Theatre Quotes

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

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Acting

To go into acting is like asking for admission to an insane asylum. Anyone may apply, but only the certifiably insane are admitted.

Michael Shurtleff Audition
Acting

To be a character who feels a deep emotion, one must go into the memory's vault and mix in a sad memory from one's own life.

Albert Finney Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
General

This is an extremely foolish and stupid and idiotic kind of attitude--to expect theatres to make money. Do the public schools make money? Do libraries make money? Does the zoo make money? Do the sewers make money? It's a community service.

John Hirsch The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
General, Management

This is a non-commercial theatre. It's got to be run by a person who sees right from the start that the profits won't be money profits. [On the idea of a Federal Theatre Project, 1934]

Harry Hopkins The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Directing

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

Alan Stambusky
Acting

These performers that go on about their technique and craft - oh, puleeze! How boring! I don't know what 'technique' means. But I do know what experience is.

Elaine Stritch
Acting

There's a certain secret every actor must have in his work. If you reveal it, you're letting the audience in on the wrinkles and convolutions of your brain. All I want them to do is to see the effect.

Frank Langella http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Set Design

There is no more reason for a room on a stage to be a reproduction of an actual room than for an actor who plays the part of Napoleon to be Napoleon, or for an actor who plays Death in the old morality play to be dead.

Robert Edmond Jones The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
General

There is no greater gift that a person can be given than to be put in touch with his creativity. [Theatre] transformed my life. [Director Declan Donnellan on discovering theatre as a lonely 16 year old.]

Declan Donnellan The Guardian
Backstage

There is no definitive list of the duties of a stage manager that is applicable to all theaters and staging environments. Regardless of specific duties, however, the stage manager is the individual who accepts responsibility for the smooth running of rehearsals and performances, on stage and backstage.

Lawrence Stern Stage Management

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