Definition of theatrical in English:



  • 1Of, for, or relating to acting, actors, or the theater.

    ‘theatrical productions’
    • ‘This was Siobhan's first major role in a theatrical production.’
    • ‘In the 20 or 25 years of his theatrical career, Shakespeare produced 37 plays.’
    • ‘Powell's dramatic presence is obvious and his theatrical contribution assisted greatly in telling the story.’
    • ‘He has recently performed in successful theatrical productions of Beau Brummel and Sleuth in the West End.’
    • ‘Mercer's dialogue required highly accomplished actors with years of theatrical experience.’
    • ‘Yes, Baltinglass Amateur Dramatics are back with a theatrical treat for us.’
    • ‘Fair enough, he criticises the theatrical performance, the acting, the drama, the setting.’
    • ‘I'm sure that he has appeared in many fine theatrical productions during his long career as actor.’
    • ‘To some, he is a theatrical god, to others, an egotistical showman.’
    • ‘Much as I admire the new theatrical economy, I also feel a lot of American drama suffers from a telescoped urgency.’
    • ‘He pulled and pushed at the social and theatrical conventions of his day and constantly experimented with new dramatic form and technique.’
    • ‘This is the theatrical equivalent of the whodunnit you buy at the airport as you go on holiday.’
    • ‘It by no means has the same effect eighty years later but the entertaining allegory remains a stimulating theatrical event.’
    • ‘The company had an imaginative director and two budding theatrical costumiers who saved the day.’
    • ‘His stepfather, Ludwig Geyer, was an actor who roped the whole family into theatrical productions.’
    • ‘In a play packed with theatrical metaphors, he suggests even dictators are actors.’
    • ‘Schlusser has chosen a deliberately anarchic style for the story, subverting theatrical convention for effect.’
    • ‘The long silences really worked in a theatrical space.’
    • ‘In the end the play seems less a debate about modern art than a clever theatrical con trick in which we, like Adam, emerge decisively duped.’
    • ‘The basic conditions of theatrical performance force actors to use words and signs that the audience can understand.’
    • ‘One of the greatest theatrical comebacks ever is about to be staged in the East End.’
    • ‘The appeal of The Producers as a musical was its wicked wish to mock the whole pantomime of theatrical production and all who play in it.’
    stage, dramatic, thespian, dramaturgical
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Exaggerated and excessively dramatic.
      ‘Henry looked over his shoulder with theatrical caution’
      • ‘Her interpretations are dramatic, even theatrical, but never ‘over the top’.’
      • ‘Audience members left in a manner more theatrical than anything they had been watching.’
      • ‘Jackson shrugs his shoulders and waves his fingers in the air in a wild, gesticulating, heavily theatrical manner.’
      • ‘It's an undeniably theatrical production, as flamboyant as a Broadway musical.’
      • ‘Frequently theatrical and melodramatic, it captured the tensions of wartime Britain, thriving in enforced isolation.’
      • ‘Try the theatrical manner in which the player fell to the ground clutching his face after an elbow had brushed his cheek.’
      • ‘He opted for a strong theatrical style, exaggerating every tone and gesture and playing with great energy and ebullience.’
      • ‘I wanted to have a show where I can dance and be more dramatic, theatrical.’
      • ‘He begins by telling me, in his theatrical manner, what attracted him to Sutton in the first place.’
      • ‘‘Behold the wrath of a woman wronged!’ he stated in a theatrical manner, arms extended in front of him and palms upturned and pointing towards me.’
      • ‘Perhaps the music is theatrical and dramatic, and that is what it's all about.’
      • ‘Illuminated by a giant spotlight, Leon made a theatrical entrance to dramatic music.’
      exaggerated, ostentatious, actressy, stagy, showy, melodramatic, overacted, overdone, overripe, histrionic, actorly, affected, mannered, artificial, stilted, unreal, forced
      View synonyms


  • A professional actor or actress.

    ‘a boarding house that catered for theatricals’
    • ‘She was the late, loved Dame Thora Hird, who lived the last months of her life in Brinsworth House home for retired theatricals.’
    • ‘Yes, I can just see myself at a home for retired theatricals, beret on at a rakish angle, red shoes, lipstick up to my nose, telling people how fantastic I was at the Royal Shakespeare Company.’


Mid 16th century: via late Latin from Greek theatrikos (from theatron ‘theater’) + -al.