Know The Difference between Theatre Actors and Film actors

All theatre actors can be film actors, but not all film actors can be theatre actors. Sounds confusing?

Stage Vs Screen Acting

Well, acting is one of the art forms that many wishes to master. However, many go to theatres while others go directly to the film industry. So, the question is, what is the difference between the two that makes all the difference? Readout to know the differences.

Differences between theatre actors and film actors

Stage Vs Screen

Both have a different audience

Theatre Actors have a live audience. They perform directly in front of them. Their viewers are from nearby places, where they can easily reach on the spot and watch the performance, while film Actors get their audience from far away places. People from remote places can see them perform on tv.

Audience reaction

Theatre Actors can see their audience’s reactions while they perform. Artists entertain the public and get to hear the responses therein, while Film Actors can’t see their audience while performing.

Facial expression and gestures differ for theatre actors

Expression and gestures play a great role in acting. Where the theatre actors have to go through a big struggle of giving strong expression on everything they do, after all, they have to ensure that even the last row gets to know the play and is well audible and visible to them. The whole body part is involved in delivering the message. On the other hand, film actors make their expressions in front of the camera and don’t have to exaggerate their expressions or gestures.

The volume of voice is different

Film Actors can deliver a low pitch or high pitch voice as per the demand of the scene, but the theatre actors have to adjust their volume of the voice. It makes it easy for the people sitting far from the stage to hear and connect with the drama.

Location differs

A theatre actor performs on a stage that is prepared as the demand of the scene. The stage is set up with proper light, with a specific background, and artificial attributes to give it the exact scene for the shoot, while film actors perform in real locations. They are to travel from one location to another to shoot for the movie.

Takes and retakes

Theater actors do as many rehearsals as needed before performing live. They can’t make mistakes; they have to perform well prepared. Film Actors, on the other hand, can take as many retakes until the scene is perfect.


The script is well-rehearsed by the theatre actors beforehand, and the audience too knows the theme. They either have already heard the story or seen the rehearsal before. Film actors come up with new stories and quite unfamiliar dialogues.

Character difference

Theatre actors represent a character through their performance. They try to act or resemble the person they’re playing, while film actors act as the character themselves.

Now that you know the difference between theatre and film actors let’s quickly know the difference between theatre and mainstream cinema –

One goes live; the other is on screen

Theatre is watched live. Actors perform in front of you and can be seen from naked eyes. However, one can watch mainstream cinema on t.v, on-screen, in halls, and on phones.

Characters are real in theatre

Actors playing roles in theatre are real. They can be seen on the stage performing their character. On the other hand, cinema actors are sometimes real, sometimes fictional animated, created from CGI(Computer Generated Imagery), or with special effects.

Cinema has stuntmen to perform an action

Action scenes are performed by the actors in theatre, while a specific stuntman is kept for performing stunts on behalf of the actors in the cinema.

Theatre actors have a stage on a fixed location

Theatre is a fixed location set for the stage to perform. However, the cinema has no fixed location to shoot for scenes. 

Editing in mainstream cinema

In mainstream cinema, the scenes can be edited or removed from the movies later if it doesn’t get the approval of the editor. But no scene can be undone in stage performance. Everything has to go as the script without any mistake.

Less budget for theatre and high budget for cinema

Theatre can operate with less budget. It doesn’t cost as much as the cinema; whereas, mainstream cinema needs a high budget. Its team is big; costumes vary, location changes and actors’ pay is high compared to theatre actors.

Theatre is the oldest form of acting

Theatre originated in Greek 2,500 years ago, is the ancient form of acting. It was theatre that dramas, plays, opera, and concerts came into existence. On the other hand, mainstream cinema gained popularity in the early 20th century. It was recorded for watching later.

Marketing in theatre is small

Marketing in theater is through promotion; while, cinema gets promoted on a big scale. Heavy expenses are spent on billboards, trailers, ads, and big banners.

  • Shah Rukh Khan
  • Anupam Kher
  • Om Puri
  • Nawazuddin Siddique
  • Boman Irani
  • Rajkumar Rao
  • Radhika Apte
  • Paresh Rawal
  • Sabana Azmi
  • Rajpal Yadav
  • Naseeruddin Shah
  • International Theatre Festival of Kerala – Thrissur, Kerala
  • Adirang Mahotsav – New Delhi
  • The Hindu Metroplus Theatre Fest – Chennai
  • Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival – Hyderabad
  • Guwahati Theatre Festival – Guwahati, Assam
  • Nandikar’s National Theatre Festival – Kolkata
  • Platform for Action in Creative Theatre – Gurugram, Haryana
  • Jairangam-Jaipur Theatre Festival – Jaipur, Rajasthan
  • Vad Fest – Gujarat
  • Serendipity Arts Festival – Panaji, Goa

If you plan to learn and master the art, you can consider the following popular theatre Institutions

  • Padarpan Films and Theatre Institute
  • Balajee Academy of Talents
  • National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi
  • School of Drama and Fine Arts, Thrissur
  • Drama School Mumbai (DSM)
Screen Acting Tutorial


Today theatres and films are a great source of entertainment. Actors from any field deserve our respect for such tough acting and bringing alive the character.

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