Meaning of theatre in English:


Pronunciation /ˈθɪətə/

See synonyms for theatre


(US theater)
  • 1A building or outdoor area in which plays and other dramatic performances are given.

    ‘Performances increasingly moved to theatres with proscenium arches, so the audience now viewed the dancers from the front, though no two spectators would have an identical view.’
    • ‘The next performance at the theatre is Alan Ayckbourn's ‘Relatively Speaking’.’
    • ‘A landmark cultural building, either a theatre or an opera house, according to Coyne, will act as a focal point for the area.’
    • ‘Most performances take place in theaters, usually in urban areas.’
    • ‘Acrobatic performances take place in the open theatre behind the building.’
    • ‘The exhibitions are complemented by concerts and theatrical performances in the state-of-the-art theater.’
    • ‘Later, he had decided to relax by venturing to the theater to see William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.’
    • ‘This building was a theatre, teeming with life - actors, audience, staff.’
    • ‘The building is old and handsome, containing a bistro type restaurant, a theatre and other performance spaces, and at least four galleries.’
    • ‘Behind the main building, the octagonal theatre has also been remodelled to create a tranquil, communal garden.’
    • ‘I always keep that in mind, even when going to the theatre for a performance.’
    • ‘The Union is actually becoming one of the very best little fringe theatres in London.’
    • ‘He admitted that there was a long way to go to make it a first-class theatre for dramatic works.’
    • ‘The newspaper asked a number of actors and directors why plays by Friedrich Schiller were no longer performed in German theatres.’
    • ‘Children were forced to wear their winter coats through a Christmas pantomime performance when a Southend theatre's heating system broke down.’
    • ‘Romania has many radio stations, television stations, live theaters, opera houses, cabarets, and entertainment establishments.’
    • ‘But don't expect to see the results in opera houses or theaters any time soon.’
    • ‘Catalans enjoy going to opera houses, theaters, and museums in Barcelona and other cities.’
    • ‘Maggie was too young to notice such things and was excited about meeting a lady who sang in theaters and opera houses.’
    • ‘I first saw James Brown in 1962 at an outdoor theatre in San Diego and it was electrifying.’
    • ‘This show, which includes many new songs, toured the country to much acclaim last summer with sell-out performances in various theatres.’
    playhouse, auditorium, amphitheatre, hippodrome, coliseum
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    1. 1.1often the theatremass noun The activity or profession of acting in, producing, directing, or writing plays.
      ‘what made you want to go into the theatre?’
      • ‘After graduating, Grant dabbled briefly in advertising but plugged away at an acting career in regional theatre.’
      • ‘Since then he has attended the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Arts, and has been involved in all aspects of theatre including writing, acting and producing.’
      • ‘He is known for his non-conformist attitude in every field in which he has proven himself, be it politics, theatre or the legal profession.’
      • ‘He then began to move more decisively toward theatre, drawn to directing by the opportunity to interpret other people's words.’
      • ‘I had never done any acting or theatre in school or college.’
      • ‘His growing literary interest led to his writing on theatre.’
      • ‘He had the experience of writing for theatre in his early career.’
      • ‘The idea is to turn the focus onto the fundamentals of theatre, including acting.’
      • ‘Lively conversation and anecdotes will abound as the duo discuss the art of writing for theatre.’
      • ‘I was in Japan last year and was fascinated by the theatre there - it's so different from western theatre.’
      • ‘After a spell in the theatre, he directed the TV mini-series ‘The Buddha of Suburbia’, and the films ‘Notting Hill’ and ‘The Mother’.’
      • ‘It's essential reading for anyone who cares about theater or writing.’
      • ‘Even though film and television are more lucrative in terms of remuneration, theatre offers a true spiritual experience.’
      • ‘Cinema, which borrows heavily from theatre in terms of choreography, has a few distinct features of its own that can be exploited.’
      • ‘It also gave him a valuable insight into the world of theatre and inspired him to develop his childhood talents.’
      • ‘I don't think in terms of film; I think in terms of live theater.’
      • ‘Some useful notions about theatre, past and present, suggest that it can operate in this way.’
      • ‘It combines elements of mime, dance, theatre, puppetry and text.’
      • ‘It was a happy coincidence that Brecht's theory of alienation was inspired by folk tales and folk theatre, which relied a lot on story-telling.’
      • ‘‘She told me that it was the role of theatre to present life and to put theatre back in touch with reality,’ says Mackenney.’
      acting, performing
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    2. 1.2mass noun A play or other activity or presentation considered in terms of its dramatic quality.
      ‘this is intense, moving, and inspiring theatre’
      • ‘They have acquired such a reputation for quality theatre that their shows are always a date for the calendar.’
      • ‘It has an unrivalled reputation for producing contemporary theatre of the highest quality, invention and energy, and for its dedication to new writing.’
      • ‘You couldn't get a better experience in terms of theatre.’
      • ‘The award recognises the company's well-deserved reputation for high-quality theatre by people with learning difficulties.’
      • ‘This production has been handled very well by the director, cast and crew and is bound to delight fans of good-quality community theatre.’
      • ‘It was a great opportunity for children to experience live, quality theatre with all the magic and excitement.’
      • ‘Peter Doran said it proved it was possible to provide quality theatre in remote regions like Pembrokeshire.’
      • ‘Then, in 1985, he formed a theatre company with the aim of producing quality professional theatre for young people.’
      • ‘The enthusiasts' tactics include presenting science as theatre, magic tricks and fantasy.’
      • ‘Simone's best songs had the dramatic breadth of musical theater.’
      • ‘This kind of theatre is what is meant by the term ‘edgy’ - fresh, in-your-face, a little disconcerting.’
      • ‘‘It was really interesting in terms of trying to translate that experience into theatre,’ Eatough says.’
      • ‘The production promises to live up to the group's current high standard of theatre, kicking off another packed year of top-quality shows.’
      • ‘The festival also attempts to improve the quality of college theatre.’
    3. 1.3mainly North American A cinema.
      ‘General Cinemas has a similar theatre called the Premium Cinema in the Chicago suburbs.’
      • ‘I did not expect a disc of a film that played in art house theatres to be all that remarkable, but I was shocked by how impressed I was with the audio and video quality.’
      • ‘It now costs $13.50 to see an evening movie at a Famous Players megaplex, and Cineplex Odeon theatres like the Varsity have followed suit.’
      • ‘We have one converted mausoleum that serves as the art house theatre.’
      • ‘After spending years in art-house theaters to avoid cheesy blockbusters, I was strangely comforted seeing American film culture here.’
      • ‘Rest assured, the art house theater will be bringing this movie to viewers in early March.’
      • ‘Watch out for a streamlined and thus completely uninteresting Hollywood remake in a theatre near you soon.’
      • ‘I love movies and I love the big screen and the theatre.’
      • ‘The basic plot was reworked for a new movie that appeared in art house theaters in 2001.’
      • ‘The winners receive a ten-dollar gift certificate for Cineplex Odeon theatres.’
      • ‘This includes all Regal, Loews Cineplex and United Artists theaters as well as several regional circuits.’
      • ‘‘The Delicate Art of Parking’ is playing at the Cinemark Tinseltown theatres in Vancouver.’
  • 2

    (also lecture theatre)
    A room or hall for lectures with seats in tiers.

    ‘He made the infants' room look like a lecture theatre, with children as young as three sitting on tiers in a gallery.’
    • ‘Work is due to start in April on the three-storey school, which will include a lecture theatre, IT rooms, restaurants and sports facilities.’
    • ‘The accommodation is rather basic and although they already have a lecture theatre, smaller conference rooms are needed.’
    • ‘The centre has a 150-seat state-of-the-art lecture theatre, an education suite and, of course, a restaurant and gift shop.’
    • ‘We are often cramped in a small lecture theatre with not enough seats and people sprawled on the stairs.’
    • ‘Soon the protestors moved in to fill the lobby outside the lecture theatre.’
    • ‘Further work will include a refurbished lecture theatre and new executive suite.’
    • ‘Were the women the subject of any adverse comments about their presence in the lecture theatre or classroom?’
    • ‘The grant, which comes from Government money, would go towards work to build a new lecture theatre and improve disabled access and toilet facilities.’
    • ‘This evening Mick spoke to a packed lecture theatre at Victoria University's Architecture School in Wellington.’
    • ‘Sitting in an overcrowded lecture theatre, I noticed students from the same school as Anna entering.’
    • ‘I was sitting in my usual seat in the fourth row of the lecture theatre beside one of my other closest friends, Natalie, or Tally, as I liked to call her.’
    • ‘Sometimes, when I had to be content with a seat at the back of the lecture theatre, I used a pair of opera glasses to get at least a glimpse of the speaker.’
    • ‘More than 100 people packed a lecture theatre at the Steam Museum to hear the MPs underline their commitment to the war and listen to the views of their constituents.’
    • ‘This month, people will have the chance to watch the final cut at two showings at 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm in the lecture theatre.’
    • ‘As her eyes scanned the chemistry lecture theatre her attention was drawn to the strapping, sporty-looking student at the other side of the room.’
    • ‘For a moment, it feels as if I'm back in a university lecture theatre.’
    • ‘When was the last time a boy held a door open for me coming out of a lecture theatre?’
    • ‘It has an air-conditioned, tiered lecture theatre, a conference room for 270 and a large number of seminar rooms.’
    • ‘Each day there will be exciting demonstrations, interactive workshops and fascinating talks in the lecture theatre, featuring new ideas and inspirational hints and tips from top experts.’
    hall, room, auditorium
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    1. 2.1British An operating theatre.
      ‘respiratory function is carefully controlled and monitored throughout the patient's stay in theatre’
      • ‘the theatre nurse’
      • ‘On Sundays he would worry about the patients whose surgery would be cancelled next day for want of a bed, when the hospital had surgeons, theatres, and operating crew available.’
      • ‘Her behaviour was always the same on the ward rounds, in clinics, and in theatre.’
      • ‘She works as a nurse in the orthopaedic theatre in Sligo General Hospital.’
      • ‘It had 42 beds, a theatre, labour ward, dispensary, and small laboratory.’
      • ‘This would require reserve capacity in terms of operating teams and theatres.’
      • ‘In theatre, the surgeon saved her life again, stabilising her multiple fractures before she was sent off to the intensive care unit in the middle of the night.’
      • ‘The dressing should be removed in theatre with the patient under appropriate anaesthesia.’
      • ‘As previously mentioned, five of the nurses who participated in this study worked primarily in theatre.’
      • ‘We need to fight back by ensuring that hospital wards, theatres and departments are kept spotlessly clean.’
      • ‘However, these dressings are highly expensive and need to be applied by trained staff in theatre.’
      • ‘Our reliance on such machinery was previously highlighted two years ago, when the hospital's theatres and intensive care unit were hit by power failures.’
      • ‘In the antiseptic environment of an obstetric theatre, I witnessed this spectacle with the detachment of a duty-conscious executioner.’
      • ‘She indicated that though she had had some theatre experience, she was not an experienced theatre nurse.’
      • ‘When this happens, the theatre nurses can relax and enjoy their work with the pressure off temporarily.’
      • ‘However, nothing would be gained by putting more patients on the ward than the theatre could process.’
      • ‘Two audiologists, two speech therapists, a theatre sister and a specialist registrar will accompany the couple on the trip in October.’
      • ‘One of the vehicles will be converted to make a mobile clinic and dispensary service, while another will be used as a theatre for minor operations.’
      • ‘Operations will be moved to the hospital's seven other theatres.’
      • ‘He kept a vigil outside the theatre while the surgeons operated.’
      • ‘The number of patients undergoing arthroplasty thus increased by 17% without any increase in theatre capacity or number of beds.’
      • ‘The underuse of theatres is also resulting in the postponement of 145 operations a week.’
  • 3The area in which something happens.

    ‘a new theatre of war has been opened up’
    • ‘The question has to be asked, however, what parents were doing allowing their children to be in harm's way in the middle of a bloody theatre of war.’
    • ‘The theatre of war looms large in France's film culture and this First World War prison drama, based on a true story, was long hailed as one of the greatest films ever made.’
    • ‘To compound the woes of the invading forces, with every passing day weather conditions in the theatre of war will grow increasingly worse.’
    • ‘It removed bungling amateurs from the theatre of war.’
    • ‘Successive governments denied that the region had been a theatre of war: pressure from veterans has forced recantation.’
    • ‘Now, the big question is how do they extricate themselves from a theatre of war that daily looks more like a slaughterhouse?’
    • ‘The main theatre of war was in the Crimea, where British, French and Turkish troops landed and laid siege to the port of Sebastopol.’
    • ‘This turned a diversionary skirmish into the main theatre of war.’
    • ‘More than two million of these were Americans bound for the European theatre of war.’
    • ‘He was later posted to the Pacific theatre of war, in charge of a mobile radar unit.’
    • ‘Fifteen months later, he was commanding a theater of war.’
    • ‘It is accepted that no such training can wholly reproduce the conditions of patrolling a hostile area, much less wholly reproduce the experience of a theatre of war or of combat itself.’
    • ‘This theatre of war alone devoured 30,000 Soviet lives.’
    • ‘In the European theatre of war, 5,556 war criminals were tried, the majority in France, America, and the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘As the theatre of war moved south, so did the smallpox, primarily affecting civilians, camp followers, and irregular troops in both armies.’
    • ‘Russia replied by opening up a new theatre of war in the Balkans.’
    • ‘Italy, which had wanted to withdraw from the fighting, now became a theatre of war.’
    • ‘This allows for the rapid deployment of troops around the world, no matter where the next theater of war develops.’
    • ‘On the point of losing everything to the rebels, the king's triumphant emergence in the theater of war helps push back the enemy and offers a possibility of victory.’
    • ‘This has obvious effects on attempts to transport armies or other land forces by sea into distant theatres of operations.’
    • ‘He saw action in many theatres and was awarded Operational Service Medals for Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq.’
    • ‘Having proved that she is more than capable of working in an operational theatre, HMS Echo is now beginning to demonstrate her true capabilities and value to the Fleet.’
    • ‘Two soldiers from 2 Para were flown home during the investigation and the other four remained in Kabul but were removed from the theatre of operation.’
    • ‘The badges will be presented to surviving members from either of the two wars, who served in operational theatres of war.’
    • ‘She has served in very many operational theatres.’
    • ‘These divisions were deployed by the army in various operational theatres and fully integrated into its command structure.’
    • ‘During World War II, Soper was sent to the Mediterranean theater of operations as part of the U.S.A. Typhus Commission.’
    scene, arena, field of action, place of action, sphere of action
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    1. 3.1as modifier Denoting weapons intermediate between tactical and strategic.
      ‘he was working on theatre defence missiles’
      • ‘The Russians had rattled sabers throughout 1983, trying to stop NATO's theater missile deployment.’
      • ‘In the wake of the Rome Declaration, a special working group on theater missile defense was set up.’
      • ‘But it is not a tactical and theater missile threat that has formed the focus of National Missile Defense.’
      • ‘He stressed he was not planning to discuss high-level issues such as the U.S. plan to deploy a theater missile defense system.’
      • ‘They would protect the country's navy in the first instance but would also offer a potential platform for theatre missile defence linked to a strategic defence system.’
      • ‘These capabilities include both mine warfare and other coastal combat forces, and sea-based theater missile defence.’
      • ‘These include theater missile defense systems to protect troops and bases in relatively small regions of conflicts.’
      • ‘For one thing, if the North cancels its missile plans, the U.S. will lose a main justification for building the theater missile defense system Beijing opposes so strongly.’
      • ‘Rice was suggesting Japan and the U.S. step up cooperation on joint research on the theater missile defense system.’
      • ‘The Russian proposal was made in response to U.S. national missile defense plans including the U.S. and Japanese theater missile defense concept.’
      • ‘Japan is taking a rather supportive stance because it is engaged in joint research with the U.S. to develop a theater missile defense system.’
      • ‘The program was to provide allies, such as Japan and South Korea, with so-called theater missile defense capability.’
      • ‘China has also been critical of the planned theater missile defense system to be jointly researched by Japan and the U.S.’
      • ‘The North Korean threat is a key justification for U.S. military spending, the presence of U.S. troops in Asia and a new theatre missile defence system.’
      • ‘In any event, as a result of the bureaucratic ploys and the increased capability of theater missiles, the lines between the two programs have blurred.’
      • ‘We already have theater missile systems that are working.’


Late Middle English from Old French, or from Latin theatrum, from Greek theatron, from theasthai ‘behold’.