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Theatre or Theater?

By June 27, 2010

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To E-R or to R-E? That is the question... in America, at least.

"Theatre" is the French spelling of a 14th century word borrowed from the Greek, meaning "a place for viewing." As with most things that traverse the "ocean blue," the sound and the spelling have been Americanized by some.

Many of us stage performers still spell it theat-RE but use the American pronunciation (THEE-ah-ter). At some point, a distinction between the two began, and I was taught it thusly: theat-RE for the live performing arts and venues, but theat-ER for movie cinemas.

So... theat-RE, theat-ER-- To-may-toe, tuh-madduh ... I spell it "theatre" and use ketchup.

Take the poll, and let me know what you think!


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