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The area of the stage where the play is performed. Also called the Playing Area.
To improvise lines or speeches that are not part of the script.
A lighting bar hung from the auditorium ceiling, usualy fairly close to the stage, to provide steep frontal illumination. Also called the front-of-house (FOH) bar.
General indirect light, produced by reflection from the stage, scenery, or by scatter from lanterns.
Stepped banks of seating surrounding an arena. Also used to describe one of the tiers of a multi-level auditorium.
To secure a set piece to the stage floor.
Large disc in front of a lantern and rotated by a motor. Animation discs are designed with slots or cut patterns, or are made of painted glass, and give the impression of movement of light. Used with profile spot in conjunction with a gobo to create water or fire effects.
The extension of a stage projecting outwards into the auditorium. In certain types of theatre the apron can be quite large. See also forestage.
In lighting design the divided portions of the stage used to apportion light.
One of the terms used to describe types of open stage. As it derives from the sand strewn combat area in a Roman amphitheatre, it should be a term for 360 degree encirclement; but it has been used to describe thrust stages.
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER (ASM)
The person responsible for the props, marking out the floor plan of the set in the rehearsal room, setting up at the beginning of a show, acting as a walker at the technical rehearsal, and so on.
Light from behind the actor or a piece of scenery. It is a highly sculptural light which separates the actor from the background.
Scenery used behind, and limiting the view of the audience through an opening (e.g. doorway or window) in a set. See also masking.
Musicians changing room.
A tube, pipe or barrel for holding spotlights.
Folding shutters attached to the lens end of a lantern that can be adjusted to alter the shape of the edge of a beam.
A horizontal rail, usually of wood, used by ballet dancers when practising.
Length of metal pipe, suspended on a set of lines, to which scenery may be attached by means of snatch lines instead of being tied directly to the suspension lines. It is a standard part in a unit of the counterweight system. Also called pipe batten.
The prompt side is always on the actors left. The other side is always called the OP side (Opposite Prompt). If the stage managers control desk and therefore the prompt corner happens to be on the OP side it is called a bastard prompt.
BATTEN (Scenery batten)
Length of rigid material usually wood, used in scenery construction generally; also a length of timber carrying and stiffening a hanging cloth.
Lanterns which have a strong concentrated beam of light, they have a parabolic reflector and are popular with rock and roll lighting and are sometimes used as soft-edged follow spots.
The area of light covered by a light beam. The longer the throw the larger is the beam spread.
The request for cast and crew to take their positions for the start of the performance - called five minutes before curtain up. Also called places.
A profile spot with two sets of shutters. The first shutter is at the gate and enables soft focused shaping of the beam.
A fast shutdown of all lighting to total darkness.
A switch on lighting control boards which "blacks out"
Curtains hung both to mask the back-stage area and to shape the on-stage area. Normally made of wool surge.
Stepped seating blocks which can be retracted for storage and to clear a flat floor.
Establishing in early rehearsals the approximate movements and actions of actors.
Cylindrical carrier for the suspension and movement of draw curtains on a horizontal track.
The book contains the playscript and all the artistic, technical and stage management information for the production. It is recorded at each rehearsal and used by the assistant stage manager to run or cue the performances.
When actors have learned the lines and rehearse without the script.
Two flats hinged together in order to be self-supporting when folded on the hinge.
A vertical bar mounted in a base, used to hang lanterns with the use of a boom arm.
A portable theatre that can be quickly erected. It is usually made from cloth over a simple framework of wood or light metal.
A pelmet used to mask the line of sight over a setting and to hide the flys, lanterns, battens, etc.
Setting comprising a series of flats arranged in a more or less continuous line around the three sides of the acting area away from the audience. Normally used for interior scenes. Can also be used with a ceiling piece.
Piece of wood used diagonally in the frame of a flat to strengthen it.
Slotted iron weight, which can be set on the foot-iron of a brace to hold it in position.
Line used to pull and retain any piece of hanging scenery or property from the position it would occupy if left hanging free.
A prop specifically made to break at a certain point in the play.
To age a prop to give it history, especially if it has been newly bought or made.
Mobile platform suspended over the stage or audience that provides access to lanterns.
A short length of cable or chain used to distribute the stress on a barrel at a suspension point.
Electrical cord used in lighting equipment needing electricity.
CAD LIGHTING PROGRAM
CADD (Computer Aided Design and Drafting) programs enable the designer to prepare the lighting plot, including side views and cross sections on a computer.
The notification to cast and crew of rehearsal or performance. Also the countdown to curtain provided by stage management, usually half-hour call, fifteen minute call, five minute call, and beginners.
The bulletin board used by stage managers to post any information pertinent to actors and crew, such as rehearsal schedules and costume fittings.
Earphones or headphones.
The fabric used to form a cloth or to cover a flat, etc.
In touring theatres the resident stage manager is often called "stage manager".
A small wheel used on scenery and scenic equipment for ease of shifting.
An immobile platform above the stage that reaches from one end of the stage to the other, used to gain access to the stage equipment.
An imaginary or real line that divides the stage area into two equal parts, running from downstage to upstage.
The middle area of the performance space.
A lighting term used to describe channels or groups of channels which are sequentially switched on and off in a continuous loop.
Wooden or metal fitment round which a line may be turned and/or tied off.
Any hanging painted cloth.
List of quantity and size of gel frames and catalogue number to be used for a show.
A device placed in the colour frame runners of a lantern, enabling remotely controlled changes of the gel. Three variety of changers are Semaphor, Scroller, and Colour wheel.
COLOUR CORRECTION FILTER
A gel used to adjust the colour temperature of a light source to achieve, for example, cold white light.
The person who is responsible for the pastoral care of the actors. If the show is touring, the company manager sorts out domestic details.
COMPANY STAGE MANAGER
This title is used if a person is doubling as stage manager and company manager.
A piece of 1/4" plywood cut in the shape of a triangle, used to connect the stile to the rail on a flat. Also called Triangle or Corner.
The person who designs the costumes, which usually includes providing samples of material and detailed technical drawings.
COUNTERWEIGHTS (COUNTERWEIGHT SYSTEM)
Mechanical system for flying scenery in which the weight of the pieces of scenery is balanced by adjustable weights in a cradle running up and down in guides in a frame normally at the side of the stage. Double purchase systems gears the movement of a counterweight to half that of the scenery it is supporting.
The backstage group of people who perform all the technical tasks during the show.
In blocking, to move from one area of the stage to another.
A passageway behind the stage for actors and technicians to cross from one side of the stage to the other.
A lighting action in which a particular light cue fades down as the next light cue fades up.
The signal for an action by an actor or a technician during a performance. Actors cues are mostly verbal, but for technicians they may be given verbally over the intercom by the stage manager or visually by a cue light.
Specific lights used by the deputy stage manager to cue back stage technicians and actors.
The page(s) used to note the cues given by the deputy stage manager to the different technicians.
A written list of lighting cues including their position in the script, time, and nature of lighting change.
In addition to its normal definition relating to draperies, a term used to indicate the start or end of a performance such as "Five minutes to curtain up" (five minutes to the start of the performance).
The final line in the play.
The imaginary line across the stage immediately behind the proscenium which marks the position of the house tabs when closed.
Rails from which draw tabs are hung and along which the runners or bobbins travel when the curtains are moved; the track may be fixed or flown.
A cloth which has a part cut out to reveal another cloth set behind; the cut-out portion is often filled with gauze.
Plain, curved, stretched cloth or rigid structure used as a background to a setting, giving an illusion of infinity.
A day or night when there is no performance.
The predetermined level to which a suspended scenic piece is raised or lowered to take up its correct position in the setting.
The person who produces designs of the set and a scale model, which are then given to the stage carpenter to construct. The designer may also influence the publicity designs and logos.
A filter designed to diffuse the light transmitted through it. There are numerous filters available, each designed for a different degree and type of diffusion. These include frost and brushed silk.
To decrease the intensity of a stage light.
An electrical apparatus used to control the intensity of the lantern to which it is connected.
On a control board, when one crossfader is brought up and the other brought down simultaneously, there is therefore a dip in the levels of lighting intensity on stage.
Stage dips or dip traps are small traps in the stage containing stage-lighting outlets and electrical cables.
A crossfade designed to eliminate problems of dips in intensities when crossfading.
The person responsible for the entire artistic direction of a play.
A person or an object on stage when the curtain goes up.
The scene dock is a store for scenery next to the stage. Scenery is unloaded and taken through the "dock door" into the stage area.
A piece of metal with a circle cut out of its centre, this is inserted in to the colour frame of a profile spot in order to reduce spill and scatter from a lantern.
Light from above the actor; the beam perpendicular to the stage floor. Can be used as a colour wash without the light directly hitting the scenery.
Portions of a stage nearest the audience.
Any unspecified fabric hanging in folds as a scene or part of a scene, especially curtaining fabrics such as woollens, velvets etc.
A perforated sparge pipe which in the event of a fire will spray water on the back of the safety curtain.
The occasion when all elements of a production are finally rehearsed together, simulating performance conditions. Also called a Dress Run.
People who are sometimes appointed to help dress actors either during quick changes, or if the costume is very complex to put on. They are usually either members of the wardrobe team, or the assistant stage manager.
DRESSING A SET
The decoration of the set with items that are principally for aesthetic purposes only.
Frozen carbone dioxide particles which when dropped into hot water create an effect similar to fog.
A technical rehearsal without actors.
Thin strips of cloth used to mask cracks between flats.
An event or a moment intended to create a particular emotional reaction.
A theatre technician who installs and/or operates the lighting for a production.
ELLIPSOIDAL REFLECTOR SPOTLIGHT (ERS)
A type of lantern that emits a hard edged circle of light. Commonly called a Leko.
The acting area is at one end of the auditorium, and is not framed by a proscenium arch.
A control on the dimmer board, which can be moved up or down either to bring lanterns on or fade them out.
FADE TO BLACK
A decrease of lighting levels terminating in a blackout.
Metal plate with a fixed ring (as distinct from a flying iron which has a hinged ring), used for scenery suspension.
A unit section of flat scenery. Usually constructed from light wooden frameworks over which canvas is tightly stretched and secured, then painted.
Small piece of flat scenery hinged to a larger piece of flat scenery.
Row of lanterns on front edge of stage at floor level and in front of main (house) curtain.
A lantern that projects a diffused, un-focused beam of light. Used for general illumination.
Suspended on lines.
To point and shape the beam accurately from each lantern.
A heavy piece of muslin used to cover the stage floor.
Lift above the level of the stage floor by means of sets of lines from the grid. The term flys is also used as an abbreviation for fly gallery.
FLY GALLERY (FLYING GALLERY)
A gallery extending along a side wall of the stage, some distance above the stage floor, from which ropes used in flying scenery are operated. Also known as a fly floor. The fly galleries are usually referred to collectively as the flys.
The space above a stage in which scenery can be flown out of sight of the audience.
The operation of lowering and lifting all flying pieces such as flats and drapes, from and into the flys.
Metal plate with a hinged ring used for scenery suspension.
Triangular frame hinged to the back of a piece of standing scenery and folded flat for storage.
Arrangement of several flats battened together and flown as one unit on a set of lines.
Scene that begins and ends with an actors entrance or exit.
(Prounounced 'frennel'.) A type of lantern that emits a soft edged diffused light, used mainly for general cover.
A scale drawing that gives a front view of the set.
Sometimes a painted cloth is brought down near to the house curtain for a front scene to be played on the forestage. This front cloth usually masks scene changes behind it,
A light coming from downstage of the subject, generally brought in 45° off full front.
FRONT OF HOUSE
Areas of a theatre on the audience side of the proscenium wall or stage area are called 'Front of House' (FOH).
A lamp with a revolving reflector and a red or blue or amber plastic dome. Used for "emergency" vehicle effect.
Effects, as in lighting effects or sound effects.
The optical aperture of a profile spot where the shutters are located and an iris or a gobo can be inserted.
GAUZE (GAUZE CLOTH)
Flat curtain of fine mesh mosquito netting or similar fabric, either painted or unpainted, which when lit solely from the front appears to be opaque, but when lit from behind becomes transparent. It is used for a transformation scene or other illusions. A fabric known as "Sharks tooth gauze" is also used for this purpose.
Transparent plastic sheet placed in front of a lantern to colour the light beam.
A metal frame into which gels are placed to prevent distortion (usually via heat).
GET IN (AND OUT)
The process of delivering and taking scenery and props in and out of a theatre.
A light left on when the theatre is locked up for the night.
A metal cutout used in ellipsoidal reflector spotlights that projects an image on stage. Also called template.
A metal plate which holds a gobo of a paricular size in a lantern of a particular size.
Gobo holders with variable speed reversible motors which enable dynamic gobo projections.
Tape that glows in the dark; placed in small pieces around the set so the actors and crew will not bump into anything during a blackout.
A preparation used in priming and paint for scenery.
A lighting term used to describe a fader which masters all the output of a preset board. It controls all preset masters and submasters.
An oblong trap, usually downstage centre; originally the ghost trap.
A back-stage room used by actors and crew as a waiting and meeting area.
Plan of a stage on which is marked the position of the scenery in a setting, (including borders, hanging pieces and sometimes lighting equipment).
Low-topped piece of flat scenery, profiled and painted to represent ground foliage, a bank of earth, a distant mountain range, etc., designed to stand up independently on the stage and used to mask cyclorama lighting units.
Metal fitting resembling a saddle, for attaching a throw-line to a piece of scenery.
The 35 minutes warning before the performance starts.
Properties that are handled by actors during the performance.
Metal fitting, formed into a square hook at one end, used in flyingflats and other framed pieces.
The term is usually employed to signify lines used for flying scenery which are made from vegetable fibre as distinct from the steel wire ropes used in the counterweight system. Hemp lines are hauled up manually and tied off on a cleat on the fly rail. A hemp house is a stage equipped with these hand operated "hemp sets" and no counterweights.
The area of the greatest illumination projected by a lantern.
The part of the theatre where the audience sits.
Lights used to illuminate the area where the audience sits.
HOUSE TABS (CURTAIN)
The main curtains between stage and audience, normally placed immediately behind the proscenium.
Device compromising three or more sheaves set together either in line or parallel to each other on a common shaft and attached to the grid directly above the fly rail. The lines from the three or more loftblocks in a set are brought together at the lead block and pass on down to the fly rail cleat in a hemp set or to the weight cradle in a counterweight set.
List of all lanterns with their relative circuit and patch numbers.
A hook shaped clamp for hanging a lantern on a lighting bar.
Backstage communication system, employing a microphone and headphones or speakers.
A style of theatre where the audience surrounds the acting area.
An adjustable circular diaphragm within a lantern with an arrangement of thin plates which are moved by a handle outside the lantern to adjust the size of the iris aperture.
A large disc with a number of holes in it for coloured gels. It is attached to an electric motor at the front of a lantern and changes the color of the light as it revolves. Also known as a Colour Wheel.
Name derived from an early form of lighting hence - "Limelight". Now occasionally used to describe front-of-house positions for follow spots.
The lamp or lighting instruments placed on a circuit.
Narrow gallery above the fly gallery, used for storing the weights and loading them on the cradles when balancing scenery in the counterweight system.
In a counterweight system the handling rope passes through a rope lock attached to a locking rail which runs the length of the counterweight wall frame.
LOFT BLOCK (GRID PULLEY)
Sheave in a metal frame bolted to the grid and used to pass a suspension line; there is one block for each line in a set. See also Set of Lines.
Arrangement of ceiling pieces, each hung on two sets of lines with the downstage edge higher than the upstage edge, so as to form a ceiling with gaps through which light may be projected.
To hide any equipment or offstage area through the use of curtains, flats, etc.
MASKING (MASKING PIECE)
A piece of scenery, not necessarily painted, used to cut off from the view of the audience any part of the stage space which should not be seen. See also backing and permanent masking.
A rotating sphere covered with small mirrors. When a spotlight is focused on the ball, multiple moving spots of light sweep across surrounding surfaces of the acting area.
A moon effect created by a shallow box with lamps in it. The inside of the box is generally painted white and the front face, which has a circle cut out of the centre, is covered with diffusing material. The box is fixed to the back of a cloth or translucent scenery to shine through.
The side of the stage opposite the prompt side: traditionally the prompt corner is on the actor's stage left. Also known as "bastard prompt".
The tempo of the performance.
All the pieces required for a particular scene when stacked together in the correct order for setting.
PACKING RAIL (STACKING RAIL)
A rail, usually of steel tube, projecting from a stage or store wall against which flats are stacked.
A platform or wide cradle the width of the paint frame which can be hauled up and down, usually mechanically, so that all parts of a cloth can be reached.
The frame to which backcloths, flats, etc. are fixed for painting in a vertical position.
A meeting between director, designers and stage management to define and record the series of technical events required to operate the production.
PAPER THE HOUSE
To give away free tickets to a performance in order to fill the house.
Sealed beam lamp, cosisting of a filament, a parabolic reflector and a glass front. The glass can be clear, diffused, or patterned, which affects beam spread. The light transmitted is parallel with a large amount of spill.
The body in which a PAR lamp is inserted. The PAR lamp can be rotated so that the oval shaped beam is aimed either length or width ways.
Length of tapered wood for placing under a scenic piece so that it will set level on a raked stage floor.
Inclined rostrum, normally sloping up from the stage floor.
Usually the first rehearsal at which the company reads through the script.
The scale drawing that gives a back view of the set.
The narrower of two flats cleated, hinged or otherwise fixed together at an angle.
Narrow flat usually substantially less than half the width of a standard flat, used to form a short return to a major service and thus increase the illusion of solidity.
Piece of timber or other material attached to the edge of an opening (e.g. a doorway) to give the effect of depth or thickness.
Circular table forming a permanent part of the stage floor or standing upon it, on which scenery can be set for quick changing of scene or for creating various effects. Sometimes the revolve is formed of two or three rings and a centre, capable of independent or simultaneous movement, differing speeds and opposite directions. It can be turned through 360 degree either manually or by motor.
Set up scenery on stage. Rigging is a collective term for the suspension of equipment.
The vertical front of a raised stage where it faces the auditorium is the stage riser.
Where there is no flying space over the stage a backdrop can be rolled up (usually over a former). This is then called a roller or roll drop.
The handling rope of a counterweight set passes through a "rope lock", which when locked prevents any further movement.
Platform(s) placed on the stage floor to create changes of level where required. A large rostrum is usually constructed in sections with loose tops and folding frames, but some small ones are rigid. A sloping rostrum is known as a ramp.
The total number of performances for a production.
To rehearse the show by performing from beginning to end without stopping.
A length of stage flooring that can be drawn off sideways leaving a long narrow opening (cut) through which a cloth or flat may be raised.
Length of carpet used offstage to reduce back stage noise.
A steel chain used to attach hanging equipment to the support structure as a safety support in case of failure of the primary hanging support (clamp etc.).
SAFETY CURTAIN (Fire Curtain/Iron Curtain)
Screen or shutter comprising a steel framework faced with sheet steel and mineral fibre fabric, mounted immediately behind the proscenium opening and fitted with a mechanism for raising it clear of the top of the proscenium arch and with a quick release device to allow it to descend by gravity in the event of fire on the stage.
Bag of canvas with strap and ring, filled with sand and used for weighting purposes.
A brief outline of a play, which indicates scene by scene who is on stage and what happens.
An area off the wings where scenery can be stored.
Coarse woven hessian, or similar material used in scenery construction. The term is also used as a verb to describe the action of dipping an item in glue or plaster to give its surface a durable crust.
Arrangement of scenery units which together represent a single location where the actors perform. The term is also used as a verb to mean to put up or assemble scenery for use (e.g. to set a stage).
SET OF LINES
Unit group of suspension lines hanging from the grid for the attachment and flying of scenery; there are usually three or four lines in a set. See also Counterweights.
Props that are used to decorate the set and are usually not handled by actors.
Built-up unit of scenery, complete in itself, often three-dimensional and capable of standing free on the stage floor.
The imaginary line across the stage in front of which scenery cannot be hidden by the house curtain. See also Curtain Line.
Grooved wheel (pulley) over which a line may be passed.
The process of moving from one setting into another during a play. Also to move (shift) a prop or piece of furniture.
Similar to a sandbag but smaller and filled with lead-shot.
Light from the side of an actor facing the audience. Side lighting is often used in dance, as it emphasizes the entire body and movement.
Narrow strip of metal, often half-round, used to brace the bottom of a door flat across the doorway opening.
Imaginary lines of sight that determine what is visible to the audience on stage and what is not.
A suspension system where there is no gearing of pulleys. The counterweight and its travel will be the same as that of the object which is suspended.
A simple, stuctured backdrop to the performance area in Greek theatre.
Unit of scenery used to convey the impression of open sky. See also Cyclorama.
A machine to produce smoke. Most smoke machines use smoke fluid which is heated in the machine and expelled by air pressure to create clouds of smoke or a light haze.