Theatre Quotes

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

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Category Quote First Last Sourcesort descending
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
General

The Civic Theater idea, as a distinctive issue, implies the conscious awakening of a people to self-government in the activities of its leisure. To this end, organization of the arts of the theater, participation by the people in these arts not mere spectatorship, a new resulting technique, leadership by means of a permanent staff of artists (not of merchants in art), elimination of private profit by endowment and public support, dedication in the service to the whole community: these are chief among its essentials, and these imply a new and nobler scope for the art of the theater itself. [1912]

Percy McKaye
Acting

Once in awhile, there's stuff that makes me say, That's what theatre's about. It has to be a human event on the stage, and that doesn't happen very often.

Uta Hagen
Playwriting

A dramatist is one who believes that the pure event, an action involving human beings, is more arresting than any comment that can be made upon it.

Thornton Wilder
Acting

One mustn't allow acting to be like stockbroker -- you must not take it just as a means of earning a living, to go down every day to do a job of work. The big thing is to combine punctuality, efficiency, good nature, obedience, intelligence, and concentration with an unawareness of what is going to happen next, thus keeping yourself available for excitement.

John Gielgud
Acting

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

Uta Hagen
Acting

Every now and then, when you're on stage, you hear the best sound a player can hear. It's a sound you can't get in movies or in television. It is the sound of a wonderful, deep silence that means you've hit them where they live.

Shelley Winters
General

Charity in the theater begins and ends with those who have a play opening within a week of one's own.

Moss Hart
Acting

It's not enough to have talent, you have to have a talent for your talent.

Stella Adler
Acting

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

Anonymous

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