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.

Displaying 1 - 20 of 404. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
Category Quote First Last Sourcesort descending
Acting

All the theories that acting is reacting to imaginary circumstances as though they are real, and directing is turning psychology into behavior, those are all stabs at something that can't be taught. All the great actors can't talk about what they do, and they don't want to begin to talk about it. They just do it.

Mike Nichols
General, Playwriting

Drama - what literature does at night.

George Jean Nathan
Acting

Actors are the only honest hypocrites.

William Hazlitt
Acting, Directing

The whole point about laughter is it's like mercury: you can't catch it, you can't catch what motivates it - that's why it's funny.

Mike Nichols
General

It is the characteristic of the most stringent censorships that they give credibility to the opinions they attack.

Voltaire
Acting

Actors ought to be larger than life. You come across quite enough ordinary, nondescript people in daily life and I don't see why you should be subjected to them on the stage too.

Donald Sinden
Backstage

Definition of Stage Manager: The person who rarely gets credit when everything goes right.

Anonymous
Acting, Directing, General, Playwriting

The only way to see the value of a play is to see it acted.

Voltaire
Acting

You can't be funny unless you're tragic, and you can't be tragic unless you're funny.

Elaine Stritch
Playwriting

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

August Strindberg
Directing, Shakespeare

The play loses a great deal of its meaning if it is robbed of a magic which springs, not from the glittering tip of a department-store wand, but from the earth, the stones, the very air of the wood; and a magic which is not merely pretty but dark and dangerous. [said of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Tyrone Guthrie
Acting

You cannot tell an audience a lie. They know it before you do; before it's out of your mouth, they know it's a lie.

Elaine Stritch
General

Theater is life, film is art, television is furniture.

Unknown
Playwriting

Most playwrights go wrong on the fifth word. When you start a play and you type 'Act one, scene one,' your writing is every bit as good as Arthur Miller or Eugene O'Neill or anyone. It's that fifth word where amateurs start to go wrong.

Meredith Willson
Acting

Audiences are not strangers to me. They're the best friends I've got in my life.

Elaine Stritch
Acting

You can throw away the privilege of acting, but that would be such a shame. The tribe has elected you to tell its story. You are the shaman/healer, that's what the storyteller is, and I think it's important for actors to appreciate that. Too often actors think it's all about them, when in reality it's all about the audience being able to recognize themselves in you.

Ben Kingsley
Directing

The work of rehearsal is looking for meaning and then making it meaningful.

Peter Brook
Acting

The secret of staying fresh in a show is to remember that the audience you're playing for that night has never seen it before.

Danny Kaye
Acting, Costumes

The subjective actress thinks of clothes only as they apply to her; the objective actress thinks of them only as they affect others, as a tool for the job.

Edith Head
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

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