100+ Best Theatre Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Profoundly inspirational theatre quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

Famous Theatre Quotes

When I was 16, I played Macbeth at school and my English teacher said, ‘I think you may have acting talent. Try to get into the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and see where you get.’ I wouldn’t have thought of that at all. I wanted to be a surgeon, but I wasn’t a clever man. — David Suchet

The Greeks already understood that there was more interest in portraying an unusual character than a usual character – that is the purpose of films and theatre — Isabelle Huppert

I pursued a theatre career, and Hollywood came calling. — Len Cariou

I loved theatre and film when I was growing up in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. My mum’s a reflexologist and my dad’s a corporate financier. — Laura Haddock

I think there is no world without theatre. — Edward Bond

I studied at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano; I was a theatre actor. — Franco Nero

It’s communication – that’s what theatre is all about. — Chita Rivera

Every play should be 90 minutes. There would be so many more theatre-goers if plays were shorter. — Eve Myles

Feudal societies don’t create great cinema; we have great theatre. The egalitarian societies create great cinema. The Americans, the French. Because equality is sort of what the cinema deals with. It deals with stories which don’t fall into ‘Everybody in their place and who’s who,’ and all that. But the theatre’s full of that. — Brian Cox

During the war, my mother used to take me to the local repertory theatre on a Monday night, and we used to get two seats for the price of one, for nine pence, in the gods. — Geraldine McEwan

It’s all good fun – television and movies and so on – but the good thing in theatre is there’s nothing and no one between you and the audience so you can do what you want really. — Tom Conti

My working history as an actor is definitely in the theatre; it certainly was in Australia. — Yael Stone

You cannot tell an audience a lie. They know it before you do; before it’s out of your mouth, they know it’s a lie. — Elaine Stritch

Theatre is how I first encountered art on any level. — Patrick Marber

For my first acting job I played the role of Ensign Pulver in ‘Mr. Roberts’ at the Manitoba Theatre Centre. — Len Cariou

Whenever I get a good script, I don’t care whether it’s telly or theatre or big screen – I’m not bothered. — Pete Postlethwaite

The strength of British theatre should be that these actors in their middle years know what they’re doing and are good at it. Not rich, not famous, but making a living. — Ian Mckellen

I am extraordinarily lucky, I was born in a family of strong moral values, and in my life I was able to do what I liked best: debuts, great theatres, but above all, inner and deep satisfaction. — Jose Carreras

I had to spend a few years learning how to do movies. I wasn’t really good at that. I was a theatre actor first and foremost. So I took my time learning that. — Lars Mikkelsen

Maybe all theatre is going to be irrelevant for all time. — Israel Horovitz

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

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

My first Broadway show was with Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton. Maureen Stapleton, a legend in the theatre; Elizabeth Taylor, a legend, period. — Dennis Christopher

I love theatre. It’s far more satisfying than film. Sometimes there’s a collective sigh from the audience, or it’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop. I couldn’t believe how easy acting was when there’s an audience; after a few previews I almost couldn’t do it without one. — Katie Leung

I didn’t go to film school. My Grampa always says just watch a lot of movies. He didn’t go to film school; he went to theatre school. It’s interesting to learn about the technical side of it, but I think it’s more important to learn about writing and working with actors. — Gia Coppola

I think it’s sad that movies and television have caused the theatre to fade as a popular art form. I hope to get young people into the theatre and expose them to Shakespeare. — Kelly McGillis

The theatre is a gross art, built in sweeps and over-emphasis. Compromise is its second name. — Enid Bagnold

When I’m doing theatre, I feel like my life’s on hold. Even though you might go out for a coffee, or go and see a film, your brain is still there, pulling you back to it. — Shirley Henderson

Theatre can’t be done again and again and again and again – it’s organic. — Kim Cattrall

I’m a bad liar; I don’t know what to say backstage. — Uta Hagen

January, month of empty pockets! let us endure this evil month, anxious as a theatrical producer’s forehead. — Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

I do like to be creative and I’m very lucky that I’ve been given different areas in which I’m able to do that – whether it be film or television or theatre or whatever. I’m also still into music and recording. — Richard O’Brien

I have mainly come from a theatre background, I did ‘Oliver’ here I played the Artful Dodger and I did ‘The Sound of Music. — Ben Nicholas

I’m looking for one of two things and sometimes they dovetail: I’m looking to go into a theatre and see a certain kind of show. And if it’s not there, I’d like to do it myself so it would be there. — Hal Price

I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost – it’s there and then it’s gone. — Maggie Smith

Whether you are a writer or an actor or a stage manager, you are trying to express the complications of life through a shared enterprise. That’s what theatre was, always. And live performance shares that with an audience in a specific compact: the play is unfinished unless it has an audience, and they are as important as everyone else. — Lee Hall

There are all sorts of reasons why I don’t do much work in the theatre, the main one being that after two performances I feel I’ve given all I can. I hate repetition, I really do. It’s like asking a painter to paint he same picture every day of his life. — Peter Cushing

Theatre is a sacred space for actors. You are responsible; you are in the driving-seat. — Greta Scacchi

I’ve made a good amount of money. I’m very happy that I can now support my theatre company and support friends and family, and I’m ready to maybe go back to school and change careers. — David Schwimmer

We are suffocated by writers who want to enlighten us with their truths. For me, the theatre is beautiful because it is a secret, and secrets seduce us, we all want to share secrets. — Howard Barker

Theatre critics have no special access to the truth. And there should be no objective truth to art. — Tim Crouch

I’d like to be for cinema what Shakespeare was for theatre, Marx for politics and Freud for psychology: someone after whom nothing is as it used to be. — Rainer Werner Fassbinder

I went to the Glasgow Youth Theatre and they just let me in. But I was so shy that I was there for about six weeks without actually introducing myself. — Bill Forsyth

There is that smaller world which is the stage, and that larger stage which is the world. — Isaac Goldberg

I loved theatre and did magic, too, but I was never the best at it – there was never a teacher saying, ‘You’re great, you have to make this your career!’ I was good at science and math. I figured I’d go into science and become a dentist. — Nathan Fielder

From kings to groundlings, Shakespeare made his work profound for everybody. That is how it should be. There is no hierarchy in theatre. It makes everyone part of a collective. — Lee Hall

Because Chicago was to radio what Hollywood was to films and Broadway was to the theatre: it was the hub of radio. — Mel Torme

People who have never done theatre before, and have only worked in front of a camera, would find it very difficult, I think, to know how to command a stage and work with the logistics of being on stage. They’re very different. The theatre is quite tricky, actually. — David Wenham

I miss family and friends, and I’d like to get back to work more in Scotland, and do more things like theatre and ‘Red Road.’ But over here you have the beach and the mountains and the climate. A lot of people diss L.A. as being all tinsel town, fake this and fake that, but a place is only as good as the people you know. — Tony Curran

A good drama critic is one who perceives what is happening in the theatre of his time. A great drama critic also perceives what is not happening. — Kenneth Tynan

Theatre is about people, not buildings. Incalculable damage has been done to the expert talent a company needs – from wardrobe to lighting technicians. — Edward T. Hall

Because I like theatre and I love a challenge. With ‘ZEBRA!’ I’ve found a new Australian play where I can create a character first – that’s what I live to do. — Bryan Brown

In fact, one was so booked out we went from March and were to go till November, but the pantomime was booked so they transferred the show to the Prince of Wales Theatre because it was so packed out, and it ran on from there. — Norman Wisdom

The money is better in films and television. But in terms of acting, theatre is more rewarding. — Christopher Eccleston

I never thought I’d be one of those old hams who favours theatre over everything, but I’m getting that way. Telly and film seemed more fun when I was younger; turning left on planes and washing up in nice places. But there are things that you only learn in theatre. — Paul McGann

You take a plug and put it in a socket, and that’s what the theatre is-it lights up right away. You speak, and they respond immediately. — Chita Rivera

Well, I’ve always thought that my career was in England, really. I used to do more in the theatre, and I felt that I should be there. It’s not far is it? It’s amazing the way that special FX have taken a quantum leap in what they’re capable of doing. — Albert Finney

Certainly, nothing would stop me coming home for Christmas, if I can. But I’ve worked a lot in theatre, and in theatre in New York, we work Christmas Day a lot of the time as well. — Brian F. O’Byrne

Unless the theatre can ennoble you, make you a better person, you should flee from it. — Constantin Stanislavski

Movies are a complicated collision of literature, theatre, music and all the visual arts. — Yahoo Serious

The great lesson in theatre is that you live the story every night, and that is a wonderful vehicle for getting to the richest places in a performance or investing a character with the richest life. — Celia Weston

Characters in TV and theatre tend to experience a lot of conflict, so I push myself through sport to physical and emotional levels that hurt so I’ve some other reference for extreme experience that isn’t me shouting at my girlfriend or my mum. It’s a way of controlling the uncontrollable. — Elliot Cowan

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

I did theatre all my life and then went into the film world. I then kind of segued into TV land, which is a different experience. — T. J. Thyne

What I want to give in the theatre is beauty, that’s what I want to give. — Edith Evans

I started in theatre. I went to the Boston Conservatory and majored in musical theater. — Rachael MacFarlane

I knew ‘Be Our Guest’ would be performed on a set and in costume, but anyone with a history in Theatre In Education will know that can mean anything. — Pippa Evans

Theatre is liberating because it only works if it’s truthful – that’s what it requires. That’s not true of film: the camera does lie. — Helen McCrory

I almost failed drama at school. I hated it. It was all about the history of theatre. — Brenton Thwaites

I don’t know what is better than the work that is given to the actor-to teach the human heart the knowledge of itself. — Laurence Olivier

I feel theres enough seriousness in the world without seeing it in the theatre. — Pat Nixon

Professionally, I was at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and did lots of things there, and then I won the BBC Carlton Hobbs Award, so I did some BBC Radio drama work, which is a lovely way to start out because you work with lots of great people, and you’re working all the time, so you’re learning rather than sitting around and waitressing. — Lydia Leonard

My real training as an actor was when I started doing theatre. — Steve Buscemi

We can compare classical chess and rapid chess with theatre and cinema – some actors don’t like the latter and prefer to work in the theatre. — Boris Spassky

The first time I came to London on my own, I was 15. I was absolutely oblivious to so many things. I had no expectations, no fears. I just came to do a National Youth Theatre season one summer. It was just brilliant. — Gina McKee

Theatre outings are my favourite thing to spend money on. The most influential play I saw was Bent, which starred Ian McKellen. And I loved the original performance of The Rocky Horror Show, with Richard OBrien and Tim Curry at the Royal Court, when I was about 15. — Dawn French

I think the people who probably have it the best are the people on cable like on Entourage, the Sopranos, etc. who have 13 episodes per season and breaks to do films and theatre. I think thats the most ideal life. — T. J. Thyne

Whether it was working on theatre sets or stage lighting, I didn’t realize most all of the skills I was exposed to were going to come in handy later on when I became a designer. — Douglas Wilson

I was interested in opera and it seemed to me that the only possible theatre for contemporary opera would be television. So I started working towards a kind of television kind of opera. — Robert Ashley

The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time. — Stella Adler

As far as I’m concerned, Cate Blanchett is a goddess, but she’s really down to earth. She’s got all those Oscars, she’s made all those amazing films and she could spend her whole life doing that, but what does she also do? She gives birth to three boys and creates her own theatre in Sydney. — Sylvester McCoy

Money’s never an issue. I can go and work for a small studio theatre somewhere if it’s a play I really care about, or do TV or a big commercial West End show. — Conleth Hill

I did loads of student films and fringe theatre. I worked for free a lot. — Christopher Parker

I’ve loved every minute of every hour I’ve spent doing theatre. — Laurie Metcalf

I submit all my plays to the National Theatre for rejection. To assure myself I am seeing clearly. — Howard Barker

I am a theatre actor, but the last ten years I’ve taken parts in movies because it keeps me in money. — Michael Gambon

There’s nowhere to hide in the theatre. You can’t be the one in rehearsal who doesn’t know their lines. — Keeley Hawes

The truth, the absolute truth, is that the chief beauty for the theatre consists in fine bodily proportions. — Sarah Bernhardt

The world is a complicated place, and there’s a lot of division between people. The performing arts tend to unify people in a way nothing else does. — David Rubenstein

I have a dialect myself; it’s more pronounced, because I have studied theatre and been in England. It’s half-British, half-Indian. — Kunal Nayyar

The interest of my mother was more in the entertainment field. She loved to go to concerts and to the theatre. — Leon Askin

Theatre sports is the best improv training period — Wayne Brady

Theatre director: a person engaged by the management to conceal the fact that the players cannot act. — James Agate

I am a nationalist… my native soil is the theatre. — Cyril Cusack

What draws me to the theatre, and what appealed to me about Too Much Light, is that you have no idea what’s going to happen. That’s the most exciting part of theatre, it’s never the same. If it were, it would be like watching a movie. — Lusia Strus

I came up almost completely through the subsidised theatre. I have never been absolutely at the market interface, where I’ve got to sell my wares or die – I’ve always been protected from that. — Harriet Walter

Acting is the most personal of our crafts. The make-up of a human being – his physical, mental and emotional habits – influence his acting to a much greater extent than commonly recognized. — Lee Strasberg

Film is where I want to end up, but I don’t want to let go of theatre. — Viva Bianca

I never felt cool growing up. I was a bit of an outsider, but I discovered theatre very early on, which got me through. — Eric McCormack

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

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