What is the Difference Between Theatre and Cinema

The main difference between theatre and cinema is that theatre involves live performances like plays, opera, ballet, and musical theatre, while cinema involves films. 

Theatre is a building or outdoor area that houses dramatic presentations, and stage entertainments. In British English, cinema refers to a building that contains an auditorium for viewing films – this is equivalent for movie theatre in American English.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Theatre
     – Definition, Characteristics
2. What is Cinema
     – Definition, Characteristics
3. What is the Difference Between Theatre and Cinema
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Cinema, TheatreDifference Between Theatre and Cinema - Comparison Summary

What is Theatre

In general language usage, theatre is a building or outdoor area for housing dramatic presentations, stage entertainments, or motion-picture shows. In dramatic arts or performance arts, theatre specifically refers to a live performance that involves actors and actresses who act out a real or imagined event before the audience. Performers on the stage use various means such as gestures, speech, music, song and dance to communicate with the audience. Elements of art, such as painted scenery, stage props, and lightning, are also used to enhance the performance on stage. Plays, opera, ballet, and musical theatre (a type of drama where singing and dancing play an essential part) are some examples of theatre.  Plays can also be divided as comedies, tragedies and tragi-comedies.

Difference Between Theatre and Cinema

Some people find the theatre more interesting since it involves live-action. This is mostly because theatre is sometimes more grandiose than cinema. In a film, the cinematographer can capture all the subtlety of emotions using a close-up shot of an actor’s face. However, this is not possible in theatre; the performers have to convey emotions using voice and body language as it is difficult to pick up facial details of a theatre actor even from a front-row seat.

What is Cinema

In British English, cinema refers to a building that contains an auditorium for viewing films – this is equivalent for movie theatre in American English. Cinema can also refer to cinematography and the production of films as an art or industry.

Main Difference - Theatre vs Cinema

Cinemas or movie theatres generally show movies. Unlike in theatres, there is no live-action here. In a cinema, the film is projected with a movie projector onto a large projection screen at the front of the auditorium. Meanwhile, the sounds – dialogue and music are played through wall-mounted speakers. Since the action in movies is not live, like in the theatre, there is a possibility of using lots of effects, stunts, and backgrounds, using technologies like green screen and CGI (computer-generated images). Moreover, cinematographers also have the advantage of using close-up shots of actors, conveying all the subtlety of emotions.

Difference Between Theatre and Cinema

Definition

Theatre is a building or outdoor area for housing dramatic presentations, stage entertainments, or motion-picture shows. In British English, cinema refers to a building that contains an auditorium for viewing films – this is equivalent for movie theatre in American English.

Type of Performance

While theatre involves live performances like plays, opera, ballet, and musical theatre, cinema involves films.

Live Actions

Theatre involves live performance with actors and actresses who act out a real or imagined event before the audience. In a cinema, the film is projected with a movie projector onto a large projection screen at the front of the auditorium. 

Acting

In cinema, the cinematographer can capture all the subtlety of emotions using a close-up shot of an actor’s face. However, this is not possible in theatre; the performers have to convey emotions using voice and body language.

Conclusion

The main difference between theatre and cinema is that theatre involves live performances like plays, opera, ballet, and musical theatre, while cinema involves films. Both these have their own pros and cons, and some people prefer the cinema over the theatre, and vice versa.

Reference:

1. “Theatre.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 June 2020, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Theater interior, photography of inside the cinema, theatre, screen” (CC0) via Wallpaper Flare
2. “Theatre Aysen Chorus Free Photo” (CC0) via Needpix.com

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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