Theater or Theatre | Spelling, Difference & Examples

Theatre and theater are two different spellings of the noun used to refer to the building in which theatrical performances are carried out and to the art or profession of theatrical production. The spelling varies based on whether you’re writing UK or US English.

  • In UK English, ‘theatre’ is standard.
  • In US English, ‘theater’ is more common.
Examples: Theatre and theater in a sentence
The local theatre/theater has received national funding.

Whenever I visit London, I go to the theatre/theater.

Eva has always wanted to work in the theatre/theater.

I’m not a fan of the theatre/theater. I prefer watching movies.

Sometimes a distinction is made between theater (meaning a building) and theatre (meaning the art or business of theatrical production). However, this distinction is not commonly accepted and does not reflect actual usage.

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing. Upload your document to correct all your mistakes.


Exception: The names of buildings and production companies

There’s an exception to the rule of distinguishing between theatre and theater based on the version of English. When the name of a building or company (e.g., Manhattan Theatre Club) uses an alternative spelling, it’s a proper noun and can’t be changed.

Example: Theater name as proper noun
Anna is a big fan of theater, and she’s always wanted to visit the Globe Theatre in London.

The only proofreading tool specialized in correcting academic writing

The academic proofreading tool has been trained on 1000s of academic texts and by native English editors. Making it the most accurate and reliable proofreading tool for students.

Correct my document today

Movie theatre or theater

Movie theater is used in US English to refer to the building in which movies or films are shown. In UK English, this building is instead called a ‘cinema’. ‘Movie theatre’ is rarely used.

Examples: Movie theater in a sentence
We went to a nice restaurant and then to the movie theater.

The food in the movie theater is so expensive!

Other interesting language articles

If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.


Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

Ryan, E. (2022, September 29). Theater or Theatre | Spelling, Difference & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 10 July 2024, from

Is this article helpful?
Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.