Great Theatre Quotes

Here are some great and insightful theatre quotes from famous playwrights, producers and actors.

"The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster" - Oscar Wilde

"No emotion ever made, or ever will make, a good play if we do not know what kind of forces set emotion going. Emotion, to be sure, is as necessary to a play as barking to a dog." - Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing.

"All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances," - "As You Like It." Act 2, Scene 7. William Shakespeare.

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

"I come from the theatre, my bones are in the theatre; it’s as natural as breathing to want to be in the theatre. I want to carry on making films and television – that’s just part of who I am." - Kenneth Branagh, (source: The Independent interview)

"Art is not a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer with which to shape it." - Bertolt Brecht

"Drama lies in extreme exaggeration of the feelings, an exaggeration that dislocates flat everyday reality. Dislocation, disarticulation of language too." - Eugene Ionesco (source)

"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

"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." - Oscar Wilde

"I suspect that every play I write is part of one large play. But you don't know the large play till you've written the last one." - Edward Albee (source: interview in The Guardian)

"Playwriting gets into your blood and you can't stop it. At least not until the producers or the public tell you to.." - T.S. Elliot

"A stage play is basically a form of uber-schizophrenia. You split yourself into two minds - one being the protagonist and the other being the antagonist. The playwright also splits himself into two other minds: the mind of the writer and the mind of the audience." - David Mamet (source: The Huffington Post)

"Just say the lines and don't trip over the furniture." - Noel Coward

"If a playwright tried to see eye to eye with everybody, he would get the worst case of strabismus since Hannibal lost an eye trying to count his nineteen elephants during a snowstorm while crossing the Alps." - James Thurber

"A dramatist is one who believes that the pure event, an action involving human beings, is more arresting than any comment that can be made upon it. On the stage it is always now: the personages are standing on that razor-edge, between the past and the future, which is the essential character of conscious being; the words are rising to their lips in immediate spontaneity." - Thronton Wilder (source: The Paris Review)

"To enter a theatre is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination." - Simon Callow (Sydney Morning Herald)

"The Three-Act structure is critical to good dramatic writing, and each act has specific story moves. Every great movie, book or play that has stood the test of time has a solid Three-Act structure." - Stephen J. Cannell (source)

"This is why the theater is so endlessly fascinating - because it's so accidental. It's so much like life." - Arthur Miller (source)

"Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress. When I get tired of one I spend the night with the other." - Anton Chekhov (source)

"A stage space has two rules: (1) Anything can happen and (2) Something must happen." - The Empty Space: A Book About the Theatre by Peter Brook.

"The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays that part." - Miguel de Cervates, Don Quixote.

"The play is not in the words, it’s in you!" - Stella Adler (source)

You might also be interested in our Shakespeare Quotes page.