall The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

Have a very good reason for everything you do.

Laurence Olivier Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur

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

How do you teach someone that a theatre comes about first as an idea, from an individual who has a philosophy and a passion? That a theatre's idea is its heart and individual soul? That the person who creates it must have the desire not only to create work, but also to create the conditions in which that work can live--and in which others can do it as well? How do you teach someone to want to be a midwife as well as a mother.

Robert Kalfin The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

I am so used to seeing the sort of play which deals with one man and two women. They do not leave me with the feeling I have made a full theatrical meal they do not give me the experience of the multiplicity of life.

E.M. Forster


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