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In the art, theatre is a collaborative genre that involves live performers, usually actors or actresses, who work together to convey the experience of a real or imagined event to an audience in a particular location, usually a stage. The performers may use a variety of techniques to convey their feelings to the audience, including gestures, speaking, song, music, and dancing. To increase the physicality, presence, and immediacy of the encounter, artistic elements such as painted scenery and stagecraft such as lighting are utilised in conjunction with other elements of the experience. The term "theatre" refers to the particular location where the performance takes place, and it is derived from the Ancient Greek o (théatron, "a place for seeing"), which is derived from the Greek o (theáomai, "to see", "to watch", and "to observe" (théatron).

Most of the technical vocabulary, categorization into genres, and many of the themes, stock characters, and narrative elements found in modern Western theatre are derived from the ancient Greek theatre from which it draws. Patrice Pavis, a theatre artist, describes theatricality, theatrical language, stage writing, and the uniqueness of theatre as equivalent terms that distinguish theatre from the other performing arts, literature, and the arts in general, according to the artist.

Performances of plays and musical theatre are common in contemporary theatre. Ballet and opera are both considered theatre arts, and they use many of the same traditions as theatre, such as acting, costumes, and staging. They had a significant impact on the evolution of musical theatre; for further details, check the articles linked above.