Katie Mann
February 5, 2014

As co-founder of 4th Wall Theatre Company I often get asked, “What is 4th Wall?”  A good question.  And as any little theatre student would know the 4th Wall, like the word “theatre,” has two different meanings and spellings.

Theatre vs Theater

Although not a rule, die-hard thespians will insist there is a distinction between the “re” and “er” of the two spellings.  What’s the difference, you ask?  “Theater” is the building.  Which if you are from Detroit, like I am, you are probably familiar with the Fox Theater and the Fisher Theater.  On the other hand the “theatre” is an art form.  Making the sentence “I performed theatre at the theater” just one of the many complex ones in the English language.

Fourth Wall vs 4th Wall

stage-screen-shotThe second spelling lesson is a homemade one as Annie and I created the “4th Wall” with the numeric spelling.  Traditionally the “fourth wall” is where the grand curtain rises and closes or in a smaller theater the line between the audience and the actors.  “Breaking the fourth wall” is a common theatre device (note the “re” spelling) where the actors acknowledge that hundreds of people are looking at them.  The first example written into a script?  Peter Pan.  He broke character and asked the audience to “clap if you believe in fairies!”  Fourth wall broken.

Now our 4th Wall wants to break the wall the other way:  let’s have a population not usually invited on stage take it over and shine.  Let’s have everyone feel that the stage is for them.  Let’s empower.

To learn more about our 4th Wall, watch the 4 minute video below.  I guarantee you’ll feel warm and fuzzy afterwards plus know exactly what the 4th Wall is.  Enjoy!