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.

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Fundraising

In his book, Managing the Non-Profit, Peter Drucker noted that most non-profits are woefully ignorant about “market knowledge.” Passionate non-profit leaders firmly believe that what they are doing merits support, but many are unable to articulate to others the importance of the project and why donors should contribute to it. If you can articulate quickly, passionately, and convincingly why your project should be done, you will have much more success.

Bill DeWalt

http://www.artsconsulting.com/pdf_arts_insights/insights_sept_2013.pdf

Directing

An actor entering through the door, you've got nothing. But if he enters through the window, you've got a situation.

Billy Wilder Friendly Advice (book)
General

If no single reason can fully account for the lack of great work on Broadway these days, there is a factor in the discussion that is rarely mentioned but which has a bearing on what gets produced: the audience. . . It's not audience intelligence that has waned; it's audience passion -- the pro forma Broadway standing ovation now springs from duty not desire.... If that passion exists more in the audience for The Lord of the Rings than for contemporary Broadway musicals, well, at least it is alive somewhere. (2003)

Brendan Lemon http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
General

If no single reason can fully account for the lack of great work on Broadway these days, there is a factor in the discussion that is rarely mentioned but which has a bearing on what gets produced: the audience. . . It's not audience intelligence that has waned; it's audience passion -- the pro forma Broadway standing ovation now springs from duty not desire. . . If that passion exists more in the audience for The Lord of the Rings than for contemporary Broadway musicals, well, at least it is alive somewhere.

Brendan Lemon http://www.curtainup.com/timelyquotes.html
General, Playwriting

Good plays drive bad playgoers crazy.

Brooks Atkinson Theatre Arts Aug 56
Acting, Directing, General

Although the theater is not life, it is composed of fragments or imitations of life, and people on both sides of the footlight have to unite to make the fragments whole and the imitations genuine.

Brooks Atksinson
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

Onstage, you just have to tell the absolute truth about the character you are playing. You hope you communicate it, and you hope it comes back like a tennis ball. If you're listening to the sound of your own voice, nobody else is. The audience knows, and they freeze on you.

Carol Channing It Happened On Broadway
Costumes, Set Design

Be daring, be different, be impractical; be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. Routines have their purposes, but the merely routine is the hidden enemy of high art. [Advice to theatrical designers,]

Cecil Beaton The Secret of How to Startle Theatre Arts May 57
Acting

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

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