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


Tags: Vanessa Redgrave

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


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


Tags: David Mamet

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.



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

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


Tags: Edward Albee

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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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


Theatre is a mirror, a sharp reflection of society.

YASMINA REZA, The Observer, January 21, 2012


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

TERRENCE MANN, attributed, IMDb


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


Tags: Dario Fo

Applause begets applause in the theatre, as laughter begets laughter and tears beget tears.

CLAYTON HAMILTON, Theory of the Theatre


Tags: Clayton Hamilton

I think the tragic feeling is invoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing -- his sense of personal dignity.

ARTHUR MILLER, "Tragedy and the Common Man"


Tags: Arthur Miller

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

VANESSA REDGRAVE, attributed, The Redgraves: A Family Epic


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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It is a hopeless endeavour to attract people to a theatre unless they can be first brought to believe that they will never get in.

CHARLES DICKENS, Nicholas Nickleby


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It has not been definitively proved that the language of words is the best possible language. And it seems that on the stage, which is above all a space to fill and a place where something happens, the language of words may have to give way before a language of signs whose objective aspect is the one that has the most immediate impact upon us.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, The Theatre and Its Double


Tags: Antonin Artaud