quotations about theatre

Theatre quote

Of course we all come to the theatre with baggage. The baggage of our daily lives, the baggage of our problems, the baggage of our tragedies, the baggage of being tired. It doesn't matter what age you are. But if our hearts get opened and released -- well that is what theatre can do, and does sometimes, and everyone is thankful when that happens.

VANESSA REDGRAVE, attributed, The Redgraves: A Family Epic


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The true theater, because it moves and makes use of living instruments, continues to stir up shadows where life has never ceased to grope its way.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, preface, The Theater and Its Double


To enter a theatre for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination.

SIMON CALLOW, Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World


Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich; But theatre will make you good.

TERRENCE MANN, attributed, IMDb


One must let the play happen to one; one must let the mind loose to respond as it will, to receive impressions, to sense rather than know, to gather rather than immediately understand.

EDWARD ALBEE, National Observer, April 5, 1965


When you come into the theater, you have to be willing to say, "We're all here to undergo a communion, to find out what the hell is going on in this world." If you're not willing to say that, what you get is entertainment instead of art, and poor entertainment at that.

DAVID MAMET, Three Uses of the Knife


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One of the first and most important things for a critic to learn is how to sleep undetected at the theatre.

WILLIAM ARCHER, attributed, The Biteback Dictionary of Humorous Literary Quotations


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Theatre is a mirror, a sharp reflection of society.

YASMINA REZA, The Observer, January 21, 2012


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The theatre is a tragic place, full of endings and partings and heartbreak. You dedicate yourself passionately to something, to a project, to people, to a family, you think of nothing else for weeks and months, then suddenly it's over, it's perpetual destruction, perpetual divorce, perpetual adieu.

IRIS MURDOCH, The Green Knight


The most effective moments in the theatre are those that appeal to basic and commonplace emotions--love of woman, love of home, love of country, love of right, anger, jealousy, revenge, ambition, lust, and treachery.

CLAYTON HAMILTON, Theory of the Theatre


The theater-goer in conventional dramatic theater says: Yes, I've felt that way, too. That's the way I am. That's life. That's the way it will always be. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is no escape for him. That's great art -- Everything is self-evident. I am made to cry with those who cry, and laugh with those who laugh. But the theater-goer in the epic theater says: I would never have thought that. You can't do that. That's very strange, practically unbelievable. That has to stop. The suffering of this or that person grips me because there is an escape for him. That's great art -- nothing is self-evident. I am made to laugh about those who cry, and cry about those who laugh.



There is only one necessary condition for the emergence of a new theatre, that the stage and auditorium should be open to the masses, should be able to contain a people and the actions of a people.

ROMAIN ROLLAND, The People's Theatre


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It is a lazy public which promotes a slothful and irresponsible theater.

EDWARD ALBEE, "Which Theater Is the Absurd One?", 1962


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Life is difficult. People want to experience that from the safety of a comfortable seat.

JANET SUZMAN, "An audience with Dame Janet", The Jewish Chronicle, June 2, 2017


It is remarkable how virtuous and generously disposed everyone is at a play. We uniformly applaud what is right and condemn what is wrong, when it costs us nothing but the sentiment.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics


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I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost -- it's there and then it's gone.

MAGGIE SMITH, interview, The Guardian, November 19, 2004


If you want to help the American theater, don't be an actress, be an audience.

TALLULAH BANKHEAD, attributed, 20,000 Quips & Quotes


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Any play that makes an audience think out of the box, that makes connections to life and names our pain and by doing so makes our pain subject to thinking and the process of understanding, is doing something inherently political. By promoting understanding, by putting experience in context, by making connections between the normal and the rational, theatre is an act of anti-terrorism. It stimulates courage and a survival spirit. In that sense of political, there are a lot of serious plays doing their work in the world.

JOHN LAHR, "Questions for John Lahr", The New Yorker, January 23, 2009


I think the theatre is as essential to civilization as safe, pure water.

VANESSA REDGRAVE, attributed, The Redgraves: A Family Epic


A theatre, a literature, an artistic expression that does not speak for its own time has no relevance.

DARIO FO, Nobel Lecture, December 7, 1997


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