Difference Between Drama and Theater


Main Difference

The main difference between Drama and Theater is that Drama is associated with the published script of the play, whereas Theater is the genuine making of the play on stage.

Drama vs. Theater

A drama is printed writing of the play, whereas theater is the live fabrication of the play. In drama, analysis of the play is based on the reader; on the contrary, in theater, interpretation of the play is based on the artist.

In a drama, a direct link and a sense of interaction is noted between the producer and audience, whereas in theater directors, producers, designers, and actors work as intermediaries. We can say that a drama has a theoretical existence, while theater has a physical presence. The scene in drama can generally be considered as fiction shown to the audience in the form of play in which many artists and actors take part and perform their roles in the story; on the contrary, the theater is all about dance, musical, opera, mime, cabaret, etc.


Drama is referred to as a series of unexpected events and set of circumstances which can be thrilling, mysterious, or emotional; on the flip side, theater can be much more than plays in which staged poetry, and dramatic readings can also be planned. Drama can be an incident of life, such as the incident of 9/11, or it can be a fanciful display of emotions and contradictions. On the other hand, theaters is an essential performing art full of rehearsals and repeatedly take to make sure that the audience will believe it to be real whatever they are shown on the stage.

Comparison Chart

Drama is the written or printed script of the playThe theater is the play’s onstage production
The direct link between reader and drama writerNo direct relationship between audience and drama writer
Depends on the readerDepends on the actors
Theoretical existencePractical existence
Actor, director, audienceStudent, teacher, family or any other participant
The final productThe process
Is to be readIs to be seen

What is Drama?

Drama is a written or scripted play. We can say that a drama refers to the printed script of a play. It can be defined as a form of theater in which daily life conflicts and emotions are shown by acting. Drama is all about actions as it is derived from the Greek word, ‘dran’ meaning to act or do.

The act of performing a play and showing the story full of thrill, emotions, and an in-depth lesson in front of the audience is called as dramatization. In a drama, direct interaction and a secure link between reader and writer is felt. It also depicts an episode of life or an emotional, contradictional fabrication of events.

The drama has multiple forms, out of which one is a generic form, which has further many types. It may be in text form or prose or a verse depicting a story full of clashes and emotions. The drama may include genres where tragedy, action, suspense, thrill, or comedy may be presented in the form of TV series, movies, telefilms, a section in the library of plays or an episode of life, etc.


  • Comedy: Comedies provide happiness. These give us ways for enjoyment and help the audience forget their worries. Therefore, comedies go along with rare characters and amusing comments.
  • Tragedy: Tragic dramas portray shadier emotions such as abolition, discomfort, and bereavement.
  • Farce: Farce is all about overacting that engages extreme humor.
  • Melodrama: Melodrama is a sensational type of drama that appeals to the senses of the audience in an exaggerated form.

What is Theater?

The term ‘Theater’ is a derivative of the Greek word ‘theasthai,’ which means to hold. The theater is the real creation of play onstage. There are many things that a drama needs for its completion, such as a stage, background, actors, artists, designers, costumes, light effects, music system, etc. but the most important of all is the audience. The three basic requirements of a theater are a place for acting, actors, and audience.

The theater is not a result of a single soul’s aim. It is a collective effort of a group of people, which include playwrights, directors, actors, producers, technicians, and many other people. The sense of seeing a theater is different from the knowledge of reading a drama. E.g., the understanding we get by reading Shakespeare’s play is completely unlike the description offered by the same play’s theater act.


  • Proscenium Stage: The stage of which we typically consider as a theater.
  • Thrust Theater: A stage that is enclosed by the spectators on three sides. The audience does not pack backside only.
  • Arena Theater: A central stage bounded by the viewers on all sides is called arena theater. The stage area is raised so that the audience can see easily.
  • Flexible Theater: Flexible theater is also called as ‘Black Box’ theater. This type of theater is often like a big empty box painted black inside.
  • Profile Theater: Concessions make the theater from other spaces. Actors are staged just before the audience.

Key Differences

  1. Drama is a printed script of the play, while theater is onstage production of the play.
  2. Drama produces a direct link between the writer and reader, whereas theater has no direct connection between audience and creator.
  3. Drama is a conceptual body; on the other hand, the theater is a solid body.
  4. Drama’s interpretation depends on the reader, while the theater’s presentation depends on artists.
  5. Drama is an episode of life; on the contrary, the theater is the personification of drama performed on the stage where the audience is live.
  6. Dramas are written versions of the events or plays; on the flip side, theaters are animations of that play scripts.
  7. In drama, the story is just on papers, but in theaters, the story is played onstage during theatrical performances.
  8. A drama is to be read, and a theater is to be seen.
  9. In drama, only dialogues and stage directions are read, and we imagine the performance of artists by ourselves. However, in theaters, we see the artists performing the storylines before our very eyes.
  10. In simple words, we can say that drama is a play text, but theater is a performance text.


Drama is considered as a play text, while Theater is regarded as a performance text.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson