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Make them laugh, make them cry, and hack to laughter. What do people go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise. I am a servant of the people. I have never forgotten that. Mary Pickford
Nadja: Look at all those pale desperate wretches scurrying around in the moonlight.
Colin Robinson: It’s a performing arts school. What We Do in the Shadows s2e1: Resurrection, BBC 2020
I went to the theatre last night, and had a good opportunity to study the character of the Mormons. There was about two thousand people assembled, and I must say they were the worst looking crowd in every way I saw. It was a fair sample of the population, and it confirms my previous opinion that they are ‘the scum of the Earth’. Mark Twain, letter to Wisconsin State Journal
O for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention
Leashed in like hounds ...
This wooden O ...
Whose high upreared and abutting frames
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder
Piece out our imperfection with your thoughts
Into a thousand parts divide one man,
And make imaginary puissance. William Shakespeare, Henry V prologue
Duke Senior: Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy.
This wide and universal theatre.
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.
Jaques: All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. William Shakespeare, As You Like It II vii @135
This high infant mortality rate is a real devil when it comes to staging quality children’s theatre. Blackadder’s Christmas Carol starring Rowan Atkinson & Tony Robinson & Mariam Margoyles & Jim Broadbent & Robbie Coltrane & Miranda Richardson & Stephen Fry et al, director Richard Boden, BBC 1988
Covent garden built thirty years earlier became the home of London’s reopened theatres. Lucy Worsley, Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls III: Act Three: At Work and at Play, BBC 2012
The world of the Restoration play house. After eighteen years of closure under the Puritan regimes, theatres weren’t simply re-opened in 1660, they were totally reinvented. ibid.
The female roles must now be taken by women. Previously the girls had always been played by boys. The first generation of women to take to the public stage became stars. ibid.
Melodrama: This stylised form of theatre was performed here at the Old Vic in London (the Blood Tub) ... A heady mix of music and acting ... rather like pantomime. A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley I: The New Taste for Blood, BBC 2013
Modern theatre has been on the decline since the late twenty-third century. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine s3e21: The Die is Cast, Bashir to O’Brien
The pinnacle of Elizabeth’s England – the theatre. Ian Mortimer, The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England III: Brave New World, BBC 2013
Parliament issued an order for the utter suppression and abolition of all stage plays. Roundhead or Cavalier: Which One Are You? BBC 2012
Victorian moral reformers argued that music halls linked to prostitution were part of an exploitation of women undermining the morals of the nation. Rude Britannia II: Presents Bawdy Songs & Lewd Photographs, BBC 2010
Plays like Entertaining Mrs Sloane and Loot [Joe Orton] with their assault on taboos of sex, class and death were a challenge to theatre audiences. Rude Britannia 3/3: You’ve Never Had It So Rude
Orton’s last piece of notorious rude theatre was What the Butler Saw. ibid.
You know, I go to the theatre to be entertained ... I don’t want to see plays about rape, sodomy and drug addiction ... I can get all that at home. Peter Cook, caption to cartoon by Roger Law, cited The Observer 8th July 1962
You want to know what a theatre is? A flea circus. All About Eve 1950 starring Bette Davis & Anne Baxter & Marilyn Monroe & George Sanders & Celeste Holm & Gary Merrill & Hugh Marlowe & Thelma Ritter & Gregory Ratoff & Barbara Bates et al, director Joseph L Mankiewicz, Bill
When I started in the theatre we had silent pictures. Bette Davis, interview BBC 1958
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
The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster. Oscar Wilde
The theatre has a magic which the studios don’t. John Mills, interview The Parkinson Show 1976
Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington,
Don’t put your daughter on the stage. Noel Coward, Mrs Worthington, song 1935
I always was a sucker for German theatre. Manhattan 1979 starring Woody Allen & Diane Keaton & Michael Murphy & Mariel Hemingway & Meryl Streep & Anne Byrne & Michael O’Donoghue & Wallace Shawn & Karen Ludwig et al, director Woody Allen
I took the easy way. I went on the stage ... Began at the top and have been working my way down ever since. Orson Welles, F for Fake 1974
I want to give the audience a hint of a scene. No more than that. Give them too much and they won’t contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you. That’s what gives the theatre meaning: when it becomes a social act. Orson Welles
Theatres are curious places, magician’s trick-boxes where the golden memories of dramatic triumphs linger like nostalgic ghosts, and where the unexplainable, the fantastic, the tragic, the comic and the absurd are routine occurrences on and off the stage. Murders, mayhem, political intrigue, lucrative business, secret assignations, and of course, dinner. E A Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
If you want more people to come to the theatre, don’t put the prices at £50. You have to make theatre inclusive, and at the moment the prices are exclusive. Putting TV stars in plays just to get people in is wrong. You have to have the right people in the right parts. Stunt casting and being gimmicky does the theatre a great disservice. You have to lure people by getting them excited about a theatrical experience. Catherine Tate
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
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 like the ephemeral thing about theatre; every performance is like a ghost – it’s there and then it’s gone. Maggie Smith
All the best performers bring to their role something more, something different than what the author put on paper. That’s what makes theatre live. That’s why it persists. Stephen Sondheim