Real Live Theater

The Great Debate: theater or theatre?

In An Invitation for You, Who's watching? on January 15, 2009 at 5:44 pm

The great debate rages on into the night here at Real Live Theater: how do you spell theater or theatre?

Please take a moment to complete the simple survey below. If you would like to elaborate on why you spell it one way or the other, you have the option to also click on the red ‘comment’ button at the bottom of this article and share your reason with us. We would love to know your opinion.

Thank you for your participation!

  1. I was originally taught that theatre is what we do, and a theater is the building we do it in. Actors are then theatre artists, theaters are where actors do theatre, and The Theatre is the overall subject heading when hob-nobbing in the lobby.

    My vote is therefore viod, since I use both. I hope this is of use to someone. I’m curious to see how this turns out.

  2. I was taught that “theater” was the American spelling, and “theatre” was the English spelling. Also, on my diploma for my MFA it says, “UCLA School of Theater.”

  3. Like Tim Earls’s comment, I also use both.
    With theatre people I use that spelling but Spell Check does not like that spelling.

  4. I’ve always been in the t-r-e camp for theatre arts as opposed to buildings. But spell check doesn’t agree with me. But seriously, I’m more concerned that the adverb seems to be disappearing from the English language. So spelling theater different is something I cn live with.

  5. I’m from the United Kingdom, and like Dale Tagtmeyer said – I learned that theatre was the British spelling and theater was the americanized spelling.

  6. I’m on board with Tim. TheatRE is the art. TheatER is the building or space. So, you’d go to the theater to see some theatre.

  7. I graduated from the Brooklyn College THEATRE Department and have always been partial to that spelling. I always have a moment of hesitation when I have to create a press release telling that my theatRE group is performing at the XYZ TheatER Festival…..

    Ah well, all of life’s problems should be so small….

  8. […] Everyone seems to have a valid reason for choosing either theatER or theatRE to spell, well to spell theatER or theatRE, usually based on context, country of birth, or stemming from an encounter or association with a respected figure of some authority. (See previous comments on this subject by clicking here.) […]

  9. According to Associate Pres guidelines: Use “theater” except in proper names, such as Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, etc.

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