Theatre Quotes

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

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Category Quotesort descending First Last Source
Playwriting

I can't expose a human weakness on the stage unless I know it through having it myself.

Tennessee Williams http://www.notable-quotes.com/p/playwriting_quotes.html
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
General

I didn't like the play. But I saw it under unfavorable circumstances -- the curtains were up.

Groucho Marx http://www.ag.wastholm.net/category/art
Acting

I do not regret one professional enemy I have made. Any actor who doesn't dare to make an enemy should get out of the business.

Bette Davis http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/acting
Acting

I don't care if people think I'm an overactor. People who think that would call Van Gogh an overpainter.

Jim Carey www.angelfire.com/dc/musicthea/Quotes.html
Acting

I don't make mistakes, I have unintentional improvisations.

Anonymous
Acting

I don't possess a lot of self-confidence. I'm an actor so I simply act confident every time I hit the stage. I am consumed with the fear of failing. Reaching deep down and finding confidence has made all my dreams come true.

Arsenio Hall

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

Musical Theatre

I don't see that many plays, and for me, musicals are rarely pleasing. I feel the actors are being put through a kind of nightmarish labor. They're like animals being forced to pull heavy carts of vegetables at incredible speeds.

Wallace Shawn http://www.curtainup.com/timelyquotes.html
General

I don't see why people want new plays all the time. What would happen to concerts if people wanted new music all the time?

Clive Barnes
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
Set Design

I have a large personal collection of pictures. For every project, I choose images. Usually I don't do this until I've done an extensive script breakdown and distilled the text down to poetic form. I have to plant enough seeds so that there will be vibration.

Christine Jones http://www.amrep.org/articles/5_2b/creating.html
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
Critics

I have always been very fond of them . . . I think it is so frightfully clever of them to go night after night to the theatre and know so little about it.

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

I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people, really.

Tennessee Williams
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

I have to act to live.

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

I haven't really written my plays and books -- I've heard them. The stories are there already, singing in your genes and in your blood.

Sebastian Barry
Musical Theatre

I know the world is filled with troubles and many injustices. But reality is as beautiful as it is ugly. I think it is just as important to sing about beautiful mornings as it is to talk about slums. I just couldn't write anything without hope in it.

Oscar Hammerstein
Acting

I learned acting by doing it. And although I had never taken an acting class, it didn't take long to learn how to be on the stage. All you have to do is to be humiliated in front of an audience a few times. If you don't like being humiliated publicly, you learn how to act.

Ron Vawter The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting

I love acting. It is so much more real than life.

Oscar Wilde http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/acting
Acting

I love playing Chekhov. That's the hardest; that's why I love it most.

Uta Hagen
Playwriting

I open with a clock striking, to beget an awful attention in the audience -- it also marks the time, which is four o clock in the morning, and saves a description of the rising sun, and a great deal about gilding the eastern hemisphere.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan http://www.brainyquote.com/
General, Playwriting

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.

Oscar Wilde
Playwriting

I see the playwright as a lay preacher peddling the ideas of his time in popular form.

August Strindberg
Acting, Set Design

I started off as a theatre designer, and by some extraordinary circumstance I saw something in Stratford-upon-Avon, and realized that that's the kind of design I want, but also that that's the kind of designer I'll never be.

Judi Dench http://www.brainyquote.com
Playwriting

I started writing for the theatre because I hated it.

Eugene Ionesco The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
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
Playwriting

I swear fearfully at the conventions of the stage.

Anton Chekhov The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting, Directing

I think actors have a greater responsibility when doing comedy. It's as easy as anything to get cheap laughs, but that's not the idea at all. "The slight trip syndrome," we call it. With tragedy one can get away with things a bit more because audiences don't always know how to react.

Peter Bowles Richmond Magazine, April 2001
Acting

I think I'm a better actress for having friends and interests outside the theatre. I wouldn't want to live my life surrounded by other actors all the time.

Penelope Keith http://www.brainyquote.com
Acting, Directing, General

I think that first nights should come near the end of a play's run--as indeed, they often do.

Peter Ustinov The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
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
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
General, Playwriting

I think theatre should always be somewhat suspect.

David Mamet
Acting

I think, by and large, the level of acting is mediocre. When I go to the theatre, I get so angry. I don't go.

Uta Hagen http://www.brainyquote.com
Set Design

I want everyone to feel as much as possible as if they inhabit the same space. They more fluid the relationship between actor and audience, the better.

Christine Jones http://www.amrep.org/articles/5_2b/creating.html
Acting, Directing

I want to give the audience a hint of a scene. No more than that. Give them too much and they won't contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you. That's what gives the theater meaning: when it becomes a social act.

Orson Welles
Playwriting

I want to make the audience laugh and cry within ten seconds, to show just how close those emotions are.

Neil Simon It Happened On Broadway
General

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 http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre
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

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