Theatre Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old theatre quotes, theatre sayings, and theatre proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


We have freedom of speech, but you got to watch what you say.     

Viola Spolin

Theatre exists only because it is overwhelming, because its acting is astonishing. Where a theatre and its acting are merely 'good,' merely 'correct,' merely 'in the proper style,' theatre dies a slow death.     

Robert Cohen

The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time. The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation.     

Stella Adler

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

Terrence Mann

The theatre, when all is said and done, is not life in miniature, but life enormously magnified, life hideously exaggerated.     

H. L. Mencken

Theater is, of course, a reflection of life. Maybe we have to improve life before we can hope to improve theater.     

W. R. Inge

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

Kenneth Haigh

Theater is a verb before it is a noun, an act before it is a place.     

Martha Graham

In theater, the wellspring of the character comes from the doing of it, like a trial by fire, but in front of an audience.     

Estelle Parsons

In the theater, characters have to cut the umbilical cord from the writer and talk in their own voices.     

Irwin Shaw

The primary function of a theater is not to please itself, or even to please its audience. It is to serve talent.     

Robert Brustein

It's one of the tragic ironies of the theatre that only one man in it can count on steady work -- the night watchman.     

Tallulah Bankhead

The theatre is a place where one has time for the problems of people to whom one would show the door if they came to one's office for a job.     

Tennessee Williams

Coughing in the theater is not a repiratory ailment. It is criticism.     

Alan Jay Lerner

My only regret in the theater is that I could never sit out front and watch me.     

John Barrymore

The theater is so endlessly fascinating because it's so accidental. It's so much like life.     

Arthur Miller

In the theater the audience wants to be surprised but by things that they expect.     

Tristan Bernard

The theater needs continual reminders that there is nothing more debasing than the work of those who do well what is not worth doing at all.     

Gore Vidal

The theater, which is in no thing, but makes use of everything -- gestures, sounds, words, screams, light, darkness -- rediscovers itself at precisely the point where the mind requires a language to express its manifestations. To break through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate the theatre.     

Antonin Artaud

Theatre demands different muscles and different aspects of one's personality.     

Victor Garber

The difference between a theatre with and without an audience is enormous. There is a palpable, critical energy created by the presence of the audience.     

Andy Goldsworthy

No theater could sanely flourish until there was an umbilical connection between what was happening on the stage and what was happening in the world.     

Kenneth Tynan

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.     

Thornton Wilder

Theatre is a weapon. For that reason it must be fought for.     

Augusto Boal

Nothing in theatre has any meaning before or after. Meaning is now.     

Peter Brook

The theatre is traditionally where people go to hear the truth.     

David Mamet

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

Tallulah Bankhead

The theater is a great equalizer: it is the only place where the poor can look down on the rich.     

Will Rogers

The theater is so endlessly fascinating because it is so accidental. It's so much like life.     

Arthur Miller

Theater is dangerously open to repetition. It's exciting when you hit on a new way.     

Fiona Shaw