Difference Between Drama and Theater

Main Difference – Drama vs Theater

In simple terms, the main difference between drama and play is that the drama is the printed text of a play while the theater is the actual production of the play.

Drama and Theater are two words that we often use interchangeably as both of them  are related to performing arts. However, there is a distinct difference between these two words and in this article we are going to look at the difference between drama and theater. 

What is Drama

Drama is the printed text of a play, in other words, a drama refers to the script of a play. The British theater Guide defines drama as “a branch from theater based on a representation of an event written in prose or pantomime that is meant to duly enact and illustrate an event or situational conflict through acting.” The term “drama” is derived from the Greek word, ‘dran’ meaning to do or to act. As with novels or other written literary work, the people enjoying the drama have different interpretations to the context. In a drama, there is direct interaction between the author and the reader.

The term ‘drama’ also refers to an episode of life, or fiction that involves emotion or conflict. In the contemporary society, this word is used to refer to genres of films and TV series as well.difference between drama vs theater

What is Theater

The term ‘theater is derived from the Greek term theasthai (to behold). Theatre refers to the actual production of the play on the stage. This requires a stage, actors, background, costumes, lighting, sound effects and most importantly an audience. In fact, a space to perform, actors, and the audience are three of the most basic requirements of theater. Theater is a collective effort of the playwright, director, actors, technicians and many other people. Here, there is no direct interaction between the audience and the playwright. Theater can present another interpretation of the play. For instance, the interpretation we get from reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth might be different from the interpretation presented by a theater performance of Macbeth.

difference between drama and theater - a theater

Difference Between Drama and Theater

The key difference between drama and theater is that drama refers to a printed text of a play while theater refers to the onstage production of the play. Another difference between these two terms is the interpretation of the play. As explained above, the interpretation of the play presented by the onstage production might be different from the interpretation obtained by reading the drama. In a drama, there is a direct interaction between the audience and the creator. However, in theater directors, actors and designers play as intermediaries. In addition, a theater is a physical entity while drama is an abstract entity.

           Drama                Theater        
Drama is the script of a play. Theater is the onstage production of a play.
There is direct interaction between the reader and dramatist. There is no direct interaction between audience and the dramatist.
Interpretation of the play depends on the reader. Interpretation of the play depends on the artists.
Drama is an abstract entity. Theater is a physical entity.



Image Courtesy:

Reading the script” by Say_No_To_Turtles  via

“Theatre Nord Ouest grande-salle” by Frédéric Raspail – Own work. via

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