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 81 - 120 of 404. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
Category Quote First Last Source
Acting

Acting is not a state of being ... but a state of appearing to be. You can't be eight times a week without going stark staring mad. You've got to be in control.

Noel Coward
Acting

Of course, the age-old tradition that a star must appear even if he or she is practically dying is an excellent one, but it can be carried too far. I one played a performance of The Knight of the Burning Pestle with a temperature of 103 and gave sixteen members of the company mumps, thereby closing the play and throwing everybody out of work. There may be a moral lurking somewhere in this, but I cannot for the life of me discover what it is.

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

In the first act, you get the audience's attention - once you have it, they will repay you in the second. Play through the laughs if you have to. It will only make the audience believe there are so many of them that they missed a few.

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

She stopped the show--but then the show wasn't traveling very fast.

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

Many years ago I remember a famous actress explaining to me with perfect seriousness that before making an entrance she always stood aside to allow God to go on first. I can also remember that on that particular occasion He gave a singularly uninspired performance.

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

The theatre should be treated with respect. The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment, a temple of illusion. What it most emphatically is not and never will be is a scruffy, ill-lit, fumed-oak drill hall serving as a temporary soap box for political propaganda.

Noel Coward www.musicals101.com/noelquot.htm
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
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, Shakespeare

You have to think about the big speeches in Shakespeare as the most important things the character has ever said; they need to be spoken with your chest cut open, your heart bare, and with tremendous passion. You need to tear the words from the sky. If you don't feel like you've run a marathon when you're done, you're not doing it right. It takes courage to open yourself up to an audience like that, letting them see your insides without desperately trying to show them--it takes practice.

Ben Crystal author of Shakespeare on Toast
Lighting

An effective lighting design is like a beautiful painting. Your medium is bringing someone to an emotional state he or she would not achieve at that moment without your art. This does not and can not happen by accident.

Glen Cunningham Stage Lighting Revealed
General

The drama may be called that part of theatrical art which lends itself most readily to intellectual discussion: what is left is theater.

Robertson Davies

http://en.thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/theatrical/

Acting

Pray to God and say the lines.

Bette Davis Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
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

One of the things about acting is it allows you to live other people's lives without having to pay the price. I've never been one of those actors who has touted myself as a fascinating human being. I had to decide early on whether I was to be an actor or a personality.

Robert De Niro
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
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

Acting

I would like to be going all over the kingdom...and acting everywhere. There's nothing in the world equal to seeing the house rise at you, one sea of delightful faces, one hurrah of applause!

Charles DIckens www.angelfire.com/dc/musicthea/Quotes.html
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
General

To save the theatre, the theatre must be destroyed, the actors and actresses must all die of the plague. They poison the air, they make art impossible. It is not drama that they play, but pieces for the theatre. We should return to the Greeks, play in the open air; the drama dies of stalls and boxes and evening dress, and people who come to digest their dinner.

Eleanora Duse http://izquotes.com/
Acting

A good actor makes clear the meaning of the words. A better actor gives also the emotion of the part. The best actor adds emotion of which the character is unconscious.

Clare Eames The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
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
Costumes, Lighting, Set Design

The sole aim of the arts of scene-designing, costuming, lighting, is to enhance the natural powers of the actor.

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

When you're doing a play and you're afraid of a scene, that's the scene you should embrace, because that's the scene that will tell you something about the play.

Raul Esparza NY Times, 11/26/06
Acting

7 tips to reduce stage fright: (1) Shift the focus from yourself and your fear to your true purpose: contributing something of value to your audience. (2) Stop scaring yourself with thoughts about what might go wrong. Instead, focus your attention on thoughts and images that are calming and reassuring. (3) Refuse to think thoughts that create self-doubt and low confidence. (4) Practice ways to calm and relax your mind and body, such as deep breathing, relaxation exercises, yoga, and meditation. (5) Try to limit caffeine, sugar, and alcohol as much as possible. (6) Visualize your success: Always focus on your strength and ability to handle challenging situations. (7) Give up trying to be perfect and know that it is OK to make mistakes. Keyword=stagefright

Janet Esposito

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder/treatm...

Set Design

Eugene Lee is a set designer who's famously said that he hates scenery. The reason it's such a joy to work with him is he's never designing the scenery, he's designing the room in which theater is going to take place. It makes for a much more vibrant conversation about what we're going to work on together. [Oskar Eustis , artistic director of the Public Theater, Boston]

Oskar Eustis http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/articles/2007/01/21/the_joy_of_sets
Acting

If you cried a little less, the audience would cry more.

Edith Evans Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Acting, Shakespeare

In Shakespeare, keep it simple. Don't over-inflect. The speech needs to be naturalistic and simple and accessible as much as possible.

Ralph Fiennes http://www.ifc.com/fix/2011/12/ralph-fiennes-coriolanus-interview
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
Lighting

Oftentimes the quality of the light tells the story: the time of day, the weather, whether sun is streaming through the window. It can also help you appreciate what the actor is feeling, what the playwright wants you to feel. Any engineer can put a spot on someone.

Jules Fisher It Happened On Broadway
Lighting

Lighting is not about function. It's much more about the mood and the emotion that the playwright and the director are trying to create. Our job is to support their poetic direction.

Jules Fisher It Happened On Broadway
Acting

The performance is not an illusionist copy of reality, its imitation; nor is it a set of conventions, accepted as a kind of deliberate game, playing at a seperate theatrical reality... The actor does not play, does not imitate, or pretend. He is himself.

Ludwik Flaszen Flaszen Grotowski's Laboratory
General

I am so used to seeing the sort of play which deals with one man and two women. They do not leave me with the feeling I have made a full theatrical meal they do not give me the experience of the multiplicity of life.

E.M. Forster

http://en.thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/theatrical/

Playwriting

In my plays I want to look at life -- at the commonplace of existence -- as if we had just turned a corner and run into it for the first time.

Christopher Fry http://www.satheatre.com/quotes.htm
Playwriting

If the nature of human experience changes with the color of a man's skin, then the racists have been right all along.

Athol Fugard The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
General

January, month of empty pockets! Let us endure this evil month, anxious as a theatrical producer's forehead.

Sidonie Gabrielle

http://en.thinkexist.com/keyword/theatrical

General

A nation that does not support and encourage its theater is -- if not dead -- dying; just as a theater that does not capture with laughter and tears the social and historical pulse, the drama of its people, the genuine color of the spiritual and natural landscape, has no right to call itself theater; but only a place for amusement.

Federico Garcia Lorca http://www.cfa.ilstu.edu/pguithe/THE344/quotes.html
General

The arts are at the very center of community development in this time of change...change for the better. The frontier and all that it once meant in economic development and in the sheer necessity of building a nation is being replaced by the frontier of the arts. In no other way can Americans so well express the core and blood of their democracy; for in the communities lies the final text of the acceptance of the arts as a necessity of everyday life. In terms of American democracy, the arts are for everyone. They are not reserved for the wealthy, or for the well-endowed museum, the gallery, or the ever-subsidized regional professional theater. As America emerges into a different understanding of her strength, it becomes clear that her strength is in the people and the places where the people live. The people, if shown the way, can create art in and of themselves.

Robert Gard
General, Musical Theatre, Playwriting

If Hitler's still alive, I hope he's out of town with a musical. [variously attributed]

Larry Gelbart http://povonline.com/Hitler%20Line.htm
Lighting

If I am so insistent about the bright lights, both the stage and house lights, it is because I should in some way like both actors and audience to be caught up n the same illumination, and for there to be no place for them to hide, or even half-hide.

Jean Genet The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Acting

Acting is half shame, half glory. Shame at exhibiting yourself, glory when you can forget yourself.

John Gielgud The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips

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