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 121 - 160 of 404. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
Category Quote First Last Source
Directing

It is very hard to cast a number of plays adequately from the same company of actors without several parts being miscast.

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

Being another character is more interesting than being yourself.

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

The stage play is a trial, not a deed of violence. The soul is opened, like the combination of a safe, by means of a word. You don't require an acetylene torch.

Jean Giradoux http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Acting

Never get caught acting.

Lillian Gish Friendly Advice by Jon Winokur
Directing, Musical Theatre

Seen from the point of view of the composer, the most nonsensical practice is that of casting people in musicals who are unable to sing. No one would cast a dancing part with someone who cannot dance sufficiently to come up to professional standards. The same is true of acting. But when it comes to singing, more often than not it is amateur night. . . . Either musicals should be written for specified performers in the first place, or they should be cast with people who are adequate to its dancing, acting and singing demands.

Ernest Gold Playwrights, Lyricists, Composers On Theater
Acting

On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting;/ 'Twas only that when he was off he was acting.

Oliver Goldsmith http://theatre.usc.edu/whatistheatre
Fundraising

In good times and bad, we know that people give because you meet needs, not because you have needs.

Kay Grace http://www.museummarketingtips.com/quotes/giving.html
Shakespeare

The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good - in spite of all the people who say he is very good.

Robert Graves Robert Graves (1895 - 1985)
Management

A statement of vision is the overarching purpose, the big dream, the visionary concept--something presently out of reach--so stated that it excites the imagination and chlalenges people to work for something they do not yet know how to do.

Robert Greenleaf Servant Leadership
Acting, Directing, General

It is not theatre that is indispensable, but something quite different. To cross the frontiers between you and me.

Jerzy Grotowski
Acting

An actor is at his best a kind of unfrocked priest who, for an hour or two, can call on heaven and hell to mesmerize a group of innocents

Alec Guinness http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Acting, Shakespeare

Much of the day I have busied myself making notes on the small parts in Shakespeare, often nameless, which are rewarding to the actor if only he'll not dismiss them as beneath his dignity. If I can work it up into a talk I might call it, 'Only a cough and a spit ' ---the phrase so often used by actors to explain away a lack of opportunity.

Alec Guinness My Name Escapes Me, 1996
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

I think, by and large, the level of acting is mediocre. When I go to the theatre, I get so angry. I don't go.

Uta Hagen http://www.brainyquote.com
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 http://www.brainyquote.com
Acting

I'm a bad liar; I don't know what to say backstage.

Uta Hagen
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
Acting

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

Uta Hagen
Acting

Talent is an amalgam of high sensitivity; easy vulnerability; high sensory equipment (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting intensely); a vivid imagination as well as a grip on reality; the desire to communicate one's own experience and sensations, to make one's self heard and seen.

Uta Hagen
Acting, Directing, General, Playwriting

You need three things in the theatre -- the play, the actors and the audience, and each must give something.

Kenneth Haigh http://www.satheatre.com/quotes.htm
Acting

I don't possess a lot of self-confidence. I'm an actor so I simply act confident every time I hit the stage. I am consumed with the fear of failing. Reaching deep down and finding confidence has made all my dreams come true.

Arsenio Hall

http://home.att.net/~quotations/theatre.html

Playwriting

Playwrights must be allowed to be at less than their best sometimes, without meeting an all-out critical assault.

Peter Hall http://www.curtainup.com/quotepro.html
Acting, Shakespeare

Has anyone understood that the basic thing about Elizabethan theatre is that it was played in daylight? The actor saw the eyes of the audience.

Peter Hall The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Backstage

Perhaps, therefore, ideal stage managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds.

Peter Hall
Costumes

Before a character even speaks, we 'read' their appearance through their costume.

Peter Ruthven Hall http://www.theatredesign.org.uk/events.htm
Set Design

Designers play with scale and proportion, making the ordinary extraordinary by taking an object out of context and changing its scale in relation to the characters' size and appearance.

Peter Ruthven Hall http://www.theatredesign.org.uk/events.htm
Set Design

Everything placed in the performance space, with the characters, creates a context for their story.
What is the shape of the space?
How do the shapes and colours within the space relate to the characters?
How do they 'frame' them?
What comments do the frames make about the characters and their worlds?

Peter Ruthven Hall http://www.theatredesign.org.uk/events.htm
Musical Theatre

I know the world is filled with troubles and many injustices. But reality is as beautiful as it is ugly. I think it is just as important to sing about beautiful mornings as it is to talk about slums. I just couldn't write anything without hope in it.

Oscar Hammerstein
General

The number of people who will not go to a show they do not want to see is unlimited.

Oscar Hammerstein
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
General, Playwriting

The theatre is the best way of showing the gap between what is said and what is seen to be done, and that is why, ragged and gap-toothed as it is, it has still a far healthier potential than some poorer, abandoned arts.

David Hare
Acting, General

God comes to us in theater [in] the way we communicate with each other, whether it be a symphony orchestra, or a wonderful ballet, or a beautiful painting, or a play. It's a way of expressing our humanity.

Julie Harris Christian Science Monitor 15 May 79
General

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

Moss Hart
Playwriting

One begins with two people on a stage, and one of them had better say something pretty quick.

Moss Hart The Audience Book of Theatre Quotations, by Louis Phillips
Playwriting

Drama assumes an order. If only so that it might have -- by disrupting that order -- a way of surprising.

Vaclav Havel
Acting

Actors cannot choose the manner in which they are born. Consequently, it is the one gesture in their lives completely devoid of self-consciousness.

Helen Hayes
Acting

Actors work and slave and it is the color of your hair that can determine your fate in the end.

Helen Hayes
Acting

The worst constructed play is a Bach fugue when compared to life.

Helen Hayes
Set Design

A ground plan is important in terms of its rigor. If your plan is soggy and weak, your production will be soggy and weak.

David Hays http://www.emerson.edu/emersontoday/index.cfm?action=3&articleID=678&editionID=45

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