Theatre (or theater, see spelling differences) is a branch of the performing arts. Any performance may be considered theatre; however, as a performing art, theatre focuses almost exclusively on live performers creating a self-contained drama. A performance qualifies as dramatic by creating a representational illusion. By this broad definition, theatre had existed since the dawn of man, as a result of the human tendency for storytelling. Since its inception, theatre has come to take on many forms, utilizing speech, gesture, music, dance, writing, and spectacle, combining the other performing arts, often as well as the visual arts, into a single artistic form.
The word derives from the Ancient Greek theatron (θέατρον) meaning “a place for viewing.” Modern Western theatre derives in large measure from Greek drama, from which it borrows technical terminology, classification into genres, and many of its themes, stock characters, and plot developments.