Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting

AIEL Instructional

Stage, Theatrical,
Lighting Terminology

Definitions or Explanations of
Words and Phrases as Used by
Persons Associated with Theatre
or with Other Performance Stages

This glossary presents terms and expressions that might be
encountered when working specifically around a stage, or
generally within any entertainment venue. The definitions
shown here may not be the only ones known for a given
entry, and may not even be the definitive ones, but most
are commonplace on the Stages of Atlantic Canada.

Because we are a lighting company, particular
attention will be devoted toward terms related
to stage lights, their accessories and hardware,
and to lighting's technical and artistic aspects.

Entries are in STRICT Alphabetical Order
Canadian Spellings are used Throughout
Numbers are Treated as if Spelled Out


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Alphabetical Access
First-Letter Shortcuts
to Definition Sections

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Common Classifications

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Terms beginning with that Letter

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O   P   Q   R   S   T   U

V   W   X   Y   Z



Below by Category are Words and Phrases that will be defined
later on this page. Should you not know the term you want,
peruse each category related to the word(s) you have in mind
to see if a term might suit. Then use your browser's "Search"
function to quickly locate its Definition as found after the
"Categories" section.

Be aware that some terms may only be found within the definition
of another term. This usually occurs here when one or more
alternate words are used by some persons instead of the common
term shown in the category. Once again, use your browser's
"Search" function to locate these alternate words anywhere on
this webpage.

For more on this "Search" feature, see:
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Numbers are treated as if Spelled Out
Canadian Spellings are used Throughout
Entries are in STRICT Alphabetical Order

Choose a Category
or Scroll / Cursor Down

Audio    Business    Crew    Electrical

Hardware   Lighting    Music     Performers

Production   Set / Scenic    Stage     Theatre Arts




  • Ambience
  • Analogue Control
  • Array
  • Atmosphere
  • Audio Designer

  • Backline
  • Bell Board
  • Belt Pack
  • Board
  • Board Operator
  • Boom
  • Breakout

  • Cabtire
  • Cat5
  • Cat6
  • Channel
  • Count
  • Crew Call
  • Crew Request
  • Crosstalk
  • Cue
  • Cue Directive
  • Cue Point
  • Cue Session
  • Cue Sheet
  • Cue Stack

  • Daisy Chain
  • Dead Cue
  • Desk
  • Dimmer Buzz
  • Driver

  • Floor Box
  • Follow Cue

  • Gate
  • God Mic
  • Ground Loop
  • Hang Point
  • Headset System

  • Jack
  • Jumper

  • Lavaliere
  • Line Input
  • Loom

  • Microphone Tape
  • Mix
  • Monitor
  • Multicable
  • Mute Cue

  • Patch
  • Phoenix Cue
  • Pick Up
  • Placeholder Cue
  • Plug
  • Presence
  • Preshow
  • Q2Q
  • Quad Box

  • Range Connector
  • Return

  • Send
  • Snap Cue
  • Stand

  • Talkback Mic
  • Timed Cue
  • Timed Fade
  • Track
  • TRS
  • Twist-Lock
  • Tracks
  • U-Ground

  • Visual Cue

  • XLR
  • XLR Terminator

  • Zombie Cue



  • Assigned Seating

  • Box Office

  • Comps
  • Contact Sheet/List

  • Door/Take
  • Front of House Staff

  • Gate
  • General Seating
  • Gross/Take

  • Lobby Card

  • Matinee
  • Nondisclosure

  • Paper
  • Patrons
  • Pay What You Want
  • Percentage Deal
  • Per Diem
  • Pickup Crew
  • Plus One
  • Producer
  • Production Company
  • Production Photo
  • Production Video
  • Promoter

  • Reserved Seating
  • Run
  • Seating
  • Soft Opening

  • Venue
  • Venue Manager



  • Afterglow
  • Apple Box

  • Backline
  • Backstage Vision
  • Bell Board
  • Belt Pack
  • Blacks
  • Board
  • Board Operator
  • Book Flat
  • Briefcase Gig
  • Build

  • Cable Tie
  • Cabtire
  • Callback
  • Cart
  • Cast/Crew Party
  • Caster Lock
  • Card Set
  • Catwalk
  • C Clamp
  • Chalk Set
  • Clear
  • Clock-Face
  • Colour Code
  • Connector Sock
  • Cordage
  • Cracker
  • Crew Call
  • Crew Request
  • Crimp Connector
  • Crowbar
  • Cubes
  • Cue
  • Curtain Line
  • Cut-Out

  • Date Tag
  • Dead Hang
  • Desk
  • Dolly
  • Dress Kit
  • Drop Box

  • Flat
  • Flightcase
  • Floor Box
  • Floor Pocket
  • Fly
  • Fly Person
  • Fly Space/Gallery
  • Foam Board /
  • Fly System
  • Fog Machine
  • Foley

  • Gaff
  • Gaffer Tape
  • Glass Box
  • Glow Tape
  • God Mic
  • Good One Side
  • Gopher
  • Grid
  • Grunt

  • Hand Truck
  • Hang Point
  • Hazer
  • Headset System
  • Jack Stand

  • Leg Line
  • Legs
  • Lectern
  • Lighting Gloves
  • Lighting Wrench
  • Loading Dock
  • Loom
  • Lobsterscope
  • Marking Out
  • Mask
  • Masking
  • Masking Flat
  • Multicable

  • Orchestra Pit

  • Perch
  • Per Diem
  • Pickup Crew
  • Pin Connector
  • Platform Stage
  • Plug
  • Podium
  • Power Lift
  • Preset
  • Proscenium
  • Pry Bar
  • Pyro
  • Q2Q
  • Quad Box
  • Quad Flat

  • Rag Rolling
  • Rake
  • Range Connector
  • Receptacle
  • Revolve
  • Rider
  • Riser
  • Roadcase
  • Run Sheet

  • Sandbag
  • Sash Cord
  • Screwdriver
  • Screwgun
  • Scrim
  • Seating Area
  • Set
  • Set Piece
  • Shadow Line
  • Skirt
  • Special Effects
  • Spike
  • Spike Plot
  • Spike Session
  • Spike Tape
  • Stage
  • Stagehand
  • Stage Box
  • Stage Tape
  • Strike
  • Stumble-Through

  • Tape Set
  • Talkback Mic
  • Technical Area
  • Technical Director
  • Technical Rehearsal
  • Theatre Box
  • Thrust Stage
  • Tormentor Pipe
  • Tormentor Pipe
  • Transitional Rehearsal
  • Threefer
  • Thunder Sheet
  • Triangle Flat
  • Turnaround
  • Turntable
  • Twist-Lock
  • Traveler
  • Truck
  • Twofer
  • U-Ground

  • Venue
  • Verbal Rehearsal
  • Walk-Through
  • Wall Pocket
  • Watch Perch
  • Weight Cradle
  • Wrecking Bar



  • Bell Board
  • Breakout
  • Bulb

  • Cabtire
  • Catwalk
  • Colour Code
  • Connector Sock
  • Daisy Chain
  • Dimmer Buzz
  • Drop Box

  • Fixture
  • Floor Box
  • Floor Pocket
  • Fluorescence
  • Grid
  • Ground Loop

  • Jumper

  • k/K

  • Lamp
  • LX

  • Outlet

  • Pigtail
  • Plug
  • Phase
  • Pin Connector
  • Polarised Connector
  • Power Lift

  • Quad Box

  • Range Connector
  • Receptacle
  • Relamp
  • Screwdriver
  • Tails
  • Threefer
  • Twofer

  • U-Ground

  • Wall Pocket



  • Anchor Plate

  • Caster
  • Caster Cups
  • Caster Lock
  • Catch
  • Cordage

  • D Ring

  • Jack Stand
  • Kee Klamp

  • Pan Bolt
  • Pipe Clamp
  • Pipe Fitting

  • Quick Link

  • Recessed Hardware
  • Retainer Ring
  • Safety Cable
  • Safety Clamp
  • Screwdriver
  • Set Wire
  • Snap Hook
  • Surface Hardware

  • Tongue & Groove

  • Weight Cradle



  • Accent Light
  • Accessory Holder
  • Airlift
  • Analogue Control
  • Ambience
  • Aperture
  • Atmosphere
  • Area Lighting
  • Array
  • Backlight
  • Barndoors
  • Batten
  • Beam Angle
  • Beamlight/
    Beam Projector
  • Beam Pattern
  • Beam Quality
  • Beam Splitter
  • Beam Spread
  • Belt Pack
  • Bi-Convex Lens
  • Blackfoil /
    Black Wrap
  • Blacklight
  • Blending
  • Blind Mode
  • Blinders
  • Board
  • Board Operator
  • Boom
  • Borderlight
  • Bounce
  • Bounce Cloth
  • Breakout
  • Breakups
  • Build
  • Bulb
  • Bump
  • Cabtire
  • Cameo
  • Carbon Arc
  • Cat5
  • Cat6
  • Channel
  • Chromatic Abberation
  • Cine Foil
  • Clear
  • Cold Reflector
  • Colour Boomerang
  • Colour Changer
  • Colour Correction
  • Colour Frame
  • Colour Kit
  • Colour Media
  • Colour Media
  • Colour Mixing
  • Colour Pack
  • Colour Scroller
  • Colour Temperature
  • Colour Wheel
  • Complementary
  • Complementary
  • Connector Sock
  • Count
  • Crew Call
  • Crew Request
  • Cross Fade
  • Crossfader
  • Cue
  • Cue Directive
  • Cue Point
  • Cue Session
  • Cue Sheet
  • Cue Stack

  • Daisy Chain
  • Date Tag
  • Dead Blackout
  • Dead Cue
  • Dead Hang
  • Dead Spot
  • Decimal Cue
  • Desk
  • Dichroic
  • Diffusion
  • Dimmer
  • Dimmer Buzz
  • Dimmer Curve
  • Dimmer Pack
  • Dimmer Rack
  • Dimmer Schedule
  • DMX512
  • DMX Terminator
  • Douser
  • Drop Pipe/
    Drop Rod
  • Effects Projector
  • Effects Slot
  • Element
  • Ellipsoidal

  • Fader
  • Field Angle
  • Filament
  • Filament Sing
  • Fill
  • Final Focus
  • Fine Focus
  • Fixture
  • Flash
  • Flash Button
  • Flash Powder
  • Flash Pot
  • Flat Field
  • Floor Base
  • Floor Light
  • Fluorescence
  • Focal Length
  • Focus
  • Follow Cue
  • Followspot
  • Footcandle
  • Footlights
  • Forced Perspective
  • Frame Holder
  • Franken-Gel
  • Fresnel
  • Front Light
  • Funnel

  • Gate
  • G Clamp
  • Gel
  • Gel Frame
  • Gel Schedule
  • Ghosting
  • Gig Light
  • Gobo
  • Go Button
  • Grid
  • Groundrow

  • Hot Spot
  • Hang Point

  • IFCB
  • Intelligent Lighting
  • Iris

  • Jumper

  • k/K
  • Kicker
  • Key Light
  • Keystone
  • Lamp
  • Lamp Alignment
  • Lamp Code
  • Lamphouse
  • Lamp Sock
  • LED
  • Leko
  • Light
  • Light Bar
  • Light Curtain
  • Lighter's Block
  • Lighting
  • Lighting Designer
  • Lighting Director
  • Lighting Gloves
  • Lighting Wrench
  • Light Ladder
  • Light Plot
  • Light Pool
  • Light Shield
  • Limbo
  • Lime Light
  • Lobsterscope
  • Loom
  • Lumen
  • Lumens per Watt
  • Luminous Flux
  • Lux
  • LX
  • Mask
  • Masking
  • Modelling
  • Moon Box
  • Mover/Moving Lights
  • MR16
  • Multicable
  • Mute Cue

  • Neutral Density
  • Neon

  • Olivette
  • Opaque
  • Open White
  • Out Hang
  • Outlet

  • Pan
  • P&P Mode
  • PAR
  • Patch
  • Pattern
  • Pattern Holder
  • Pattern Projection
  • Pattern Slot
  • Pattern Wash
  • Peak Field
  • Perch
  • Phoenix Cue
  • Phosphorescence
  • Photo Flood
  • Pigtail
  • Pin Connector
  • Pinspot
  • Plano-Convex Lens
  • Placeholder Cue
  • Plug
  • Practical
  • Preheat
  • Presence
  • Preset
  • Preshow Look
  • Primary Colours
  • Primary Pigments
  • Profile
  • Program

  • Q2Q
  • Quartz Halogen
  • Radiant Flux
  • Range Connector
  • Rated Lamp Life
  • Receptacle
  • Response Time
  • Retainer Ring
  • Rough Focus
  • Roundel
  • Runners
  • Saturation
  • Sealed Beam
  • Secondary Colours
  • Secondary Pigments
  • See
  • Semaphore Changer
  • Scoop
  • Shadow Line
  • Shin Buster
  • Shutters
  • Sidelight
  • Silk
  • Snap Cue
  • Sneak Fade
  • Soft Light
  • Snoot
  • Socket
  • Sparkle
  • Special
  • Special Effects
  • Spill
  • Spectrum
  • Spherical Abberation
  • Stand
  • Star Drop
  • Step Lens
  • Stipple
  • Striplight
  • Submaster
  • Swatch Book
  • Timed Cue
  • Timed Fade
  • Template
  • Tilt
  • Tint
  • Tips
  • Top Hat
  • Toplight
  • Tormentor
  • Translucent
  • Transparent
  • Transition Line
  • Three Point Lighting
  • Throw Distance
  • Tweak Focus

  • U-Ground
  • Ultraviolet
  • Up Hang
  • Under Light
  • Under Lit

  • Visual Cue
  • Wash
  • Windup Tower

  • XLR
  • XLR Terminator
  • Xrays
  • Yoke
  • Yoke Out
  • Yoke Up

  • Zombie Cue
  • Zone
  • Zoom Lens



  • Applause Point
  • Arranger

  • Band
  • Book
  • Build

  • Callback
  • Chart
  • Choreographer
  • Company
  • Composer
  • Count
  • Cue
  • Cue Point
  • Cue Stack

  • Dead Cue
  • Dress Rehearsal
  • Duet
  • Entr' acte

  • Invitational Dress

  • Jukebox Production

  • Keyboard Rehearsal

  • Laugh Point
  • Libretto
  • Lyricist

  • Mugician
  • Music Director
  • Mute Cue

  • Opera
  • Orchestra
  • Orchestra Pit
  • Overture
  • Phoenix Cue
  • Placeholder Cue
  • Podium

  • Reprise

  • Score
  • Segue
  • Snap Cue
  • Solo

  • Recitative

  • Triplet
  • Vamp
  • Visual Cue

  • Zombie Cue



  • Act
  • Acting Area
  • Acting Call
  • Action Prop
  • Actress
  • Ad Lib
  • Afterglow
  • After Party
  • Alternate
  • Amateur
  • Anachronism
  • Antagonist
  • Applause Point
  • Aside
  • Attention Puller

  • Band
  • Belt Pack
  • Blocking
  • Book
  • Break a Leg

  • Call
  • Callback
  • Cast
  • Cast/Crew Party
  • Casting Call
  • Casting Director
  • Chart
  • Chew the Scenery
  • Cheat
  • Choreographer
  • Chorus
  • Claque
  • Clear
  • Clock-Face
  • Close-Up Magic
  • Cold Reading
  • Company
  • Confederate
  • Contact Sheet/List
  • Count
  • Cross
  • Cross Casting
  • Cue
  • Cue Directive
  • Cue Point
  • Cue to Cue
  • Curtain Call
  • Curtain Line
  • Dance Call
  • Dead Cue
  • Dialogue Cue
  • Diction
  • Director
  • Ditch
  • Double Up
  • Dramatis Personae
  • Dress Rehearsal
  • Duo
  • Epilogue

  • Fight Call
  • Follow Cue
  • Force

  • Have I Tied...
  • Hit the Mark

  • In Character
  • Invitational Dress
  • Italian

  • Keyboard Rehearsal

  • Laugh Point
  • Line
  • Load

  • Makeup Mirror
  • Mask
  • MC
  • Mentalism
  • Mind-Reading Act
  • Mind Rehearsal
  • Misdirection
  • Monologue
  • Mugician
  • Musical
  • Mute Cue

  • Nondisclosure
  • Notes
  • Octet
  • Off Book
  • On Book
  • Opera
  • Orchestra
  • Orchestra Pit
  • Out

  • Pan
  • Paraphrase
  • Participation Play
  • Party
  • Patter
  • Percentage Deal
  • Per Diem
  • Phoenix Cue
  • Photo Call
  • Pick Up
  • Placeholder Cue
  • Play
  • Plus One
  • Professional
  • Prologue
  • Prompt
  • Prop
  • Provisional Prop
  • Protagonist

  • Q2Q
  • Quartet
  • Quintet
  • Read-Through
  • Reprise
  • Reveal
  • Routine

  • Schtick
  • Scene
  • Scene Breakdown
  • Script
  • Segue
  • Semi-Professional
  • Septet
  • Sextet
  • Shadow Line
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Snap Cue
  • Soliloquy
  • Solo
  • Sparkle
  • Stage Business
  • Stage Call
  • Stage Whisper
  • Stagger Through
  • Stooge
  • Stumble-Through
  • Subtext

  • Tableau
  • Talk
  • Technical Rehearsal
  • Trio

  • Understudy
  • Vamp
  • Vanish
  • Velcro
  • Verbal Rehearsal
  • Visual Cue
  • Walk-Through
  • Warmup
  • Wrap Party

  • Zombie Cue



  • Act
  • Alternate
  • Anachronism
  • Applause Point
  • Arranger
  • Artistic Director
  • Audio Designer

  • Book
  • Call
  • Callback
  • Cast
  • Casting Director
  • Chorus
  • Choreographer
  • Claque
  • Company
  • Composer
  • Contact Sheet/List
  • Costume Designer
  • Costume Master
  • Costume Parade
  • Crew Request
  • Cue
  • Cue Directive
  • Cue Session
  • Cue Sheet
  • Cue Stack
  • Cue to Cue
  • Curtain Speech

  • Dead Cue
  • Director
  • Dog and Pony
  • Dresser
  • Dress Parade
  • Dress Rehearsal

  • Entr' acte
  • Gaffer Tape

  • Head
  • Headset System

  • Intermission
  • Invitational Dress
  • Jukebox Production

  • Laugh Point
  • Libretto
  • Lighting Designer
  • Lighting Director
  • Light Plot
  • Lyricist

  • Master
  • Matinee
  • Mistress
  • MC
  • Musical
  • Music Director
  • Mute Cue

  • Notes

  • Opera
  • Overture

  • Pan
  • Paper Tech
  • Parody
  • Participation Play
  • Phoenix Cue
  • Pickup Crew
  • Placeholder Cue
  • Play
  • Playbill
  • Post Show
  • Preshow
  • Preshow Video
  • Preview
  • Producer
  • Production Assistant
  • Production Company
  • Production Desk/Table
  • Production Photo
  • Production Video
  • Program
  • Promoter
  • Prop
  • Props Master
  • Provisional Prop
  • Q2Q

  • Read-Through
  • Rider
  • Run

  • Satire
  • Scene
  • Scene Breakdown
  • Script
  • Script Person
  • Selection Committee
  • Set Designer
  • Set Dresser
  • Show Caller
  • Show Report
  • Site Specific
  • Snap Cue
  • Special Effects
  • Spoof
  • Stagehand
  • Stage Manager
  • Stage Tape
  • Stand
  • Technical Director
  • Technical Rehearsal
  • Turnaround

  • Understudy

  • Venue
  • Visual Cue

  • Wardrobe Master

  • Zombie Cue



  • Anachronism
  • Anchor Plate
  • Aspect Ratio

  • Black Art
  • Blending
  • Build
  • Book Flat

  • Caster
  • Chalk Set
  • Complementary
  • Crew Request
  • Cut-Out
  • Cyclorama

  • Dead Hang
  • D Ring

  • Flat
  • Fly Person
  • Fly Space/Gallery
  • Fly System
  • Foam Board /
  • Forced

  • Grid
  • Groundrow
  • Hang Point
  • Hide or Feature

  • Jack Stand
  • Juliet

  • Kee Klamp

  • Leg Line
  • Legs
  • Maquette
  • Marking Out
  • Mask
  • Masking Flat
  • Masking

  • Pipe Fitting
  • Power Lift
  • Primary Pigments
  • Profile
  • Proscenium
  • Quad Flat
  • Quick Link

  • Rag Rolling
  • Rake
  • Recessed Hardware
  • Riser
  • Runway

  • Sandbag
  • Sash Cord
  • Screwdriver
  • Screwgun
  • Scrim
  • Scumbling
  • Secondary Pigments
  • Set
  • Set Designer
  • Set Dresser
  • Set Piece
  • Set Wire
  • Skirt
  • Snap Hook
  • Stipple
  • Surface Hardware

  • Tape Set
  • Template
  • Traveler
  • Triangle Flat
  • Truck
  • Turnaround
  • Turntable

  • Velcro

  • Weight Cradle



  • Acting Area
  • Anachronism
  • Apple Box
  • Apron

  • Backline
  • Backstage
  • Bell Board
  • Blacks
  • Blinders
  • Boards
  • Book Flat
  • Border Curtain

  • Card Set
  • Cart
  • Catwalk
  • Centre Left
  • Centre Line
  • Centre Right
  • Centre Stage
  • Chalk Set
  • Clear
  • Clock-Face
  • Connector Sock
  • Cordage
  • Crossover
  • Cubes
  • Curtain Line
  • Cyclorama

  • Dead Hang
  • Dolly
  • Downstage
  • Downstage Centre
  • Downstage Left
  • Downstage Right
  • Dress Kit
  • Drop Box
  • Flat
  • Floor Pocket
  • Fly Space/Gallery
  • Fly System
  • Forced Perspective

  • Gaffer Tape
  • Grid

  • Hand Truck
  • Hang Point

  • In the Round

  • Jack Stand
  • Juliet

  • Leg Line
  • Legs
  • Lectern

  • Mask
  • Masking
  • Masking Flat
  • Marking Out

  • Off Stage
  • Orchestra Pit

  • Performance Area
  • Platform Stage
  • Podium
  • Power Lift
  • Proscenium

  • Quad Flat

  • Rake
  • Revolve
  • Riser
  • Runway
  • Sandbag
  • Scrim
  • Set
  • Set Piece
  • Set Wire
  • Shadow Line
  • Show Caller
  • Skirt
  • Slit Curtain
  • Spike
  • Spike Tape
  • Stage
  • Stage Box
  • Stage Centre
  • Stagehand
  • Stage Left
  • Stage Manager
  • Stage Right
  • Stage Tape

  • Tape Set
  • Teaser
  • Theatre Box
  • Threefer
  • Thrust Stage
  • Thunder Sheet
  • Tormentor Pipe
  • Traveler
  • Triangle Flat
  • Truck
  • Turnaround
  • Turntable
  • Twist-Lock
  • Twofer
  • Upstage
  • Upstage Centre
  • Upstage Left
  • Upstage Right

  • Wall Pocket
  • Watch Perch
  • Weight Cradle
  • Well
  • Wings



  • Aspect Ratio
  • Audio Designer

  • Black Art
  • Black Box Theatre
  • Blending
  • Complementary
  • Complementary
  • Costume Designer

  • Dark Theatre/Stage
  • Ebb and Flow

  • Foley
  • Forced Perspective
  • Fourth Wall

  • Hide or Feature
  • In the Round

  • Jeopardy Writing

  • Lighting Designer
  • Pantomime
  • Primary Colours
  • Primary Pigments
  • Pyro

  • Repertory Theatre
  • Secondary Colours
  • Secondary Pigments
  • Set Designer
  • Set Dresser

  • Transformation



  • Artistic Director
  • Assigned Seating
  • Audience

  • Balcony
  • Bathroom
  • Box
  • Box Office
  • Black Box Theatre

  • Contact Sheet/List

  • Door
  • Downhouse
  • Downhouse Centre
  • Downhouse Left
  • Downhouse Right

  • Floor
  • FOH
  • Front of House
  • Front of House Staff

  • General Seating
  • House
  • House Centre
  • House Left
  • House Manager

  • In the Round

  • Loading Dock
  • Lobby Card
  • Loge
  • Mezzanine

  • Optinet
  • Orchestra
  • Orchestra Pit

  • Patrons
  • Platform Stage
  • Pop-Up Venue
  • Reserved Seating

  • Seating
  • Seating Area
  • Sightlines
  • Stage
  • Stripdoors

  • Technical Area
  • Thrust Stage
  • Uphouse
  • Uphouse Centre
  • Uphouse Left
  • Uphouse Right

  • Venue
  • Venue Manager

  • Washroom



Important Words within a definition description will be
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         A Reminder that Definition Terms
       are in STRICT Alphabetical Order
      Numbers are Treated as if Spelled Out
     Canadian Spellings are used Throughout

Accent Light
Illumination used to make an object stand out, usually associated with the Set or Set Pieces. Examples could be highlighting a Fireplace Mantle, a Picture, a Staircase, a Statue, etc.

   Accent Lighting can also be associated with a person. In this case, typically one part of the person is highlighted. This usually means the hair, eyes, or head.

Accessory Holder
At one time referred to as "Runners", these are the slots or guides at the front of a Stage Lighting Fixture. They can be used to hold Barndoors, Funnels, Gel Frames, Snoots and other beam-altering devices.

  • 1/  A subdivision of a production such as an Opera, Play or Musical. Each consists of one or more Scenes. An Intermission usually occurs between at least two of the Acts.

  • 2/  To play a part. To assume a role or character. An Actor "acts" -- essentially pretending to be someone other than him or herself.

  • 3/  A (usually shorter) presentation by one or more performers : "She has a great magic Act." "They do a scary motorcycle daredevil Act!" These types of performances are typically part of a larger production such as a variety or circus show.

Acting Call
(See Call.)

Acting Area
The area of Performance that the Audience sees. Outside of this is considered to be Off Stage or Backstage.

   When a production needs the area to be split, each is considered to be a separate Acting Area. An example might be where there is one Set each of an interior home, a bus stop, and an office. All can be seen at the same time by an Audience. In this case, the Stage is said to have three Acting Areas.
(See Zone).

Action Prop
  • 1/  A Prop that an Actor can hold which is used for a specific purpose such as a sword or a broom. More specifically, is a prop such as a vacuum cleaner which actually functions and is used working during a Scene.

  • 2/  A Prop that can perform an operation such as a gun that makes a sound and/or flash, or a crystal ball that can create a Lighting effect within itself at the touch of a button.

A Female Actor. The term is falling into disuse as both males and females are increasingly referred to as "Actors".

Ad Lib
Any Dialogue said, or Action done, by an Actor which is not contained within the Script as written.

The warm, fuzzy feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction, and good will that follows a successful show, production or Run. It may last up to a week or more.

After Party
(See Party.)

A Telescopic Tower raised via compressed gas. Not as common now, it is used in portable setups to place Light Fixtures at a height suitable for lighting a Stage, but then fold down afterward to be very compact for travel.

(See Understudy.)

(Am-ah-tyur) One who does not derive the major portion of his or her income from working in the performance industry.
(See Professional and Semi-Professional.)

Ambience (Also spelled as `ambiance'.)
(AHM-bee-on-ce or AM-bee-en-ce) Also referred to as "Atmosphere", it is the technique of producing suitable surroundings to fit a situation or the entire play itself.

  • 1/  Audio Tracks played to provide location for the Audience. These might include Traffic Sounds for a city; Crickets, an Owl, and Wind Through Trees for Woods or a Park; Announcements, Crowd Murmurings, and Jet Sounds for an airport. The tracks might be played to begin or end a Scene, or continue at low volume to underlie dialogue and/or actions.

       In old Theatre, Ambience sounds would have been done live by one or more Stagehands, members of the Stage Manager's team, or others. Some productions still do this.

  • 2/  Lighting and Special Effects are also used to produce ambience. Creating a misty night at a lake would be an example.

(ann-ACC-roh-niz-im) Something that is of a different time period than the one being portrayed. This can include words, phrasing, an expression, a Prop, a costume, a Set Piece, or a scenic item. An extreme example would be a cell phone used during a Scene in "Anne of Green Gables".

Analogue Control
(ANN-al-og) A Control Protocol for a Lighting or Audio Board. Although other voltages have been used, the Lighting Standard is 0 to 10 Volts DC (Direct Current). A Dimmer responds to this varying Control Voltage by varying its output voltage sent to Fixtures in direct proportion to it; that is, the output voltage is an Analogue of the input voltage.

   Analogue Audio equipment works in the same way. The small voltages generated by a microphone will vary based on the volume (sound pressure) of its acoustic input. For PA (Public Address) systems, this varying voltage is amplified through to the final device which is a speaker. The much larger varying voltage at that point Controls the speaker by driving its cone back and forth to create sound waves in the air at a higher acoustic pressure than those at the microphone. These vibrate our eardrums in sympathy; we perceive those vibrations as voice, music, and environmental sounds and noises.

Anchor Plate
A small, flat steel plate with a hollow rise down the centre under which a D Ring can be secured, or through which Sash Cord is able to be passed. The Plate has four screw holes by which it is attached and made captive to the Stage or other rigid support.
(See Accessories.)

The Character that opposes the main character in a play.
(See Protagonist.)

(AP-er-tyur) A metal plate with a hole in it used in an Ellipsoidal when Pattern Projecting. It reduces the Ellipsoidal's usable lens diameter which sharpens the image because it blocks the perimeter Light Rays from the lens that are the result of Spherical Abberation. Sometimes referred to as a "Doughnut".

Applause Point
A Pause inserted into a show that provides time for an Audience to clap or display other appreciation, and for it to subside, before continuing with the performance. This is so that dialogue, music, or important action will not be diminished for, or even missed altogether by, those watching a performance. Similar periods are placed to allow for Audience laughter.

   It is desirable that such pauses be built into a show during its rehearsals where ever expected Audience reaction is likely to occur. Their points of insertion, along with their durations, are then perfected during the Invitational Dress when Patrons are present to see how a live Audience actually reacts.

Apple Box / Apple Crate
(See Theatre Box.)

(Ay-pron) This is the Downstage part of the Acting Area,. It lies in front of the main curtain, and in some cases, extends out over the Orchestra Pit.

Area Lighting
The Technique of placing Light onto one or more particular locations on a Stage and controlling each area separately.

The person that Adapts and/or Arranges Music usually written by someone else.

  • 1/  Speakers that are Grouped within a cabinet, often to form an arc, or speaker cabinets Grouped to do the same.

  • 2/  Light sources that are Grouped in a Fixture so as to achieve more light output and/or more coverage. The sources can be LEDs, Fluorescent Tubes, PAR Lamps, or other.

Artistic Director
The person that supervises the type of performances a Venue or Production Company puts on. He or she often steers the Selection Committee toward a certain style so as to provide consistency in the minds of the public toward a particular Venue.

A short passage of Dialogue spoken to the Audience that is not to be reacted upon, or even noticed, by other characters on Stage. It's a form of breaking the Fourth Wall.

Aspect Ratio
A Number compared to `1' that represents the width of an image divided by its height. One that is 4 times wide by 3 times high has an Aspect Ratio of 1.33 to 1; 16 X 9 has a Ratio of 1.78 to 1.

Assigned Seating
(See Seating.)

(See Ambience.)

Attention Puller
  • 1/  A method used to move the focus of the Spectators to where it is desired. This might take the form of a Lighting change, a loud sound, or a flourish by the performer.

       The extreme of this is to have the Attention Puller be such a distraction as to compel the Spectators to look away from seeing something that they are not to notice.
    (See Misdirection and Vanish.)

  • 2/  In advertising, an Attention Puller is a way to make the public notice the Publicity for a Show. It could be a fancy placard, a street barker (crier) dressed in an unusual way, or a publicity stunt. Alternatively referred to as an "Attention Getter".

The Persons that come to see a performance. This term is used somewhat interchangeably with House.

Audio Designer
(Also "Sound Designer".) The person who selects recorded Sounds to be played or the live Sounds to be produced. He or she may also be involved with the Audio system or the mechanical Sound effects used for a production in regards to their individual components and/or how those systems are to be set up and used.
Any Lighting that comes from positions Behind a performer or object.
(See the Lighting Position Diagram.

The row of Amplifiers and Speaker Cabinets behind a Band.

The space beyond the Off Stage area where at-hand equipment may be kept that may or may not be used during a performance, but is used for stage-related purposes. Also located here may be a Stage Manager's desk or kiosk, a Repair Tech's bench, and other stations that have immediate necessities during a performance.

Backstage Vision
Equivalent to Night Vision, it is the adaptation of the eyes to dark locations behind the scenes. Steps are normally taken to keep light to a minimum in such areas so that it does not bleed into the House during blackouts or when certain Special Effects are being used.
(See the Backstage Blues essay for more about the lighting in these areas.)

See Seating Area.

A group of Musicians with no string section.

A Beam-shaping device that sits in a Lighting Fixture's Accessory Holder. It has two or four adjustable flaps that can be used to block parts of the Beam to keep Light off certain objects or areas. Most Barndoors are able to be rotated to allow a greater accuracy of blocked areas.
(See Accessories.)

Bathing and/or Showering facilities provided for Performers and Crew, it often has toilets, as well.
(See Washroom.)

An old term for the Pipes or Bars that cross above the Stage where Fixtures, curtains and other items are hung.

Beam Angle
Light emanating from a Fixture that spreads outward to a perimeter which is at 50% of the highest central intensity denotes the Beam Angle. For some PAR lamps or lensed Fixtures with inconsistent central brightness, the chosen intensity figure may be an average of several points. This middle number is then used to determine the Beam Angle.

Beamlight / Beam Projector
A Lensless Fixture with a large reflector and a shielded Lamp that can be Focused to a spot or flood. At its narrowest, it is often used to approximate moonlight. Rarely seen in theatre Lighting now.

Beam Pattern
The shape of the Beam (round, oval, or abstract), its edge distinctness (sharp, diffuse, or choppy), its edge shape (regular or irregular), its smoothness (whether there are "shadows" within the Beam).

Beam Quality
This refers to the Hard or Soft characteristic of Light. Hard produces sharply defined shadows. Soft gives no, or loosely defined, shadows, and with less detail.

Beam Splitter
A Lighting Pattern that has two or more holes drilled so that when inserted into one Fixture multiple Beams will be emitted.

Beam Spread
Essentially equivalent to the Field Angle of a Beam of Light. Generally, it is used in a loose sense when discussing the area covered by a Fixture's Beam at a given range: "This fixture will Spread Light to about two metres at that distance."

Bell Board
A Panel or Box that has various momentary switches used to control on-stage telephones, doorbells, and any similar devices. It plugs into a standard 120-volt electrical Outlet, then has a transformer to reduce this line voltage to match that of each device. An electronic rectifier circuit provides direct current for devices that require it.

   Alternately, some panels are designed to internally make the sound of the required bell, chime, warble, or buzzer so as to represent an Off-Stage device unseen by an Audience.

   Also known as a "Bell Box", it has been largely supplanted by prerecorded sounds played through the venue's audio system.

Belt Pack
Used with on-person microphones for Actors, and also with communications headsets for crews. It controls the microphone off and on, and with the latter, also the headphone volume.

Bi-Convex Lens
(by-CON-vex) A Lens that is Curved Outward on both sides. Most often seen in Zoom Lens Systems where a variable focal length is desired.

   This Lens is sometimes made of two Plane Convex Lenses glued with the flat sides together to form a Compound Lens. Such a technique is used when the curvature of one lens must differ from the other.

Black Box Theatre
A location where the Spectators and Performers are in the same space and the Acting Area is defined by curtains that are usually black in colour.

Black Art
The procedure of employing one or more Black Curtains behind persons who are covered in the same Black Fabric so as to make objects, persons, or parts thereof not in Black appear to float in air or to magically appear and disappear. This is done by simply presenting those objects toward, or hiding them away from, an Audience. Careful Lighting is the key to keeping objects and persons in Black from being seen.

  • 1/  Black pieces of fabric or curtains. Small ones are used to cover objects that must remain hidden on Stage until those objects are to be seen.

  • 2/  Black clothing and footwear worn by the Stage Crew during a performance. Sometimes referred to as "Stage Blacks".

The choosing of Performers' locations on Stage as they deliver certain lines, or in the case of a concert, where a musician might stand to play a lead break. How and where Performers enter and exit, and even where a hand might be placed for a critical Lighting effect, are included under Blocking.

   An extreme example would be an ensemble of actors moving in certain patterns, perhaps taking Set Pieces along with themselves. This might be close to dance choreography, but if it does not cross that line, it is considered "blocking".

Aluminum foil that is anodised matte black on both sides. It is used to control Spill. Because it is flame and heat proof, it can be used directly on hot Fixtures. Also known as "Black Wrap" and "Cine Foil".

A general term for Light emitted in the Ultraviolet (UV) Spectrum. Entertainment Fixtures of this type radiate in long-wave UV, so are safe to use without eye and skin protection. Typical stage Fixtures for this purpose use fluorescent, mercury vapour, or LED sources.

  • 1/  A method of Combining Light Pools in a way that provides smooth transitions among them. Another example is the multiple layering of Breakups, or similar Patterns, in a way that makes them appear to be one. This provides texture to a flat surface, or exaggerates the texture of a three-dimensional one.

  • 2/  Scenic painters use Blending techniques to achieve similar looks as described above.

Blind Mode
A State of a Lighting Board where the operator can make adjustments to various settings of the Board itself, or to aspects of its control of the Lighting on Stage without an Audience being aware that anything is being changed. That is, to them, the Lighting will not be altered, but the next time one of those updated aspects appears live to the Audience, the changes will be apparent.

   An example might be for an area that was too dark will be updated to a brighter intensity in a Cue. This change won't take place while that Cue's look is on Stage, but the next time it is used, the increased intensity will be seen.

   Another example is for a Cue's fade time that turns out to happen too quickly or too slowly. It could be adjusted in Blind Mode, but only the next time that Cue is Run, would it fade at the changed rate.

  • 1/  Bright illumination directed toward an Audience for effect. Typically seen at rock shows.

  • 2/  Curtains that are hung behind gaps in the set to prevent spectators from seeing what is behind and to prevent unwanted light from leaking through.

  • /3  A curtain that is suspended behind a Scrim to prevent spectators from prematurely seeing through it before a Reveal is to happen.

The controller used by Audio, Effects, Lighting, or Video personnel to adjust or operate the same. Also known as a "Desk" or "Console".

Board Operator
The person who controls the Audio, Effects, Lighting, or Video Board during a performance.

Slang term for the Stage Floor. The common phrase, "Treading the Boards", means to Act on a Stage.

The Script with Dialogue, Stage directions, and Cues for Lighting, Audio, and Crew tasks. The term is usually used in conjunction with a Stage Musical to differentiate it from the Musical Score.

Book Flat
(See Flat.)

  • 1/  A vertical Pipe attached to a floor plate/base, or to a wall or scenery.

  • 2/  Now also used to describe a short horizontal Pipe that is supported at one end only, and onto which is clamped a Lighting Fixture or other item.

  • 3/  A microphone Stand accessory that consists of a pivoting fitting which holds an Arm ending in a mic clip. This allows a mic to be placed close to a performer while providing space between the Stand and the person.

Border Curtain
A short-height Curtain that hides the Grid or a Batten from the view of the Audience.

A series of Lamps mounted in a rectangular Fixture that are in a row -- typically providing three or four colours, each on its own circuit. These are mounted above the Acting Area to provide general illumination of the Stage. Only seen now in old installations.

   Also known as "Striplights", and in the past as "X-rays".

Light that reflects from illuminated objects. Although usually unwanted, it can purposely be incorporated where extra softness is required, or to disguise a Light Source's location.

Bounce Cloth
Usually white, non-shiny Material that is made to redirect Light falling on it toward something that is seen by an Audience such as a a performer, object or area. Type, colour, and reflectivity of surface, as well as the Dimmer level of the Light Source(s) are used to control the effect. Rigid material is usually referred to as "Bounce Board" or "Reflection Medium".

   This technique is particularly useful when employed to indirectly illuminate Translucent material that spectators will see, but where the Lighting Designer does not want to place a Fixture directly behind this material. If that were to be done, the light source would be visible through the cloth and create a Hot Spot.

See Seating Area.

Box Office
  • 1/  The location where tickets are sold that is inside, or just outside, a Venue. The name stems from the fact that the ticket booth was often little larger than the space for the ticket seller, and her tickets and cash float, hence the use of the word "box". Another source says the first word might have derived from the box that contained the tickets and money.

  • 2/  A second usage refers to the general number of tickets sold in advance and at the door: "The Box Office was good last night."

  • 3/  A third is employed as a synonym for "success". Examples: "She's Box Office now!" If a production is especially good at drawing in the public and earning money: "That musical is Box Office gold!"
(See Door.)
Break a Leg
The origin is obscure, but today its literal meaning seems to be "Part a Curtain" (Leg); that is, to enter the Acting Area. Some also believe the phrase is related to the Leg Line.

   At one time considered a superstitious uttering, it now genuinely means "Good Luck!" or the same as "Have a good performance!"

A short Cable with multiple circuits that has a multipin connector on one end and connectors for each individual circuit on the other. In use it is plugged into a longer multi-cable when access to each of that cable's circuits is needed.

A general term for Patterns that project images of amorphous shapes onto the Stage, Sets or Objects. It literally Breaks Up the Light emanating from the Fixture.

Briefcase Gig
When a crew member does not have to do any setup or other work but only operate a Board, it is considered a "Briefcase Gig". This is because the crew person need only walk in with the minimum needed to do that task. In the U.K. it is known as a "White Glove" job because the hands never get dirty.

  • 1/  As a verb, to construct the Set or a Prop. As a noun, the constructed set is sometimes referred to as a `Build'. As an adjective, `Build Venue' means a Location where a Set is built if elsewhere than a typical construction shop.

  • 2/  To increase the Intensity and/or Volume of the Music.

  • 3/  To put together a sequence of Cues into a .

  • 4/  To create a Lighting Look one Channel at a time.

The glass envelope of the Lamp, which is the Light Source of a Fixture. "Bulb" is often inaccurately used to refer to the entire Light Source.

A Flash Button on a Lighting Board. As a verb, it means to quickly bring one or more Fixtures to full intensity.
Cable Tie
A small Plastic Strap with a one-way, locking fitting at one end that accepts the other end so as to be pulled through and tightened around objects. Used to bundle wiring, or to secure items to each other or to an object such as a pipe. Also referred to as a "Zip Tie".

   Some models allow the lock to be released, and thus the Tie can be reused. Models meant to be used outdoors for long periods are UV rated.

(CAB-tire) A type of rubber- or neoprene-insulated Electrical Cable used to make Extension or Line Cords. Typical designations are Types `S', `SJ' and `SO'.

  • 1/  The process of giving instructions to a Crew and Performers during a show; that is, to "Call" the show. This duty is typically carried out by the Stage Manager via a Headset System.

  • 2/  It also refers to a notification of Time. Some examples are:

    • Acting Call:  The Time when actors must be at the theatre so that they can be in Costume and Makeup by show time. Those with elaborate Costumes and/or Makeup would have an earlier Call Time.

    • Casting Call:  A Day and Time when actors show up to audition for various roles. This may include vocal auditions for singers, and sometimes refers to auditions for dancers.

    • Crew Call:  The Time when Audio, Lighting, Video and Stage personnel must be at the theatre so that they can ready their departments by show time.

    • Dance Call:  If elaborate choreography is part of a performance, dancers might be asked to rehearse just those parts before every show, or at least for the first few shows after any days without performances. This is done to stay proficient. Regardless, dancers would have a Warmup Call before every performance to allow them to stretch and warm their muscles.

    • Fight Call:  If one or more fight Scenes are included, those involved would have a Time specified to be at the theatre to rehearse. It is usually done on the Stage and might include weapons, and possibly costumes if the clothing restricts movement or is used as part of the Fight choreography. As with the dancers above, this is done to stay proficient at the required moves, and it may not be done before every performance, but these persons would still have a Warmup Call.

    • Makeup Call:  For productions where makeup is a major necessity, a specific time is given for actors to arrive to apply, or to have applied, their makeup. This is particularly important if the makeup application is very time consuming.

    • Photo Call:  The Time when, and Location where, performers and major personnel involved in a production must be for the purpose of publicity photos. These are typically head shots of individuals that are used in the program and on Lobby Cards, but also as part of advertisements for posters, print media, television, and websites.

      Additional photos taken may be of full body shots to show off Costumes, while others might pose a number of performers together -- sometimes on the set with the actual show Lighting.

    • Rehearsal Call:  The time when actors, crew, musicians, etc. are to be ready for Rehearsal.

    • Stage Call:  The Time when Actors must be in place to make an entrance or otherwise be perceived by the Audience.

    • Warmup Call:  The time when actors must be in the designated area for their Warmup exercises.
      See Warmup.

  • 3/  Another usage of the term regards a Curtain Call. Originally, it was used for when the Curtain had to be reopened after it had closed following the bows taken by the Cast at the end of a performance. Essentially, the Audience was "Calling" for the Curtain to be opened again so they could see the performers while continuing to applaud them. Today, it is used to designate all bows taken after a performance.

  • 1/  After an actor or musician has auditioned, he or she may be asked to return for further audition(s).

  • 2/  After a performance for an audio, film, or video medium, an actor may be asked to return to retake one or more scenes, or to re-record dialogue that was unclear, ruined by background noise or sounds, or otherwise unsuitable. Musicians may be called back for similar reasons.

  • 3/  In a show by a magician or mentalist, a spectator volunteer may be asked to return to the stage for a purpose related to an earlier part of the performance.

  • 4/  Also regarding shows by magicians or mentalists, a Callback can refer to some aspect of a show such as a Prop for which the magician has an additional ploy that is unexpected by the Audience. For mentalists, the Callback may be a key word that comes to have additional meaning within another Routine.

A Lighting Technique where only the foreground is illuminated. The background is completely black. Although it can be used for wider areas, the technique is usually incorporated to make a single person or object stand out.

Carbon Arc
A now obsolete method of producing a bright, white light. This was accomplished by bringing two carbon rods near one another in an enclosure and applying enough voltage so that an electric arc jumped the gap. Used extensively in motion picture projectors and Followspots.

Card Set
(See Tape Set.)

A Cart, erroneously called a Dolly is a platform, normally rectangular in shape, that is mounted on four or more Casters, at least two of which usually swivel. One with an attached or removable handle at one or both ends is a considered a "Platform Cart", while one with a pull handle is referred to as a "Wagon Cart".

   A Cart that is used for loading, as well as for moving items, will have the platform be hydraulically or pneumatically able to be raised. This is known as a "Lift Cart".

   Another form of the Cart that has two or more shelves is referred to as a "Service Cart". In some cases, one or more of the shelves will be subdivided to create wells into which one can place small items used during servicing operations. A Service Cart that has a spring-loaded, or fold-out, short ladder at one end as used by merchandisers is a "Stock Picker". A variant of the Service Cart that has a built-in, drawer-type tool box instead of one or two of the shelves is called a "Tool Cart".
(See Dolly and Hand Truck.)

Generally today, it means anyone that is performing on Stage. This includes Actors, featured Singers, Chorus, and on-Stage Musicians. However, in the past some interpreted it to mean only the Actors.

   As a verb, `Cast' means to select an Actor for a role.

Cast/Crew Party
(See Party.)

A wheel that is mounted within a yoke which is attached to a plate or a stud. The plate is bolted or screwed to an object that is to be moved. The stud mount is threaded or inserted into a sleeve that is recessed into the object.

   Basic Caster types include Rigid and Swivel, Locking and Non-Locking.
(See a Discussion with More Detail: Caster Guide.)

Caster Cups
Dished, recessed Plates on the tops of Road Cases that provide a well for each Caster of a case stacked on top. When cases are stacked as level, Caster Cups prevent wheeled cases from drifting due to vibration, and thus from rolling off one another.

Caster Lock
This is a part of some models of Casters that prevents movement when a road case, scenic platform, or other is required to stay still. The locking mechanism is typically enabled by pressing down on a treadle or tongue with the toes of the foot. Releasing is done by pressing the other side of the treadle, or by lifting up on the tongue with the top of the toes.

There are three styles:
  1. Rolling Lock:  This stops a Caster from moving along the floor.
  2. Swivel Lock:  This stops a Caster from rotating.
  3. Combination Lock:  Both rolling and swivelling are prevented.

Casting Director
The person who arranges for performers to be seen by the Director, Choreographer, and others. He or she may set up the auditions, and in some cases arrange for pre-auditioning of participants. This is done when a large quantity of people have applied for parts so as to reduce the number of persons needing to be seen by the principals that are a mounting a production.

Casting Call
(See Call.)

(CAHT-ch) Not to be confused with Latch, this is a Hardware Device that retains a Case lid, or similar, in a closed position until released. Both actions must be manually implemented. The two types seen most often in the Entertainment Industry are:

  • Snap Catch: One that has a Loop or extended Hook that can be pivoted to grab a Strike which secures the Catch against releasing. Also known as a "Draw" or "Pull-Down" Catch. Those having springs to provide extra holding strength are called "Compression Catches".

  • Butterfly Catch: One that has a small, metal plate (the "Wing") able to be held by the fingers and rotated so as to extend its Hook toward the Strike. At that point, it is pressed into place and rotated the opposite way to engage the Strike. The plate is then pivoted down flush against the rest of the Catch. Also known as a "Wing" or "Turn" Catch.

   Catches are further subdivided into Non-Locking and Locking types. The latter have a Keyway or a Hexway (six-sided) opening to accept a Key or a Hex driver, or have a Hexhead Bolt head that requires a Spanner (Box) Wrench to open. The Key type permits the user to have Lock access, as is seen on briefcases; the other two provide the same extra liability against accidental opening during transit, but without the security of a unique key.

Category 5. Cabling used for digital purposes comes in category ratings. The most common in the performing industry is Cat5.

Category 6. A wider bandwidth version of Cat5 cable. It can handle more data at the same time than Cat5 cable.

  • 1/  An enclosed, narrow walkway above a Stage or Seating Area. It typically houses electrical, Lighting or Fly System equipment.

  • 2/  A walkway that extends from a Stage toward the Seating Area.
    See Thrust Stage.

C Clamp
A metal Clamp in the shape of the letter `C' used by carpenters to hold objects for sawing, gluing, or finishing work. Stagehands also use these for holding scenery together, and to place and secure handy hooks or bars to which they need to tie Cordage.
(See Pipe Clamp.)

Centre Left
The general area to Stage Left of Stage Centre. That is, the area to the left of the performers when they face the spectators.

Centre Line
Two imaginary lines running through the exact Centre Point of a Stage. One crosses Upstage to Downstage, the other crosses Stage Left through Stage Right. Some stages have these Lines marked very faintly. In rehearsal spaces, a contractor's chalk line can be used if no permanent Lines are there.

   The purpose is usually to keep dancers in perfect lines, or mark specific positions for Solo dancers. The lines can also be used to align the Set as it is being built.

Centre Right
The general area to Stage Right of Stage Centre.

Centre Stage
The general area in the Middle of a Stage. In cases when someone is being very precise, Centre Stage is the actual Centre Point of the Performance Area. Also referred to as "Stage Centre", and also known as "Centre Centre".

Chalk Set
(See Tape Set.)

  • 1/  Each Circuit on an Audio Board that controls one Microphone or other Audio input source is referred to as a "Board Channel". For an input source other than a microphone, the Channel is often referred to as a "Line Input", which means the source generates a signal voltage at line level, as opposed to the much lower output voltage of a microphone.

  • 2/  Each Circuit on a Lighting Board that controls one Dimmer is referred to as a "Board Channel".

  • 3/  Each Dimmer in a Dimmer Pack that controls one Fixture or group of Fixtures is referred to as a "Dimmer Channel".

  • 4/  Each controllable attribute regarding Intelligent Lighting is a Channel.

Denotes when an Actor faces mostly, or fully, toward the Audience even though directing dialogue at another Actor nearby. This is done so that spectators can hear what the Actor is saying. Otherwise the dialogue might get lost to those looking at his back if he were to face away from those spectators.

   It is also done to make viewable a movement or action to all spectators even if the Actor's position is an unnatural one.

Chew the Scenery
To Act in an exaggerated manner and draw non-humble attention to one's self.

The Singers and Dancers in a Musical other than those in lead roles.

The part of the Musical Score given to individual Musicians for parts played by them. An example might be "Horn Charts" that are given to the brass players for the notes they are to play during certain parts of a song.

The person who designs the dance Routines for a show. He or she can also work with Actors to Choreograph fight Scenes or anything that requires precision movement.

Chromatic Abberation
(crow-MAH-tick ABB-er-ay-shun) The colour fringes around a Light Pool that are caused by Lens Systems which don't Focus all colours of the Spectrum to exactly the same points.

Cine Foil
(SIN-ay Foil) See Blackfoil.

"Claque" refers to the group of persons hired to Prompt an Audience by clapping, laughing, crying, or displaying other emotions at appropriate times during a performance. This seems to have started in France in the 1800s. It survives today as the "Applause" sign used for some radio and television programs, thus making the studio Audience an unpaid Claque. Other modern versions are recorded laugh Tracks, or the recorded "sweetening" of live Audiences' emotions as heard on television comedy programs and game shows.

   In theatre, Claque can still be employed, but is typically done by persons involved in a production that are in or near the Audience such as the Front of House crew, and by producers, directors and others that attend performances. The most common Prompting of this type is applause at the end of an Act or show when it may not be obvious to Patrons that those points have arrived.

   `Claque' can also refer to the Prompting itself: "We will require Claque at the end of Act 3 to signify that the play is over so that the actors can move into position to take their bows."

   The term is rarely used locally in Atlantic Canada; instead the words `applause', `laughter', etc. are employed directly to describe the type of desired Audience response.

  • 1/  To remove items or personnel from an area. Roughly equivalent to Strike.

  • 2/  To bring all Faders to zero within a Preset of a Lighting Board.

Clock-Face Directions
In a Theatre in the Round situation, most specific Stage directions cannot be used. This is because there are no true stage directions of left, right, up or down. To facilitate positioning, time positions on an analogue clock are employed. Thus, Upstage becomes 12 o'clock; 6 o'clock references Downstage; Stage Left is 3 o'clock, and 9 o'clock is Stage Right. At the start of rehearsals, a point is designated to be 12 o'clock (Upstage), and all other positions are referenced to that.

(SEE-oh-bee ELL-ee-dee) Chip On Board Light Emitting Diode. A type of lighting module that mounts LEDs in arrays directly onto a circuit board as a single unit. This is more efficient than a series of stand-alone LED elements, and it has better thermal resistance.

Close-Up Magic
This is performed when a Magician is close to spectators, often when all are seated at a table. It usually consists of coin or card routines, but can involve other small objects such as jewelry, cups & balls, steel rings, and so on.

   In some cases, small versions of large stage illusions are scaled down for table-top purposes. Two examples are the "Zig-Zag Box", and "Guillotine".

   Close-Up Magic can also be performed for large crowds, but usually a video setup is employed so that those seated far from the magician and/or blocked by other spectators can see what is going on.

Cold Reading
Reading aloud from a Script that an Actor has not seen before.

Cold Reflector
A Reflector that is Transparent to Infrared (heat) Radiation but Reflects visible Light. So less heat is radiated in the Beam making for longer Gel and Pattern life. Also referred to as a "Cold Mirror".

Colour Boomerang
A series of Gel Frames placed in a holder that is typically internal to a Fixture such as a Follow Spot. The Frames are arranged in tandem, each with a handle that extends to an external location where an operator may select one or more. Pressing down on any of the handles will pivot that frame into the Beam. More known today as a "Colour Pack".

Colour Changer
A device fitted internally or externally to a Fixture so as to provide a variety of Colours from that one Fixture.
This might take the form of:

  • A Colour Scroller: This unit incorporates a series of cut Gel squares or rectangles that are attached together to form a continuous strip. This is wound on to a pair of rollers situated one to each side of the Beam. The gel passes in front of the Beam from one roller to the other until the desired colour is aligned.

  • A Colour Wheel: A thin, flat wheel, usually made from metal, has a series of holes cut around its perimeter the same size as the Fixture's Beam diameter, each holding a different colour plus one clear. It is turned by a motor with limit-switches that lock the wheel in place as the desired colour comes into alignment.

       Some systems use two wheels that are placed one in front of the other so that a wider variety of colours is achieved through the subtractive process of placing one colour in front of another.

  • A Semaphore Changer: This is similar to a Colour Boomerang, in that a series of Gel Frames is placed in a holder and arranged in tandem. However, each is fitted with an electric solenoid and a return spring. A controller allows one to select any frame or combination. Energising a given frame position pivots the gel into the Beam. When the voltage is turned off, the spring takes the frame out of the Beam where it returns to its standby position.

Colour Code
  • 1/  The marking of electronic resistors to designate their value.

  • 2/  The designation of Robertson and other Screwdriver types so as to differentiate one size from another.

  • 3/  The process of using Colour Coding tape to show ownership of an object.

  • 4/  The process of using Colour Coding tape to designate the length of a cable.

Colour Correction
  • 1/  The procedure to filter various artificial Light Sources so that their Colour Temperatures will be the same, and so this will match the Colour Temperature setting of the Video Camera or match the Colour Balance of Film as set by its manufacturer.

  • 2/  The procedure to filter Natural Light Sources for the same reasons as above, and also so they will match those of artificial Light Sources being used at the same time. An example of the former is daylight through windows.

Colour Frame
(See Gel Frame.)

Colour Kit
A case with Gel, Gel Frames, and Swatch Books used for Touring Shows by the Lighting Director and/or Lighting Crew. Some Kits may include Patterns and their Pattern Holders.
(For a complete discussion of this and other kits, see The Kits.)

Colour Media
Any filters that alter a Light Beam to be a Colour other than its natural one. Broadly, it can include Cloth, Paper, Plastic or Glass as a base for that Filter.
(See Colour Media Discussion.)

   As used today, Diffusion, Reflection, Neutral Density, and Polarising materials fall loosely under this term.

Colour Mixing
A Lighting Technique of combining Colour Filters in ways that produce other colours. An example is to shine two lights with a different colour in each onto the same area. A colour different from either will be produced unless one colour is too close in hue to the other. Thus, shining one red and one blue beam onto the same spot will produce colours ranging from almost completely red, through pink, magenta, lavender and purple, to almost completely blue depending on the intensity of each and the exact shades used.

   Another method is to place one gel in front of another using a single light. So, using magenta and cyan gels together will produce a blue beam.

Colour Pack
(See Colour Boomerang.)

Colour Scroller
(See Colour Changer.)

Colour Temperature
A measurement used in the Lighting Industry and elsewhere that, in simple terms, is a number given to how "white" a particular Light Source appears to the eye. That number is determined by comparison with the physics standard called a "Black Body".

   Once a Black Body is heated enough, it will radiate visible Light across a part of the Spectrum. As it warms more, the Light it emits will eventually take on the appearance of the particular stage Lighting Light Source to which it is being compared. When the Black Body and the Light Source radiations appear the same, the Light Source is assigned the value of the Temperature of the Black Body at that moment. This value, in Kelvins (K), is now the Light Source's "Colour Temperature" because it is the same as the Temperature of the Black Body when both appear to be the same Colour.

   Realise that `Degrees Kelvin' refers to the actual Temperature of the Black Body, not that of the Light Source. The Light Source only *appears* to be that Temperature. An example is an LED. It can be held in one's hand but could still have a Colour Temperature of 4000 degrees K. In general terms, the higher the Colour Temperature, the "whiter" the Light appears.

Colour Wheel
(See Colour Changer.)

An older term that applied to a Troupe of Actors, Musicians and Singers, but was also applied loosely to include anyone that worked with a production or traveled with a touring show.

Complementary Colours
Regarding Lighting, these are formed by the combination of any two Primary Colours. The Complementary Colours are Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow and each complements its missing colour. That is, for Magenta which is a combination of Red and Blue light, it complements Green because Green is not one of the two colours in Magenta.
(See Primary and Secondary Colours Discussion.)

Complementary Pigments
Regarding Paints, Dyes and Inks, these are formed by the combination of any two Primary Pigments. The Complementary Pigments are Red, Green, and Blue, and each complements its missing colour. That is, for Red which is a combination of Magenta and Yellow pigments, the complement is Cyan because Red is not one of the colours in Cyan.

(See Primary and Secondary Colours Discussion.)

"Complimentary" -- Free tickets!

The person that writes the Music, and sometimes the lyrics, for a production. Adapting and/or arranging existing Music can also fall within this person's prerogative under the title of "Arranger".

One or more persons associated with the Show that are planted in an Audience to clap, laugh, boo etc. at certain points. This is used as Audience stimulation. Some Mentalists or Magicians use them to play along in a cooperative way so as to assist with a Routine or trick. Also known as a "Stooge" or a "Plant".

Connector Sock
A black-coloured, cylindrical cloth Sleeve that is slipped over cable connectors to make them less visible. The Sleeve's diameter is wide enough to fit that of the electrical connectors, while the Sleeve's length is long enough to cover both male and female connectors when they are mated. The material is usually stretchy so that after placement it won't slip off unintentionally, even when the connectors hang vertically.

Contact Sheet/List
A list of names with phone numbers and e-mail addresses, plus the title or job of each person for that production.

Flexible material that is made of twisted or woven strands such as string, rope, or similar. Leather ties also come under this term. For a discussion, see Cordage.)

Costume Designer
The person that chooses, or designs from scratch, the Clothing worn by performers. From-scratch persons select the fabrics and colours, the clothing accessories, and the jewellery. He or she may also do the actual cutting and sewing of the fabrics, and in some cases make the jewellery.

   Those that choose existing clothing, will often scour second-hand and thrift stores for just that right piece. By mixing & matching, and by modifying what has been found, just the right look will be achieved.

Costume Master
Person that oversees the Wardrobe of a particular production, but falls under the Costume Designer. He or she is responsible for keeping inventory, and doing alterations and repairs to the Costumes during the Run. (Also referred to as the "Costumer", "Costume Coordinator", or "Wardrobe Master".)

Costume Parade
Actors dress in full Costume, sometimes with full Makeup, and walk around in front of the Director, Costume Designer and other principals to determine the suitability of the Costumes for the Actor and his or her Character. If ready, sometimes the full Lighting and Set are included to see how Costumes fit with those elements. Also known as a "Dress Parade".

  • 1/  In Music, `Count' is related to the tempo of the piece being played: "Give it a four Count, and then the downbeat."

  • 2/  Regarding a Cue, a `Count' is essentially a second in length: "When you see the lightning effect, do a `3' Count and issue Audio Cue #41."

(See Hazer.)

Crew Call
(See Call.)

Crew Request
Usually an e-mail that is sent out to those on a Crew Contact Sheet/List of people wanting to crew a show, or to do part or all of the setup or Strike. Sometimes the cast or principals are included in case some of them want to get in some tech work.

Crimp Connector
A type of small Electrical device that consists of a hollow, metal tube on one end, and a variety of ends on the other. The latter might include another hollow tube, a ring, or spade- or fork- shaped end, and so on. The device is slipped on to a bare electrical wire and attached to the wire with a pair of special pliers called a "Crimp Tool" or "Crimper" which crushes the tube end into the wire material. This connector can then mate with another connector to form a junction that is secure and electrically stable, but can be removed at a later time. (These devices were once known as "solderless connectors", but this term has fallen into disuse.)

   Other types of Crimpers are used to attach electronic connectors to various types of cable without the need of soldering individual wires. These types are used in the cable TV industry, by Internet installers, and by various industrial and military technicians.

A Stage Direction meaning for a performer to move some distance across the Acting Area. "Say your final line at the Upstage Left staircase, then Cross behind the couch to arrive next to the kitchen entrance at Downstage Right." Or: "Point at the painting, then Cross in front of the widow, turn to face her, pause, then speak your next line."

Cross Casting
The act of having a person of one gender play a part designated for another gender as the former's gender. An example would be a part that is designated for a male but played by a female as a female.

   Most writers will not allow this because it would change the flavour of the role, and possibly change that of the entire storyline.

Cross Fade
When one Lighting look fades down as another fades up, the Lighting is said to "Cross Fade" between looks.

The Control on a Board that executes a Cross Fade.

   Some Boards have two Controls beside one another for this purpose so that the Board Operator can separately time the look that is Fading out differently from the time the other Fades in. This is known as a "Split Crossfader".

   He or she can also leave one control alone and by using the other control, bring a second look in at the same time as the first. This is known as "Pile On".

  • 1/  A path usually behind the Upstage Set that allows Actors and Crew to get from one side of the Stage to the other without being seen by spectators. Some theatres use a separate hallway behind the Stage as the Crossover.

  • 2/  An audio filter system that directs a certain frequency range to one output, while another range goes elsewhere. Thus, the low-frequency range goes to bass speakers, while the mid range goes to mid drivers, and the high range goes to tweeters.

This happens in an Audio System when one Channel Picks Up the sound of another, usually at a much fainter level. An example is when a system such as the House audio Picks Up the sound of the Headset System. This usually is caused by a poor shield somewhere, a shield that is not properly grounded, or when very high signal (audio) levels are travelling in cables next to ones that are highly amplified.

   A related example is when wireless components of an audio system Pick Up and reproduce the audio portion broadcast on radio frequencies such as those of taxicab dispatchers. This usually though, is referred to as "RF (radio frequency) interference".

A Tool not used in the entertainment business, but defined here because people often misuse this term when they actually mean a Wrecking Bar. A Crowbar is a heavy, straight, steel rod, usually 1.5 to 2 metres in length. The shank can be round or have four or six faces, with one end coming to a chisel shape, or to a pyramid tip. The other end is flared out slightly so as to be able to be securely struck with a mallet or sledge hammer.

   This Tool is typically used to pry objects, such as rocks, out of the ground by driving the pointed end into the earth beside the object to be moved; then one or more workers pull the Crowbar to one side and the other in order to loosen the earth, or the Bar is levered against the object or away from it in an attempt to dislodge it.
(See Pry Bar and Wrecking Bar.)

(See Theatre Box.)

An Action or Event in a Script where something is to happen or be acted upon. Examples include: a Lighting change, a Sound to be made, a Set is to be changed, or the moment where an Actor enters, exits, or performs some action or specific dialogue.

   Here are the definition terms and
   explanations associated with "Cue"
   that are used for stage productions:

  • Audio Cue  A point in the script where a recorded sound must be played, or a sound otherwise caused. It in turn, may trigger another Cue. Examples might be a gunshot that results in a lighting change; or an actor in a Blackout turing on a vacuum cleaner which cues the lights to come up.

  • Cue Directive  A Word or Phrase used to interpret action(s) as shown in a script. Eighteen of these are listed and discussed as part of the Cue Tips instructional elsewhere at this website.

  • Cue Point  The exact instance that a Cue is to be implemented.

  • Cue Session  A time when Audio and/or Lighting Cues are recorded into the Boards or Softwares. Each Cue is assigned a number and/or an additional designation, and is written into the Script. This is typically done without actors on stage.

  • Cue Sheet  A series of pages listing all the Cues in a show. Some people like to have separate ones for Audio, Lighting, Music, Staging, etc. These sheets allow one to see all the Cues in order with their designations or numbers, Cue operational details, the Script page number where each appears, and notes for those executing a given Cue. Examples are given at Cue Tips.

  • Cue Stack  For an electronic memory Board or Software, this is the series of Cues for Audio or Lighting that are programmed into the Board or Computer for a given production. Also known as a "Cue List".

  • Cue to Cue  A rehearsal where the performers and Crew Run a Show starting at the beginning and then jump to the first Cue Point. The events surrounding that Cue are programmed into automated equipment or they are written out for manual implementation. These may then be rehearsed along with Actor Blocking and Crew tasks and movements. With or without immediate rehearsal, everyone moves to the next Cue Point by skipping over or truncating the majority of dialogue, music and dancing in between.
    (Also written as `Q2Q', and known as "Topping and Tailing" or "Top and Tail" in the U.K.)

       Costumes and Makeup are typically not included in a Cue to Cue unless a fast change of one or both is required, which would have to be rehearsed as part of certain Cues.

  • Dead Cue  This is a Cue that has been removed from the Script. Its number will be preserved so as to have the Cues that follow retain their same numbers, but it is never acted upon. This is sometimes known as a "Mute Cue" because its contents are "silent", that is, never heard or seen.

  • Decimal Cue  A Cue that is inserted between two others. A Lighting example might be: If a Cue is added between LX14 and LX15, it would be designated as "LX14.1". Also known as an "Insert Cue" or "Point Cue".
    (See LX.)

  • Dialogue Cue  After a specific line is said, an action is to occur: "After the policeman says `What is behind this door?', an actor is to burst forth from that doorway.

  • Follow Cue  A Cue that comes immediately after another Cue. It usually is not separately Called, but is bundled with the Call for the previous Cue. For automated Audio or Lighting systems, a timer counts down and executes the Follow Cue `n' seconds later.

  • Mute Cue  See "Dead Cue" farther back in this section.

  • Phoenix Cue  See "Zombie Cue" later in this section.

  • Placeholder Cue 
    • 1/  A point in the Script where a Cue will fall, but at the time it is unknown exactly what that Cue will represent, only that *something* will happen then. It is assigned a number so that the Cue sequence will be consistent.

    • 2/  A Temporary Sound that is programmed into the Audio Board or Computer. This is done to reserve a memory location with a Cue number that will be used for the actual Sound which will be selected at a later time.

         It is not unusual that the Temporary Sound is a steady beep or tone, so that as the Cue Stack is gone through, these tones will stand out as reminders to fill in that slot with the required sound.

    • 3/  A Temporary Lighting Look that is programmed into the Board. As above, this is done to reserve a memory location with an LX number that will be used for the actual look which will be devised at a later time.

  • Snap Cue  An abrupt Cue that is executed as quickly as possible. For a Timed Cue, it would be set to `0' seconds.

  • Timed Cue  A Cue programmed into an electronic memory Board or into software. It is automated to happen over a set number of seconds or minutes. Before automation, a Board Operator would have to manually execute the cue slowly so as to have it happen over the required time period. Such operators typically had a clock showing seconds to use as an accurate time reference.

  • Visual Cue  A Cue that is not directly Called. Instead the Cue is to happen when some Action occurs that can be seen by the person who will run that Cue: "Execute LX19 when the door opens."

       Actors also use Visual Cues. An example might be for dialogue to be said only after a flash of light has happened.

  • Zombie Cue  A Dead Cue Number that has been restored (even if its contents differ from the original) is sometimes called a "Zombie Cue" because it has been brought back to life. Very rarely, it's referred to as a "Phoenix Cue".

Cue Directive
(See Cue.)

Cue Point
(See Cue.)

Cue Session
(See Cue.)

Cue Sheet
(See Cue.)

Cue Stack
(See Cue.)

Cue to Cue
(See Cue.)

Curtain Call
(See Call.)

Curtain Line
  • 1/  An imaginary Line on the floor underneath, and along the length of, where a Curtain will travel when it is open or closed.

  • 2/  An actual Line drawn, or one defined with adhesive tape, that shows a Curtain Puller where to stop when curtains are not to be fully opened or closed. This line is perpendicular to the curtain's travel.

       In some cases when these points are essentially permanent, marks are placed on the ropes used to open and close the Curtain. This method is usually frowned upon as being tacky and/or unprofessional.

       With motorised Curtain systems, in-between limit points can sometimes be programmed into the system, so no tape or marks would be required.

Curtain Speech
An introduction given by a producer, director, or other prominent person before a performance begins. It is usually done on the Apron in front of a closed curtain.

Curtain Warmer
Lighting placed onto the main Curtain to give a theatrical atmosphere during the preshow wait by spectators. It may include a Pattern or other projection of an image associated with the show, the theatre, or a sponsor.

A free-standing Scenery item, such as a lamp-post, that is cut to the right shape, and then painted as a real lamp-post might be. Although some might have attachments, Cut-Outs are essentially two-dimensional in nature.

(SY-clor-am-ah) `Cyc' (Sike) for short, this is a vertical, (usually) curved, white, smooth surface that is illuminated to typically represent sky. Materials can be rigid or be a tensioned fabric. Erroneously used to refer to any white curtain, and sometimes to a curtain, regardless of colour, placed at the extreme Upstage.
Dance Call
(See Call.)

Daisy Chain
(DAY-see). As a verb: To link audio, data, or electrical components together by plugging each succeeding item into the one before.
As a noun: An array or line of components linked in this manner.

   The term comes from the interlinking of daisy flowers, typically done by children of a bygone era.

Dark Theatre/Stage
A Night when no Actors or Crew are working in the Theatre.

Date Tag
To place a label on a Fixture with a Date on it to indicate when the Lamp was last changed. The purpose is to keep track of Fixtures that may be causing premature burnouts and thus not allowing a Lamp to achieve its Rated Lamp Life.

   Some also date battery-operated devices to see how long each cell lasts.

Dead Blackout
A point where there is a sudden, instantaneous change to absolutely no Light on Stage.

Dead Cue
(See Cue.)

Dead Hang
To hang equipment from the ceiling or girders/trusses not on a manual or motorised pulley system. One must use a ladder or lift to reach such equipment unless it is hung from a Catwalk.

Dead Spot
  • 1/  An area where Sound levels unwantedly are well below the average desired level in the Seating Area, or in the case of Stage monitors, well below the desired level required by performers on a given area of the Stage.

  • 2/  Areas where Light levels unwantedly fall below those of their surroundings.

Decimal Cue
(See Cue.)

British term for a Lighting or Audio Board.

Dialogue Cue
(See Cue.)

(die-CROW-ick) A coating on Transparent material such as glass. It blocks or reflects certain Colour Frequencies while transmitting others. This transmittance is within a narrow range, so essentially only one colour gets through, making this filter "purer" than typical Gel.

The proper Pronunciation and Enunciation of Dialogue by an Actor so it may be understood by the spectators.

(dif-FYOU-shun) A type of colourless Gel or woven material that is Translucent, so Light gets through but is softened. It has the effect of widening the Light source, as well. (Sometimes referred to as "Frost Gel".)

The device that controls the voltage going to the Lamp in a Fixture. The Dimmer itself is controlled by a Fader on a Board or by Computer Software. Each Dimmer is considered as one "Channel".

Dimmer Buzz
An unwanted Electrical Vibration caused by chopped-waveform Dimmers. Normally filtered away, this Vibration can be Picked Up by an Audio System and amplified if there is a Ground Loop present.
(See a discussion at Electrical Grounding.)

Dimmer Curve
The amount of voltage, and thus Light output, from a Dimmer as its control Fader is adjusted. Desired curves for live performances have the full range of Light spread over the entire Travel of the control. In addition, the control Position should coincide with Light Output. Thus, placing the Fader at `5' or `50%', should result in half intensity from a given Fixture as seen by the eye.

   Dimmer Curves for film and video are often different to coincide with the response of those media.

Dimmer Pack
A package of more than one Dimmer. Typically, four, six, eight or twelve Dimmers are in one pack, but other numbers can be had. The Pack includes electrical and control inputs, along with an electrical output per Channel.

Dimmer Rack
A metal or wooden container that holds one or more Dimmer Packs. It typically includes electrical input terminals for main power and distribution of this to each Pack; electrical output to individual Outlets per Dimmer Channel; and control distribution to each Pack from the Lighting Board.

Dimmer Schedule
A list showing Dimmers and what is connected to them. This list typically shows the Dimmer's number and the circuit numbers it controls. In addition, the following might be included. (Some of these might change if the setup varies with each production.)

  • Board Channel Assignment
  • Type of Lighting Fixture
  • Number of Fixtures
  • Location of each Fixture
  • Gel Number of each Fixture
  • Fixture Accessories if Used
  • Pattern (Gobo) if Used
   Also known as "Dimmer List" or "Dimmer Patch".

One who guides the production with a common, cohesive vision, and usually the final decision-maker. He or she works in concert with the Producer, the Writer, the Stage Manager, the Composer and/or Music Director, and the designers (Audio, Lighting, Costumes, Set, etc.) so as to create a finished product ready for a viewing Audience.

To secretly dispose of something that must become, and usually remain, hidden. Also, to remove an object from the view of an Audience. A Ditch might be required when a Magician must remove a gimmick he used to fool the spectators, or an Actor must "eat" something that he cannot actually swallow.

(Dee Emm Ex Five Twelve) The Digital Standard for controlling a Lighting Board, Intelligent Lighting, Accessories such as Colour Scrollers, and related Special Effects such as Fog Machines.

   `DMX' stands for "Digital Multiplex", while the `512' refers to 512 bits of Data.

DMX Terminator
(Dee Emm Ex) Digital connections should be closed at the end of a Run with a Termination Connector. This is especially important when Cat5 cable is not being used, and when any Runs are excessively long.

   Although commercially available, a standard 3- or 5-pin XLR Connector can be modified by soldering a 1/2-watt, 120-ohm resistor between pins 2 and 3. Be sure to mark or Colour Code any such modified Connectors so they are easily recognised for what they are.

Dog and Pony
Originally meant to designate a small circus operation, within performing arts it has come to mean to be a showy, exaggerated or over-blown act with meagre talent behind it.

   Regarding stage lighting, it refers to pretentious lighting that has little thought toward quality of design or operation, or in being suitable for what is being lighted. In other words, being flashy for the sake of flashiness whether it suits or not.

This is a round or rectangular platform on four or more Casters, some, or all, of which swivel. It has no pull or upright handle, but can have a tether attached.
(See Cart and Hand Truck.)

The patrons' entrance to a venue is referred to as the "Door". It also means the Gross or Take, both of which could refer to just the value of ticket sales at the entrance, but normally include that of advance sales.

   The Door is referred to as the "Gate" for large venues such as an arena, exhibition ground, or stadium.
(See Box Office.)

(DOW-ser: rhymes with `how-ser') A mechanical dimmer in a Followspot that works by introducing an Opaque plate into the Beam to varying degrees.
(See Shutters.)

Double Up
Refers to an Actor who plays more than one Character in a show. Sometimes called "Doubling".

The location in the Seating Area that is toward the direction of the Stage.
(See the Venue Layout.)

Downhouse Centre
The Central area of the House as referenced from the spectators' point of view.
(See the Venue Layout.)

Downhouse Left
The area toward the Left Front Corner of the House as referenced from the spectators' point of view.
(See the Venue Layout.)

Downhouse Right
The area toward the Right Front Corner of the House as referenced from the spectators' point of view.
(See the Venue Layout.)

A Fixture pointed straight down to create dramatic Toplight on Actors or Sets.

The area toward the Front of the Stage.
(See the Venue Layout.)

Downstage Centre
The area toward the Middle Front of the Stage. Sometimes shortened to "Down Center".
(See the Venue Layout.)

Downstage Left
The area toward the Left Front Corner of the Stage as referenced from the Actor's point of view as facing the House. Sometimes shortened to "Down Left".
(See the Venue Layout.)

Downstage Right
The area toward the Left Front Corner of the Stage as referenced from the Actor's point of view as facing the House. Sometimes shortened to "Down Right".
(See the Venue Layout.)

Dramatis Personae
A Latin phrase not likely to be heard but may be read in older publications, it means "Drama Persons". These are the characters in a play.

A person who assists Actors to get in and out of Costumes. This person may also perform Costume care duties.

Dress Parade
(See Costume Parade.)

Dress Kit
Small curtains or Skirts that are used to frame a puppet stage or a video screen.

Dress Rehearsal
A rehearsal that includes all elements which would be seen and heard during an actual performance in front of an Audience.

D Ring
A steel ring in the shape of a `D' that is used in conjunction with an Anchor Plate or a strap. Sash Cord, Set Wire, or Snap Hooks can be quickly attached or removed as necessary. Sometimes referred to as a "Tie-Down Ring".
(See Accessories.)

An Individual speaker component. Each cabinet may have one or more Bass, Mid Range, or High Frequency Drivers. A mid- or high-range Driver is typically a small speaker attached to a horn that pushes and pulls air through that horn to produce those frequencies. Bass Drivers may be horn coupled to the air, but often radiate directly.

Drop Box
  • 1/  A Box mounted above the Stage that contains confetti, snow, or other light-weight items. The Box is able to open and spill its contents to the floor below. This operation may be handled directly by a Crew member, or it may be set up to open electrically.

  • 2/  An Electrical Box that can be lowered to the Stage to provide power for amplifiers, electronic musical instruments, or other on-stage electrical devices used by performers. A typical configuration has four U-ground Outlets.
    (See Quad Box.)

Drop Pipe / Drop Rod
A pipe or threaded rod that hangs vertically, or nearly so, from a Lighting Grid, Truss or Track. It allows Fixtures clamped or bolted to it to shine from angles and heights not available from the main mounting point.

A piece of music meant to be played and/or sung by two performers.

A group of two performers.
Ebb and Flow
A style of Pacing in scripting and/or performance that separates like sections so as to keep spectators' attention and to not tire them. This is done by using contrast in the narrative, action, or repertoire. Thus, when a change takes place, interest is heightened, or for stronger contrast, the result will be impact.

   This applies not only to theatre, but to stand-up comedy, musical acts, magic shows, lectures, and so on. In any type of performance or presentation, contrasting the less-spectacular with the spectacular adds pacing that usually culminates in a finale which stands out even more from the preceding. Such an ending is designed to leave spectators in a heightened (or even lessened) state depending on the effect desired by the writer, director, and/or performer(s).

Pacing can consist of:

  • Calm and Action
  • Drama and Comedy
  • Low and High Points
  • Slow and Fast Songs
  • Plainness and Beauty
  • Moderation and Intensity
  • Unnoticeable and Standout
  • The Mundane and the Intrigue
  • Ordinary and the Extraordinary

Depending on the type of performance,
some methods to do this might be:

  • Lighting Change
  • Costume Change
  • Change of Scene
  • Musical Interludes
  • Addition of a New Character
  • Redirection of Spectators' Focus
  • Interspersing Fast and Slow Songs
  • Close-Up Magic with a Stage Illusion or Escape
  • Performer Presentation with Audience Participation
  • Common Dialogue that Leads to an Unexpected Joke

Effects Projector
A device capable of projecting realistic Fire, Moving Clouds or Rain on to a backdrop or Set.

Effects Slot
(See Gate.)

The Light emitting device within an LED Lighting Fixture. Individual LEDs are often grouped together into Arrays so as to achieve more light output and/or more coverage.

A Fixture that illuminates via a combination of a Reflector in the shape of an Ellipse and one or more Bi-Convex or Plano-Convex Lenses. Given the properties of an Ellipse, the Light Source is at the focal point of the Reflector which gathers the Light from that Source and sends it to the Lens System which is at, or near, the other focus. There, it is received and directed with a sharp Beam cutoff onto the Stage.

   In some cases, there are intermediate lenses between the reflector and main Lens group. An example would be a Zoom Ellipsoidal.

   Most Ellipsoidals have internal Shutters that can be slid into the Beam to shape it to fit a desired area or object. Known as a "Profile Spot" in the U.K., and in past times abbreviated as `ERS' (Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight).

   Modern versions use a reflector that is not an exact ellipse, or they combine an elliptical shape with spherical and/or parabolic curvatures to more efficiently direct as much Light as possible to the Lens System.

Entr' acte
(Between Acts -- Intermission) This has come to mean an overture that is played before the second Act of a musical begins. Some musicals have one before each act, as well. For other productions, there might be a dance or alternate presentation in this time space.
(See Intermission.)

A closing Speech done by one or more actors as a way to Wrap Up or to Comment On what has taken place beforehand. Most often, this speech is given by one person as a Monologue.
Refers to a control on a Lighting Board that operates a Dimmer or group of Dimmers.

Field Angle
Light emanating from a Fixture that spreads outward to a perimeter which is at 10% of the highest central intensity denotes the Field Angle. For some PAR lamps or lensed Fixtures with inconsistent central brightness, the chosen intensity figure may be an average of several points. This middle number is then used to determine the Field Angle.

Fight Call
(See Call.)

The Light emitting straight or coil of wire within a Lamp.

Filament Sing
The sound made by a Lamp Filament when dimmed on an alternating current system by a chopped-waveform dimmer. As the Lamp is rapidly turned on and off, a series of shocks to the Filament occurs that vibrates it at a frequency which produces a buzzing, audible note. Better lamp design uses low noise construction to limit this effect.

Filament Line
A Transparent, small gauge, almost invisible, thread-like Cordage that is used to hang light-weight objects where the method of suspension must be hidden from the Audience. It can also be used to glide an object over the Stage or to surprise an Audience. An example might be to Fly a `ghost' off the Stage and out over the heads of the spectators.

   Magicians also use this product to make items appear to float, or when tied to an object with a counterweight on the opposite end of the line, to have that object rush from the Magician's hands to a hidden location. This produces a Vanish as viewed from the perspective of the spectators.

   Also known as "Monofilament Line".

Light that illuminates an actor or object that is opposite the Key Light. When the latter is at an angle, the Fill Light `fills in' the shadow area caused by the Key Light. The term is used more with photography, and television or motion picture Lighting.

Final Focus
The Final time the Fixtures are adjusted before opening night. It is usually the last chance to compensate for changes in Blocking, alterations to the Set or Set Pieces, and to clean up any remaining Spill.

Fine Focus
To adjust a Fixture very precisely regarding how it illuminates a given person, item or area.

An Instrument, Lantern, Luminaire or Unit used for Stage or other illumination.

A Scenery panel with no relief; that is, it is flat. It can be a frame with a painted canvas covering for light weight purposes, or the covering can be hardboard for durability. Flats may be supported by wires from above (flown), or floor supported by bases with Sandbag ballast, or by using Jack Stands to allow attachment directly to the Stage floor. Flats may also be attached to the sides of platforms for support.

   Some specific types are:

  1. Book Flat:  This comprises two Flats butted along their vertical edges and hinged so that when opened at a 45- to 90-degree angle, will stand without support. These are used when fast Scene changes are required. Some of these use restricted hinges that won't allow the opening to approach 180 degrees so as to prevent the Flat from falling over. These Flats can be folded in half for travel or storage.

       Others are designed to be opened to 180 degrees and are then supported in various ways. As above, these Flats can be folded closed for travel or storage.

  2. Masking Flat:  Any of the Flat types described here that are positioned so as to prevent an Audience from seeing back stage, or from seeing anything that is not meant to be visible to them.

  3. Quad Flat:  This is four Flats butted along their vertical edges and strapped together to form a tall, enclosed box. Each side has a different Scene or paint scheme. It is usually on wheels so that fast Scene changes can be accomplished by turning and butting multiple Quad Flats together.

  4. Triangle Flat:  Here, three Flats are butted along their vertical edges and strapped together to form a Triangle. Each side has a different Scene or paint scheme. Also usually on wheels so that fast Scene changes can be accomplished by rotating and butting multiple Triangle Flats together.

Flat Field
Refers to the Light Pool (usually of an Ellipsoidal) that has a regular intensity across its width.

  • 1/  An unwanted Reveal of something for a brief instant. An example might be an actor that accidentally allows a knife or gun in his coat to be seen before the spectators are to know he has it. Another example is a magician that while manipulating a deck of cards accidentally `flashes' one that he wishes to keep secret.

  • 2/  A Special Effect created by explosive powder or Lighting.

  • 3/  See Bump.

Flash Button
(See Bump.)

Flash Powder
A Chemical Powder that, when ignited electrically or by flame, produces a Pyrotechnic (Firework) effect of a bright, usually high Colour Temperature Light of short duration, accompanied by smoke.

Flash Pot
A Mortar that contains a socket for a pyrotechnic cartridge, or electrical connections and a flame-proof pad for holding Flash Powder or similar.

A type of air-tight Roadcase that has a Valve used to equalise internal and external air pressures after an air flight from a low-altitude location to a high-altitude one, or vice versa.

Typically used to denote the Seating Area of a venue, it also refers generally to the Stage Floor.

   Another reference is to an Acting Area that is on the same Floor as the Patrons. It can be level, sunken, or slightly raised, and typically has seating on two or more sides. When this is done, additional stage directions can be as follows. These are taken from the actors' points of view whereby one side has been designated as the primary reference point.

  • Down Floor
  • Down Floor Center
  • Down Floor Left
  • Down Floor Right

  • Floor Left
  • Floor Right
  • Floor Center

  • Up Floor
  • Up Floor Center
  • Up Floor Left
  • Up Floor Right

Floor Base
A small, flat or slightly raised platform with a hole in it by which a Fixture can be mounted. Some are in the form of round, weighted bases. Floor Bases are used when illumination must come from below, upward from out of a box, or sideways from a low angle or from within an enclosure.

Floor Box
(See Quad Box.)

Floor Light
A Fixture or group of Fixtures mounted on, or low to, the floor.
(See Footlights and Groundrow.)

Floor Pocket
A sunken area in a Stage Floor that is large enough to hold one or two electrical Outlets or a coil of cable with an attached Outlet. It is covered with a hinged plate that has slots in one or more edges to allow cables to go through when closed. Known as a "Dip" or "Trap" in the U.K. When recessed into walls they are referred to as "Wall Pockets".

(flor-ES-sence) As regarding Lighting, Fluorescence is the effect of Ultraviolet radiation emanating from a mercury vapour arc and exciting a coating which reradiates Light in a broad, visible range. Some white LEDs use this method, as well.
(See Neon.)

When Scenery or other items are to be suspended above the Stage, it is said to "Fly" them. Use "Flown" when present participle or past tense Is needed: "The platform is flown above the set."

   "Fly" also refers to the process of Flying an item in or out of view during a Performance. The ropes/cables, pulleys, and motors (if used) are called the "Fly System".

Fly Person
In a motorised Fly system, this is the person that handles the control Board which moves Actors, scenery and other objects in and out of view of the spectators.

   In a manual rope & pulley system, this person pulls or pays out the rope that raises or lowers actors or objects. The person that oversees the workers is referred to as the "Fly Master".

Fly Space/Gallery
This refers to the space above a Stage where hanging Scenery or other Flown items reside when they are not lowered to the floor. It includes the pulley and cable systems used to raise and lower items being Flown.
(See Grid.)

Fly System
The cables, pulleys and harnesses that allow items (or people) to be Flown in or out of a Scene. Older systems required that hoisting be done by several Stagehands, but then came to use counterweights to allow one person to do the work. Modern systems use electric hoists.

Foam Board /   Foamcore
A flat board of polystyrene surfaced on each side with coated paper. It is very light weight and used as a reflector, for mounting advertisements, as a Light shield, and many other purposes.

Focal Length
The distance from a particular point of a Reflector or Lens to where its light is at smallest (most concentrated) Focus. For lensed theatre Fixtures, the number is taken from the centre of the Lens System to that Focus Point, and the longer that distance, the narrower the Beam.
(See Fixture Calculations.)

  • 1/  The Smallest Point where a lens or reflector concentrates all Light rays. Also referred to as the "Focal Point".

  • 2/  To Point a Fixture in the desired direction using that Fixture's Pan and Tilt controls. In addition, a lensed Fixture may require to have its Beam adjusted to Spot or Flood and Hard or Soft edge.

       The adjustment of Beam-shaping accessories such as Barndoors, Funnels, Shutters, Snoots etc. is included in the term "Focus" when it is used as a verb.

Fog Machine
A device that emits a stream of visible vapour via the heating and pressurisation of a chemical liquid, or one that produces visible water vapour by the fast chilling of hot water with dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide).
(See Hazer.)

   Often erroneously called a "Smoke Machine", although no actual smoke is produced. Fog is not to be confused with such smoke effects -- see Pyro.

(EFF oh ate-ch) An abbreviation of Front of House.

(FOH-lee) The recreation of natural and other sounds through artificial, mechanical means. An example would be the sound of horses' hooves being made by using two half coconut shells clopped on to a board or into a gravel box in a rhythmic manner. Another example would be undulating a large, thick metal sheet to create the sound of thunder.

   A person creating these sounds is called a "Foley Artist". The person that heads a group of Foley Artists is known as the "Foley Master".

Follow Cue
(See Cue.)

A moveable Spotlight on a Stand or railing stud that is usually manually Panned so as to track a moving Performer. It is also used to illuminate a particular object such as a mirror ball.

   Typically included is a Colour Boomerang to Colour the Beam, and an Iris to reduce the Beam size. Some units have an Accessory Holder for additional attachments such as a Lobsterscope or UV filter.

Old unit of lighting intensity on a surface. It is approximately equal to 11 Lux.

Rows of Fixtures or Striplights embedded at the Downstage edge which illuminate from below. These are good for filling in eye-socket and under-nose shadows, but are rarely seen in modern Stages unless they are being used for a Blacklight or other effect.
(See Floor Light.)

  • 1/  A Magician's manipulation that sees a spectator pick a card or object which the latter believes to be a free choice, but which is actually the Magician's preference.

  • 2/  A ploy or action used to manipulate one or more spectators into saying or doing what the Actor wants, or to believe one thing while something else is actually the case.

       An example of the latter might be in a Participation Play where an Actor appears to place a murder weapon into a box on a shelf, as "freely" suggested by an Audience member, but in reality is dropped into a hidden compartment. Later, the box is found to be empty even though it has been in plain sight of the Participants.

       For such purposes, a number of obvious hiding places have been pre-chosen and Gaffed by the Stage Crew so as to be able to fool the person(s) suggesting those places. Dialogue and Actions are then used to "Force" a spectator to select one of those locations.

Forced Perspective
A technique used in Set design whereby angles are exaggerated and/or altered to make it appear as though objects and walls are farther away, or closer, than they actually are. Included in this approach are exaggerated and/or altered Shadow Lines and areas. These serve to heighten the illusion. As well, objects and walls might also be made to appear lengthened or shortened using this method. Complementary Lighting design is used to finalise the desired effect upon an Audience's perception of what they are viewing.

   The usual purpose for using Forced Perspective is to have a Set on a small stage appear to be larger or deeper than it is. A highly exaggerated form of this is used for comedic, almost cartoonish, effect.

   Persons designing illusions for magic shows often use Forced Perspective to make cavities, boxes or containers appear to be smaller than they are. This is so that persons or objects may be hidden behind panels or curtains within, yet from an Audience's viewpoint, there is not enough room for them to fit.

Fourth Wall
A pretend "wall" between the Actors and their Audience during a performance. It might represent the Fourth Wall of a room, or the outdoors beyond where the Actors are standing. Actors pretend the spectators are not there and interact with this "wall" as though that side of the room and its contents are actually there, or they talk of things off in the distance if they're supposed to be outdoors.

   In Performance Areas where spectators sit on more than one side, those "Walls" between them and the Actors are still considered as "Fourth Walls".

   To "Break the Fourth Wall" means to acknowledge spectators exist, or to talk directly to them.

Frame Holder
(See Accessory Holder.)

A Lighting Technique whereby two or more pieces of Gel are placed in front of a Fixture so as to impart more than one colour into the beam, or to lessen the intensity of part of it if Neutral Density Gel is employed. Such a Technique is highly effective when used with an Ellipsoidal light that is doing Pattern Projection.

   Realise that this is not the same as colour mixing because only one Fixture is used, and no gel piece is in front of another; (although overlapping some of the gel can add to the effect.)

(freh-NELL) A Fixture that uses a Fresnel Lens to project a soft-edged Beam which can be adjusted to a spot or a flood.

   The Fresnel Lens was invented for lighthouse usage in the early 1800s by Augustin-Jean Fresnel. Its modern Stage version has a series of concentric rings on a flat, glass surface that gather light and project it outward.

Front Light
Any Lighting that comes from positions Ahead of a performer or object.
(See the Lighting Position Diagram.

Front of House
Typically referred to by its initials of `FOH', this specifically means the Seating Area in a Venue, but also used generally to include many or all of a Venue's public areas.

Front of House Staff
Those who deal with the public including Ticket Sellers, Bar Staff, Ushers, Washroom Attendants, etc.

A tapered cylinder (cone) that starts at the same size diameter as the Light Beam of a Fixture and narrows somewhat as it extends farther out. It fits into the Accessory Holder so as to shield side Spill more so than a Snoot, but also to narrow the Beam.
(See Snoot.)
A gimmicked Prop or Set Piece built to appear as a real object, but which actually accomplishes something else.

Gaffer Tape
Often shortened to "Gaff", this is a matte-finish, cloth-backed tape with superior adhesive. It is used whenever an item needs to be held and reflections must not occur. General, temporary repairs are often made with this product.

   Beware of people naming any cloth-backed tape as "Gaff". Not all such tapes are actual Gaffer Tape.
(See Adhesive Tape Discussion.)

  • 1/  An opening above the optics system of an Ellipsoidal or Effects Projector that allows access to the space between a reflector and a lens, or between individual lens elements. It is used to insert a Pattern or effect that must be projected. Sometimes referred to as "Pattern Slot" "Gobo Slot" or "Effects Slot".

       Other examples of devices with Gates are projectors for slides, motion pictures, or filmstrips.

  • 2/  As referred to in Audio, it's short for "Noise Gate". This is a Device that clamps the output of audio signal when it falls below a minimum set by the audio board operator. This is done to prevent noise (usually hiss and/or hum) from being heard. When the Gate opens to allow signal through, the noise does come along with it but is masked by the audio content.

  • 3/  Regarding the business meaning of "Gate", see Door and Gross.

G Clamp
(See Pipe Clamp.)

A general term for plastic Colour Media. It is short for "Gelatin", the first `plastic' Colour Filter for the Theatre. As a verb, it means to place a Colour, or other Filter, into a Light beam.

Gel Frame
A flat Frame that sandwiches a cut piece of Gel to keep it rigid in front of the Fixture and to prevent it bending or curling. An opening the size of the Beam allows Light to pass through the Gel to illuminate the desired object or area. Frames can be made of metal, fibre or plastic. Also known as a "Colour Frame".

Gel Schedule
A List of the Gel colours required for a production, along with their cut sizes and the quantity of each. Instead of a separate List, this information may be placed onto the Dimmer Schedule.

Gig Light
This usually refers to a personal Flashlight as used by one or more of the Technical Crew. The preferred method is to either have this Light in a holster or pouch, or attached to the person's clothing by using a belt clip so that it is available immediately. It is also preferred that Gig Lights have a shielded beam and not be too bright so as to be unseen in the House by an Audience.

   In recent decades, some backstage personnel have taken to using their cell phones as gig lights. This is considered unprofessional during a show performance because cell phone lights take several steps or more to get turned on when time may be paramount; they vomit light everywhere which can spoil Backstage Vision, and possibly be seen on stage or by an Audience; and it uses up battery power if used too much. The latter might mean a dead phone at a time when communication is critical, or at a minimum, more frequent recharges.

Glass Box
An enclosed metal box containing broken glass that is thrown around Off Stage to simulate a crash or actual glass breaking. This is mostly superseded today by a prerecorded audio track.

Glow Tape
Adhesive Tape that absorbs radiation and re-emits it in the dark as visible Light. It is used to show positions or emphasise items to Actors and Crew on a dark Stage. Examples might be to designate a mark where an Actor must be before the lights come up, or to define a walk or stairway that must remain unlit at some point during a performance. Crews might use it to highlight an electrical switch or warn of a trip hazard.
(See Adhesive Tape Discussion.)

(GOH-boh) Originally an Opaque flag or shield used in the motion picture industry, the term has come to mean a Pattern.
(See Pattern Projection.)

Go Button
A momentary Push Button on a programmable Lighting Board that executes the next Cue.

   A similar idea is used by Audio Software that automates the running of sound Cues, except that the "Go" button is usually the Space Bar or "Enter" key of a computer keyboard.

God Mic
(See Talkback Mic.)

Good One Side
A designation of Plywood which has one side finished to be smooth. This is abbreviated as `G1S'.

A person whose job is to run errands for various persons connected with a production. The name stems from the phrase "go for".

Usually refers to the pipe framework where Stage Fixtures hang for a production, but can refer to a Lighting Truss setup, and more generally to the area above a Stage where anything hangs.
(See Fly Space.)

This is the total amount received by the Box Office from advance and at-the-door ticket sales, but can sometimes refer only to sales of one or the other. For the purposes of figuring Percentage Deals, taxes are normally subtracted first, depending on the exact agreement with the Artist or Production Company.

   Referred to as the "Gate" at an arena, exhibition grounds, or stadium.
(See Door.)

Ground Loop
An Electrical Situation where two Audio Devices are plugged into widely-separated Outlets and then interconnected by a signal cable such as a long Patch cord. Because of the great and differing distances of each device to actual ground, some unwanted current will flow through the patch cord and through the building wiring grounds to form a loop. This unwanted current will introduce noise into the Audio system, usually in the form of a 60-cycle hum or Dimmer Buzz.
(See the discussion at Electrical Grounding.)

  • 1/  A floor-mounted strip of reflectors with Lamps, or using `R' floodlamps or MR16s where every third or fourth one is the same colour. Typically used to illuminate backdrops or Cycloramas.
    See Floor Light and Footlights.)

  • 2/  A masking border along the floor to hide the bottom of a Set or curtain, or any Floor Lights shining up at them.

A Stagehand or truck loader that does heavy work.
Hand Truck
Erroneously called a Dolly, this is an upright, metal frame on two wheels with a rectangular plate attached at floor level between, and in front of, the wheels. In operation, a worker grips the top of the frame and manoeuvres the plate to slide it under an object to be moved. The frame is then tipped backward so as to raise the plate and balance the load over the wheels, whereupon it is able to be transported with minimal effort.

   Some Hand Trucks have a second set of wheels near the top of the frame and a fold-out handle so that when the Hand Truck is lowered on to its back, it can be converted to a Platform Cart.
(See Cart and Dolly.)

Hang Point
A Position where a Fixture, audio cabinet, or other object is attached above a Stage or other location. It can also loosely refer to a floor or Stand position, or another point where it will reside while in use.

Have I Tied...
"Have I tied my shoes today? Yes, I tied my shoes today." These are two Sentences recited silently by a row of actors during bows to coordinate the bowing action. The first one is used as the actors bow toward their feet; the second on the way back up.

A type of Fog Machine that emits a very fine, even mist as compared to billowing clouds of fog. Machines that produce this can be ones that heat the haze fluid, or ones that vibrate the fluid into very small droplets. The latter type is sometimes referred to as a "Cracker".
(See Fog Machine.)

Alternate title for the Leader of a particular department such as Costumes or Props. A Female Leader of such departments was, and sometimes still is, referred to as "Mistress". A Male Leader was referred to as "Master". Today, all genders typically come under the title of "Master" or "Head", although old-timers will often still differentiate due to habit.

Headset System
A closed-circuit communications setup used by the Show Director or Stage Manager to give instructions to the Board Operators, and to the FOH and Backstage Crews. It consists of a set of headphones and microphone for each participant with a controller box called a Belt Pack.

   The Show Director or Stage Manager typically has a "Base Station" that can switch between two or more Channels of Headsets. Thus, he or she can independently talk with Stagehands versus the FOH Audio and Lighting Operators/Crews.

Hide or Feature
The decision to remove from view of an Audience obstructions, blemishes, and other distractions that would detract from a performance and its space. Conversely, would be to make these things more noticeable by dressing them up to appear to be wanted or needed in the space, or to be something directly related to the performance or set.

   Examples of the latter might be:

  • Peeling paint on a wall that is lighted to cast artistic shadows along that wall.
  • A staircase too damaged to be used, but cannot be removed, that is incorporated into the set.
  • A wall hole around which a frame is placed to make it appear to be a drawing or art object. The addition of paint and specific lighting would heighten this purpose.

Hit the Mark
For television and motion pictures, this is a phrase used to indicate that an actor is to move and then stand in a Specific Spot where a camera is prefocused. On game shows, it may be a place where a contestant might get splashed with water or fall victim to some other gag.

   In theatre, it is a Specific Spot where an actor is to stand or end up so as to be properly lit or, as with the game show, to be dumped on with confetti or covered with a falling net. It might also be where a magician or an assistant is to move so as to disappear through a trap door.

   In most cases, the spot is usually indicated by a bit of Spike Tape or by a dot or circle on the floor or platform. Another indicator might be a star. For non-marked Spots, the indicator might be a piece of furniture, a doorway, a specific step on a stairway, and so on.

Hot Spot
  • 1/  When a Fixture or projector is placed behind a Scrim or rear projection screen, some or all spectators will see the light source. That source is called the "Hot Spot".

       This also occurs when spectators sit directly behind a projector that is showing an image on a shiny screen such as a white board.

  • 2/  An improperly aligned Fixture which shows an area in its beam that is considerably brighter than elsewhere is said to have a Hot Spot. When this is done on purpose, it is referred to a Peak Field alignment.

The area in which Patrons sit. It includes all Seating Areas that have a view of the performance wherever those seats may be.

   Also used to denote ticket sales numbers: "We had a sell-out House tonight!"

   See Seating Area.

House Centre
The area in the Middle of the House.
(See the Venue Layout.)

House Left
The area in the House to the spectators' Left.
(See the Venue Layout.)

House Manager
The person that oversees everything related to Patrons: Ticket Sales, Bar, Concessions, Ushers, etc.

House Right
The area in the House to the spectators' Right.
(See the Venue Layout.)
(Eye Eff See Bee) A bit of a misnomer abbreviation that refers to moving light parameters. It should probably be `ILCQ'.

* Intensity: Brightness of the Beam
* Focus: Location of the Beam
* Colour: Colour of the Beam
* Beam: Quality of the Beam

`ILCQ' = Intensity, Location, Colour, Quality

(IM-prov) Short for "Improvisational". A style of Acting where the participants Make Up the Dialogue, Actions, and Locations as they go along -- that is, they Improvise.

In Character
The playing of a part in a way that includes mannerisms, voice attributes, idiosyncrasies, and general movement which all define the given role, and that is different from the actor's own personality.

   This extends to Ad Libs and Blocking changes, or other things outside of the written script. These may be needed if a mistake has been made whereby one or more actors must improvise dialogue or movements to rectify or get around the mistake, all the while staying In Character.

Intelligent Lighting
Usually meaning Fixtures with Moving Beams, it has become a blanket term that refers to most digitally controlled items that are related to Lighting such as Colour Changers, Strobe Lights, Fog Machines etc. All of these have electronic circuitry that controls the units, and many have processors that provide a myriad of abilities and features.

In the Round
  • 1/  A Stage or Performance Area with spectator seating on all sides, although it can refer loosely to an area where seating is only on two or three sides. Sometimes then referred to as "In the half or three-quarter round".

  • 2/  An impromptu performance that might take place outdoors, such as at a Busker event, or indoors in a large area such as an arena surface, where the spectators stand or sit around the performers.

The Period between Acts of a performance. Known as "Interval" in the U.K.

   It is referred to as a "Break" for the period between Sets of a Band's repertoire.
(See Entr' acte.)

Invitational Dress
A show Preview to be seen by persons (usually family and friends, but often also media or important industry people) that are requested to attend by the production's participants. No admission fee is typically charged, although donations may be solicited. It is a full Dress Rehearsal used to gauge the Laugh Points and/or Applause Points, along with their lengths, so that the Director and/or actors can create or adjust pauses in dialogue and action to accommodate Audience reaction.
(Sometimes referred to as "F&F Night" (Family and Friends Night), and by the grammatically incorrect "Invited Dress".)

   This Rehearsal with a live Audience is also used by the Show Caller (usually the Stage Manager), and the Board Operators, Conductor, Stage Crew, etc. to better the timing precision of Cue Points as dictated by Audience reaction.

A set of Opaque, interlocking stainless-steel Leaves housed in a circular frame that can open or close while keeping a central round opening. Thus, the opening's size is variable. Typically used in Followspots and moving lights to reduce the beam-size circle at a given distance.

(ih-TAL-ee-an) A rehearsal where actors recite their lines of Dialogue as fast as possible without doing much, if any, acting. In most cases, it is done as a sit-down rehearsal. The purpose is for actors to know their lines of Dialogue without relying on Visual or other Cues except the lines preceding their own.
The Female Connector in electronics is referred to by this term, but is usually limited to only those with two or three terminals.

Jack Stand
A Triangular Frame that is used to support scenery Flats in a vertical position. It is hollow and usually made of wood so that it can be screwed both to the Flat and to the floor.

Jeopardy Writing
The Technique of placing one or more main characters into situations whereby the story line cannot continue without solving or bypassing that which prevents them from moving forward. An example might be as simple as encountering a heavy, locked door through which one or more characters must get through before some bad guy catches up. A more involved example might be to have to get through that door before the chamber in which they are standing fills with water and drowns them, or where one character must choose to save himself because of some impending time constraint in the plot, versus taking the time to help save the others.

   In tasteful writing, this is done to engage an Audience and impart strong feeling for one or more of the characters. It also adds excitement to the story line. Employing an excess of these situations borders on, or crosses into, purposeful Audience Manipulation. This can be good or bad depending on the skill of the writer and director, and knowing where and when to draw the line.

Jukebox Production
A Stage Musical that uses already-known Popular Music as its soundtrack or as its principal reason for being. "Mama Mia" is an example of the latter.

A door or doorway on one or both sides of the Apron, or the extreme Downstage, that allows direct access by Actors to that area of the Stage. It can be at floor level or be an entrance to a balcony.

   The term seems to have come from the play "Romeo and Juliet" where Juliet had to enter a Downstage door to gain access to her balcony, which in these productions is typically located Downstage Left or Right near the Audience.

A short cable that joins together two items such as components or paths in an Audio, Lighting, or Electrical system.
  • 1/  (kay) When in lower case, it is an abbreviation of "kilo", it represents the number `1000'. So a 1k Lamp is one that consumes 1000 watts. In computer terms, `kB' stands for "kilobytes".

  • 2/  (Kay) When in upper case, it is an abbreviation of "Kelvins", a measurement of temperature.

Kee Klamp
A brand name of a British company product which is a steel or aluminum Fitting that enables the assemblage of structures using pipe such as for a Lighting Grid, guard rails, or shelving. These Fittings clamp to pipe by the usage of set screws having hex (six-sided) sockets, so one can easily build, adjust, alter, or disassemble structures using them.

Keyboard Rehearsal
A Rehearsal that does not include a production's Band or Orchestra, but instead has one musician playing a keyboard that often can emulate the required sounds of the full Band/Orchestra. This is done so that singers and dancers can practise with the music as it will be played, but without tying up an entire ensemble of musicians, thus saving the production some money.

   Before electronic keyboards, this was referred to as a "piano rehearsal".

Key Light
A Television Lighting term that some theatrical Lighting Designers/Directors use in place of the term Special when it denotes an Actor's main illumination.

When an image or light pool is not projected directly onto a flat surface, it is stretched or elongated to one side and is said to "Keystone".

   The word comes from the masonry term for a stone or block at the top of an arch that holds that arch in its shape. This `key' stone is not rectangular, but is an angular version shaped to perfectly fill in the space between the stones on either side next to the very top of the arch.

A Motion Picture Lighting term that refers to a small Fixture which is placed so as to increase (or `kick' up) the light level in a specific area or on a particular actor or object. This is typically done as a highlight or an accent.

   In theatre, it mimics motion picture usage for the purpose of accenting, but it can also refer to a Fixture used cover a shadowed or low-light area in order to raise its illumination level to match that of its surroundings.
Often used erroneously to refer to a Fixture itself; it is actually the Light Source of that Fixture.

Lamp Alignment
The process of moving the Lamp around within the Fixture by adjusting the mounting hardware of its Socket. This is done so as to have the Filament line up with the Fixture's optics so as to produce the desired Beam intensity and smoothness. This is when Flat Field or Peak Field (or somewhere in between) is set.

   Fixtures have either Screwdriver adjustment screws or one or two hand-operated adjustment knobs to achieve this.

Lamp Code
The three letters used to identify a Lamp. It is a short form of the longer lamp description, and although arbitrarily assigned, the code often follows a pattern for lamps of a given family.

   An example is the code for a Q1000/4CL. It is `FEL'. An example of a Lamp Family is the one for 1000-watt, high output PAR Lamps: FFN, FFP, FFR and FFS. These make up the `FF' family which ranges from Very Narrow Spot to Wide Flood beam patterns.

The part of a Fixture that houses its Lamp. It often has a hinged or removable cover, or an access plate. In some cases, the entire end of the Fixture is removable bringing with it the Lamp, and its Socket and Electrics. Sometimes the latter is referred to as the "Lampholder".

Lamp Sock
A Transparent, cylindrical piece of plastic that is slipped over the Bulb of the Lamp so that finger oils will not come in contact with the glass. If these oils are on the Bulb when the Lamp is being used, heat will cause the glass to darken. If this happens to a Quartz Halogen Lamp, it will interfere with the Halogen Cycle.(*) In both cases, lower Light output and shorter Lamp life will result.

(*) The Halogen Cycle lengthens lamp life by returning
evaporated filament particles to the filament.
See Quartz Halogen.

Not to be confused with Catch, this is a spring-operated Hardware Device that is used to automatically secure hinged items. It is pushed back as the hinged item is closed by rubbing against a Strike, then springs on its own into a recess to hold itself closed until it is manually or electrically released. The most common example is a Door Latch.

A small Microphone that clips to the clothing of the front, upper body.

Laugh Point
(See Applause Point.)

Wrongly spoken of as a Podium, a Lectern is a small upright desk from behind which someone might Lecture or MC a show.

(Ell Eee Dee) Light Emitting Diode. An electronic device that emits Light when a DC (Direct Current) voltage is applied in the correct polarity. Each device can be "tuned" to radiate in a specific colour range, even in the Ultraviolet. One or more of them are placed in Fixtures to produce different types of light outputs for various purposes.

Leg Line
The boundary behind which no part of Backstage Actors and Crew can be seen by spectators. It is often designated on the floor by a strip of Adhesive Tape, or it can be a painted strip.

Staggered, vertical curtains that hide the Wings of a Stage. The staggering allows space for Performers to enter and exit.

A Trade Name, along with `Lekolight', as used by Strand for some of their Ellipsoidal lines. First developed in 1933 by Joseph Levy and Edward Kook, `Leko' is a contraction of their last names. The term is falling into disuse because there are so many ellipsoidal manufacturers now that have models more popular than Strand.

(lih-BRET-toh) In Opera or Musical Theater, this is the Script.

Usually used interchangeably with Fixture, it refers to the visible radiation emitted by that Fixture.

Light Bar
A Bar or Pipe with a group of Fixtures bolted or clamped to it. Each Fixture is spaced from the other far enough to allow enough panning during Focusing. A specific one using only PAR Fixtures is typically spoken of as a "PAR Bar".

Light Curtain
An Effect created by employing fog or water mist in the air and then lighting it, or projecting images upon it, from various angles.

Lighter's Block
A humourous play-on-words of the term "Writer's Block", it refers to a Lighting Designer that is having trouble coming up with a suitable design, or is obsessing over part of a design such as colour selection for a particular look. In both examples, the Designer is unable to complete his or her work until the Blockage passes.

The looks portrayed by the combinations of Fixtures, Beam Quality, Colour, Direction and Intensity used to Illuminate all that is associated with a Performance. Other light sources can be included under Performance Lighting, as well: Fire, sparks, sun, sky, moon, star, and reflected natural light.

Lighting Designer
One who decides upon the Fixtures required to light a production. In addition, the Beam Quality, Colour, Direction, Intensity, and the Placement of those Fixtures is decided by this designer. Some Special Effects may also fall within this person's realm. This might happen if the Effects are Lighting related, or if they require certain Lighting in order to be fulfilled.

Lighting Director
The person who directs how the Lighting is to be used. Intensities, fade times, and the particular usage of one or more Fixtures at a given moment fall under this person's prerogative, but this is often tempered by the requirements of the Lighting Designer, the Director and other principals involved.

   It is not unusual that the Lighting Designer also handles this aspect of a production.

Lighting Gloves
Workgloves that are heat resistant to allow the Focus of Lighting Fixtures while keeping the user's hands from being burned. Sometimes referred to as "Focus Gloves".
(See Work Gloves Guide.)

Lighting Wrench
A specialty tool that has common sizes and shapes for the Hardware and Fittings on Fixtures, Pipe Clamps and related equipment. It enables a Crew Member to possess one tool that will fit a variety of Hardware without having to adjust for each piece. Some models of these wrenches are small enough to fit within a shirt pocket. (Sometimes called a "Stagehand Wrench".)

Light Ladder
A frame with cross pipes onto which Fixtures may be hung. Typical versions have two or three pipes with enough room to hang two fixtures beside one another per pipe.

   In use, the Ladder is suspended below a main pipe or other support, and is often able to be swivelled to assist with Focus angles.

Light Plot
A hand- or Template-drawn, computer-printout, or computer-screen representation of where the Lighting Fixtures will hang for a given production. It usually includes, but is not limited to, Fixture types, wattages, Gel colours, and Beam Spread.

Light Pool
The Illumination on a surface, as provided by a single or multiple Fixtures, that shows a defined area of light.

Light Shield
Fixtures have holes in various locations to allow heat to escape. So as to limit or prevent Light leakage from them, there are also internal or external metal shields that stand off the fixture to allow air flow but block direct Light Spill from the back and top.

   Some Fixtures also have a round metal plate with an opening for the Socket assembly. This limits or prevents Light from escaping the Lamphouse.

Lime Light
A long obsolete type of Fixture that burned blocks of Lime within a ventilated housing and location. It produced a very intense, white Light that was a favourite method for Followspots. These fixtures and their operators were known as "Limes".

As a noun, it means a bit of dialogue, usually a sentence. Used in the plural, it means all the dialogue, as in "learning one's Lines."

   As a command, `Line' means for a Script Person, or other whose job it is to follow the Script during rehearsal, to recite the dialogue forgotten by the actor who called for his or her Line.

Line Input
(See Channel.)

The technique of illuminating a Performer from the front with no other Light -- particularly when only one Light Source is used. The Performer is seen in front of a black background, which distance away is hard to discern, thus he appears to be "nowhere", or "in Limbo".

When used as a verb, it means to place one or more items into an Action Prop so that when the Prop is activated, the items will appear to the spectators or cause another action. An example might be a crystal ball used for a seance Scene might have an internal Lighting effect which is activated by the actor portraying the medium, then activating another effect to have, say smoke or a streamer, come out of that prop.

   As a noun, "Load" is the item(s) itself. "Has the Load been placed into the crystal ball for Scene II?"

   Magicians also use this term for the same purpose. A series of hidden pockets might be Loaded with billiard balls that the performer magically produces, seemingly right out of the air.

Loading Dock
The location where equipment is moved into and out of a Venue. To facilitate the movement of large items, it usually has wide and tall double doors, or a roll-up door. It is often isolated by compartments or Stripdoors so as to maintain the building's internal temperature. The Dock is typically level with the Stage floor; if not, there is a ramp, or if on different floors, a freight elevator travels between the two.

   On or near the Dock will be items such as Carts, Dollies, Forklifts and Hand Trucks to facilitate easy equipment moving.

   Venue supplies can come in through here, but large complexes will often have separate Loading Docks or entrances for these so as to not interfere with the performance end of the business.

Lobby Card
A stand-alone or wall Display in a Venue Lobby that has photos of the principal actors in a production, but can include pictures of the Director, Designers, and other major personnel. Additional images may include full- or part-stage views with Costumes, Makeup and Lighting.

   Also known as a "Lobby Board".

An accessory for a Followspot that mounts at its front. It consists of a motor that spins a thin, flat, metal wheel having two wavy slots, one opposite the another. It creates a mechanical strobe light effect that is very Focused on a specific location, and is particularly impressive when used on a moving performer such as a dancer or skater.

See Seating Area.

A Bundle of individual Cables that are tied, strapped or taped together so as to form a single large cable. Known as a "Tripe" in the U.K.

A unit of intensity. "Lumens" refers to the brightness of the Light emitted by a Light source.

Lumens per Watt
A measure of the efficiency of visible Light Output versus Power Consumption. The more Light emitted per Watt of Power Consumption, the more efficient is that Lamp. As an example, a typical BTL Fresnel lamp has an efficiency of 22 Lumens per Watt.

Luminous Flux
A Unit of Illumination in Lumens that represents the total output of visible light as perceived by the average human eye. This is how Lamps are rated.
(See Radiant Flux.)

A Unit of Illumination equal to one Lumen per Square Metre. "Lux" is the amount of Light on an illuminated surface.

(El Ex) Having to do with Lighting, its Fixture locations, and its Cues. Examples: "LX crew" refers to Lighting personnel; "LX pipe" refers to the pipe where Fixtures are hung; "LX21" refers to Lighting Cue #21.

   The term is short for "Electrics" and "Electricians", from the days in Stage and Motion Picture Production when Electrical Lighting Equipment first became the norm.

(LEAR-ih-sist) The person who writes or adapts the Lyrics for Music.
Makeup Call
(See Call.)

Makeup Mirror
A large Mirror with Light strips around the perimeter that when properly designed, emulate the type of Lighting as will be encountered on Stage. This is done so that actors or their Makeup personnel can apply Makeup in the right amount and shade so as to appear correct when seen under Stage Lighting.

This is a three-dimensional Model, usually to scale, of a proposed set design for a stage production. It allows participants to have an idea of how the finished set will appear so each can better visualise his or her aspect of the production. These would include the Actors, Stage Crew and Lighting Designer.

Marking Out
(See Tape Set.)

Mark Out
To put tape or chalk lines on the stage or rehearsal space floor so as to show where scenery, Set Pieces, stairways, and entrances/exits will be. These are used to indicate to set Crews where to build, and to allow the Director, Actors and Stage Manager to learn ahead of time where things will be as an aid to Blocking.
(See Tape Set.)

  • 1/  A fabric, paper mache, or plastic covering for the face that shrouds all or part thereof. Some versions cover the entire head.

  • 2/  This refers to the process of hiding from the view of an Audience spaces or objects not wanted to be seen by the production designers.

Curtaining, flats, or other materials that Mask spaces or objects.

Masking Flat
See Flat.

Formerly the designation of a Male that was Leader of a particular department such as Costumes or Props. A Female Leader of such departments was referred to as "Mistress". Today, all genders typically come under the title of "Master" or Head, although old-timers will often still differentiate due to habit.

(maa-tin-AY). An afternoon performance.

Master of Ceremonies. One who officiates at a performance or ceremony, or hosts an event. He or she introduces Performers or speakers, informs the Audience of procedures, may conduct interviews, and is expected to keep Patrons engaged during changes and unanticipated delays.

A type of show where the performer, known as a "Mentalist", predicts what number, object or playing card an Audience member is thinking. He or she may also predict what one or more spectator participants will do while on Stage, or have a participant choose a particular number or object which turns out to correspond to the content of a sealed envelope. Not to be confused with a magic show.

See Seating Area.

Microphone Tape
An essentially Transparent tape used by audio crews to keep headset microphone booms in place on a performer's face. This product sticks better and longer than other tapes as it has a hypoallergenic adhesive which holds well but removes easily without damaging the skin.

   The backing is loosely woven, thus it permits skin respiration through the small openings between fibres, meaning no "perspiration patch" where the tape resides. These openings give this tape a mainly Transparent nature which makes it less noticeable to spectators. Both these qualities are why it is so popular in the performance industry.

Mind-Reading Act
Similar to a Mentalism act, this is done with two persons: One is on Stage and visible to the Audience but is securely blindfolded. An assistant goes into the House and selects objects offered by various persons. This is completely voluntary, but objects that most people have with them in a theatre are quite finite in nature; thus divining them correctly is easier. So there might be a ticket, wallet, watch, debit/credit card, money, program, jewelry, purse, pen, phone, necktie, and so on. Each object is held aloft so that the rest of the Patrons can see what it is.

   The assistant will then ask questions of the blindfolded performer who will then "read the mind" of the question asker. Additional queries might regard the colour of the purse, the type of jewelry, or the style of watch band. To prove that the blindfolded person cannot see the objects, some may be kept hidden from all but the assistant until it is divulged by the "mind reader".

   Some acts go beyond simple objects into such aspects as to give the row and seat number on a person's ticket, the name of the bank issuing a debit/credit card, or even names and birthdates of Audience members, and so on. The latter are whispered to the assistant, or more commonly, written down. When the blindfolded performer says what it is, the Patron reveals to everyone else what he or she had said.

Mind Rehearsal
This is where an actor silently goes over his or her lines in the script as if the other actors were there. Thus, the lines of all are committed to memory, or at least the "trigger" phrases or words which signify that the succeeding lines are to be spoken by the actor. It may also signify an action that is to be done, and the actor will picture that action in his or her mind. (Some actors will quietly rehearse their lines out loud if no one will be disturbed.)

   Techs and crew also do this. One example is for the lighting Board Operator to follow the script while actually executing each lighting cue to see that the lighting and its timing are correct for that cue. He or she may also imagine what is happening on stage at that point.

   Another example regards the Props Master who goes through the script and makes sure that each prop is where it is supposed to be, and that it is given (or taken) to (from) the correct actor at the right time.

Typically associated with Magicians, this is also used in Theatre when an Actor needs to appear, disappear or change something without people being aware of it. In both types of performances, a Distraction or an Attention Puller is employed to direct the concentration of the spectators away from the secretive action.

   Magicians will employ techniques such as looking away from where the `magic' takes place, or speaking to someone in the audience and when that persons answers, the audience is typically looking in his or her direction, not at the magician. (See Attention Puller and Vanish.)

Formerly the designation of a Female that was Leader of particular department such as Costumes or Props. A Male Leader of such departments was referred to as "Master". Today, all genders typically come under the title of "Master" or "Head", although old-timers will often still differentiate due to habit. Newer, gender neutral titles might be "Costume Coordinator" or Props Coordinator".

In an Audio system, this is the combining of microphone and/or other sources so as to achieve a balance of sound for live or recorded purposes.

Pertaining to Lighting, it is the Technique that provides shape, depth, and texture to what is being illuminated.

An audio term. As a verb, it means to Listen To a particular channel or group of channels (usually via headphones) to determine if adjustment is required to the level, tonal quality, or effect such as reverberation.

   As a noun, it refers to the speaker(s) used to direct sound back to the stage, either as an all-stage "wash" or to individual performers so those on Stage can hear music playback or particular instruments of a live band. It is known as "Foldback" in the U.K. because the sound is folded back toward the Stage.

(MON-oh-log) A long section of Dialogue spoken by one Actor.

Moon Box
An old Effect that consisted of a circular box on which a Translucent fabric or heavy diffusion was attached. Inside around the perimeter were a series of low-wattage lamps. The Box would be situated behind a Scrim and placed at various heights to simulate a moon rising or setting.

Mover/Moving Lights
A Lighting Fixture that animates a Light Beam either by Panning and Tilting the Fixture itself (a Moving Head), or by doing the same to a mirror (a Moving Mirror) that intercepts the Beam. This is done to sweep Light in a continuous pattern, or to redirect it to a desired location. Modern versions also typically include a variety of beam shaping and colouring effects.

   Such Fixtures can often change colours and Beam sizes, perform special duties such as strobing, as well as alter Beam Quality to a soft or hard Focus.

   The term "Moving Lights" is generally used by lay persons to mean both variations. Although this includes the Moving Mirror type, the fixture itself does not move.

(EMM arr sixteen) Refers to a 50mm Mirror Reflector Lamp or the Fixture that holds it. On Stage where concealment is required, this small unit can be used to highlight tight areas or objects. A similar Lamp, called a "PAR 16", serves the same purpose, and Fixtures are available for this alternate light source.

(myou-JISH-an) Magical instrumentalist, or an instrumental magician.

(MUL-tee-cay-bull) Cable that has multiple circuits. In some case, the individual wires are twisted into pairs or threes to represent each circuit.

A dramatic or comedic presentation with dialogue and large-scale singing and dancing.
(See Opera, Pantomime, Play.)

Music Director
The person who conducts the Band or Orchestra and rehearses the Vocalists and/or Chorus. Arrangements of the composed work are often done by this person, too. He may also be involved with the casting of various singers to be assured that they can negotiate the songs as written and arranged for a given production.

Mute Cue
(See Cue.)
Refers generally to Lamps that pass an electric current through a sealed tube containing a specific gas such as Neon. The result is the visible radiation of a specific colour range of Light. (Not to be confused with the similar method of Fluorescence.)

   Different colours can be achieved by coating the tube, by adding elements and/or by using different gasses such as Argon, Carbon Dioxide, Helium, Hydrogen, Krypton, Mercury, and Xenon. Despite their usage, the general term for all such lighting is "Neon".

Neutral Density
A Filter that reduces intensity of a Fixture without changing its Colour Quality. Thus, the Light level is reduced but its Colour remains the same.

An agreement, or the form itself which is signed by all involved with a production who are privy to some piece(s) of information that must not be revealed to the public. Usually associated with magicians, mentalists and escape artists, the agreement is drawn up to keep the secrets of how a trick is done.

   A more theatrical example might be regarding some well-known person that is playing a role in disguise without a program credit, perhaps as a career attention-getter -- the identity to be revealed after the Run is complete. Another could be how an incredible Scene change is being done; keeping the method secret increases the Audience reaction.

The time after each rehearsal when the Director will critique parts of the production in an effort to fix problems, tweak acting points, alter Blocking, etc. Others involved, such as the Stage Manager, Choreographer, Lighting Director, etc. may also offer Notes at this time.
(See also Show Report.)
A group of eight performers.

Off Book
When Actors no longer need to refer to their Scripts, it is said that they are "Off Book".

Off Stage
The space located just outside the Acting Area. This is where the at-hand Crew work during a performance. These personnel might include the Stage Manager, Props Master, Musical Instrument Techs, and others actively involved during a performance. This space is usually curtained off, but may also be left visible to the spectators, such as at a live music concert.

(oll-ih-VETT) An old type of lensless, box Fixture that used a large light bulb central within a soft reflector. It provided general illumination.

On Book
A rehearsal where Actors have Scripts in hand or nearby.

(oh-PAY-kuh) Will not transmit Light or an image.

Open White
A Fixture with no Colour Filter is described as "Open White". One may also see the term "No Colour" used, often abbreviated as `n/c'.

A dramatic or comedic presentation where all dialogue is sung. (See Musical, Pantomime, Play.)

  • 1/  The Musicians that make up the playing ensemble for a production. If no string section is included, the term Band is used.

  • 2/  See Seating Area.

(OPP-tih-net) Short for "Optical Network", it is a method used to distribute audio, lighting, video, control, and other signals around a building. This is done via glass fibre cable instead of copper lines.

Orchestra Pit
The Pit is a space that is sunken below the level of the main Seating Area. It is in front of the Stage or partially under its Apron. Here is where Musicians and a Conductor/Music Director reside during a performance.

   Even if there is no sunken area, and even if the Orchestra performs elsewhere other than in front of the Stage, such an area is often spoken of as "The Pit", and its Musicians as "The Pit Band".

Usually the concern of performers that are dealing directly with live audiences or volunteers. The performer must have a variety of Alternate Directions in which to go in case something does not happen as planned, or in case he/she has forgotten an aspect, or has made an outright mistake.

   An example is a magician whose volunteer has fumbled a card or object in a way that is detrimental to the magician's rehearsed outcome, or who has somehow not chosen the card being Forced upon him. Good performers are ready for such a thing so as to get "Out" of the situation without interrupting the show or suffering the embarrassment of having a trick not work.

   In cases where the situation cannot be rescued, experienced performers will have some verbal joke or other comment that eases the moment or distracts the spectators from the faux pas, and can then quickly move on to the next Routine.

Out Hang
(See Yoke Out.)

Erroneously called a Plug or Socket, it is used to denote an electrical Receptacle into which a Plug goes.

A piece of Music composed from truncated segments of a show's Musical Score. These feature the Main Melodies to be heard throughout that which is to follow.
  • 1/  To adjust a Lighting Fixture in a Horizontal Direction.

  • 2/  To give a bad review to an actor, a performance, or a production.

Pan Bolt
The Bolt on the side of a Safety Clamp that locks the Stud in place after a Fixture is Panned to its desired horizontal position.

(PAN-toe-mime) A Play, or part of one, that is performed without dialogue or singing. The term is often shortened to "Panto".
(See Musical, Opera, Play.)

Used as a noun, it refers to the ticket or tickets sold to Patrons.

   As a verb, it is heard in the phrase "Paper the show," which means to pass out Comps (Complimentary Tickets). These are usually provided for performances early in a show's Run, and are presented to influential persons, such as the media, sponsors, and benefactors as thank-yous, and to generate publicity.

Paper Tech
A technical session without performers where the Director, Stage Manager and others sit down with the Technical Crew to go through the Script, whereby notes are taken regarding required technical procedures throughout a show. The methodology of these requirements is typically discussed, thus allowing the Crews to work out the details ahead of time so as to be ready for a Cue to Cue and/or an initial trial at some subsequent rehearsal.

   In some cases if the meeting is held in the Theatre, Audio and Lighting Cues may tentatively be programmed into the Board or Software as will be used by the Board Operators during performances.
(See Cue Session.)

P&P Mode
"Perfect and Polish Mode". (per-FECT... PAU-lish) After all the lighting is set up, gelled, Patched, and focused, the Lighting Designer and/or Lighting Director, sometimes assisted by the lighting crew, will begin to Perfect each lighting look. This is accomplished through a precise Fine Focus geared toward actors' movements and stances which may have changed as they became more immersed into their characters. This Fine Focus also accommodates changed placements of Set Pieces as the rehearsal schedule nears the point of public presentation.

   The P&P process could also include the addition of Accent Lights, and extra Fixtures hung to correct problem areas. Other issues may be able to be resolved through the relocation, or even just slight movement, of existing Fixtures.

   Elimination and/or reduction of Spill light, along with blocking from view of the Audience any visible Fixtures or accessories, is accomplished by Masking with cloth or Blackfoil. Finally, a general cleanup of cabling will be done for organisational and aesthetic purposes.

   The exact moment of lighting Cue Points and their fade times will be Perfected during this period, as well.

   "Perfect and Polish Mode" is also applied to designers of sets, clothing, audio, etc.

"Parabolic Aluminised Reflector". A type of Lamp that delivers a strong, very narrow Beam from a Parabolic Reflector through a clear "lens" at the front. PAR Lamps typically used for the stage have a Light Pool that is oval shaped because of the linear shape of the Filament. This Lamp is similar in idea to a certain style of automotive headlight. Sizes are PAR 16, 36, 38, 46, 56, and 64.

   To spread the light, instead of a clear lens, spot versions of the PAR Lamp have a Stippled front surface, while flood versions have a series of small rectangular lenses that widen the Beam. Fixtures using these Lamps are sometimes referred to as "PAR Cans" or "PAR Heads".

A humourous imitation of a serious writing that makes fun of the original in a ridiculous manner. A Parody portrays the original's characters, and it follows its sequence of events, but changes it all to nonsense.
(See Satire and Spoof.)

To speak Dialogue that is not exactly as it is written in the Script, but which still has the same meaning.

Participation Play
A drama or comedy, often a murder mystery, where a small Audience is led by the Actors around a home, other building, or series of buildings, or within a large enclosed area that has been divided into rooms or spaces related to the play.

   The story unfolds around the Audience, but also often has them be involved by playing parts and giving suggestions to the Cast. Because of this, it is not unusual that the play takes a different direction for each Performance, and may even have an alternate ending from previous ones.

   Some of these plays include one or more Forces whereby the Audience is manipulated into making choices that have pre-Scripted Dialogue or Actions for the Actors, and/or have one or more Gaffs designed to fool or engage that Audience.

A celebration that performers, crew, designers, production personnel and others attend that is related to their work. Although these come under different names depending on the party's purpose and the branch of the entertainment industry holding it, it is not unusual that the terms below are somewhat interchangeable.

  • 1/  After Party:  A get-together that typically occurs following a formal awards show, preview, or media/release event, although it can take place after regular performances. It usually happens in a reception room, or at a bar, restaurant, or private residence. After Parties may also take place simultaneously at several venues as groups of persons break up to go their own ways.

  • 2/  Cast/Crew Party:  Typically this term is used by live-show personnel to designate a party that occurs after a Run or tour has completed. It is often accompanied by speeches, presentations, gift exchanges, and impromptu performances by individuals or groups.

  • 3/  Wrap Party:  The term used by personnel in the television/video or motion picture arms of the entertainment industry. It too, is often accompanied by speeches, presentations, and gift exchanges.

  • 1/  To make connections to or from an Audio or Lighting Board or its peripheral equipment.

  • 2/  To plug Fixtures into specific Dimmers.

  • 3/  To assign individual Dimmers to specific Faders (Channels) on the Board.

   This term does not usually pertain to the grouping of Faders to Submasters or to Cue Stacks.
(See Program.)

(See Audience.)

Usually associated with stage hypnotists, jugglers, magicians, and mentalists, it is the dialogue spoken while a routine is being performed. Semi-rehearsed, it varies with the situation based upon audience reaction, or the actions or words done/spoken by an audience volunteer. It can change if the volunteer has not acted as expected, or has forgotten something that was to be remembered as set up earlier in the routine. It will also vary if the performer him/her self has made a mistake.

An image that is usually a cut-out from stainless steel, but there are also glass ones available for Fixtures that don't radiate high heat. Glass is usually reserved for more complex images screened onto it. Patterns can include Breakups, Company Logos, Doors, Fire, Foliage, Walls, Windows, and many more themes. Also, available are amorphous Patterns that project shapes that are no recognisable image. A Pattern is often referred to as a Gobo, but rarely by its older terms of "Cucoloris", "Cuke", and "Cookie".

Pattern Holder
A flat steel frame that sandwiches a Pattern for insertion into an Ellipsoidal or other projecting spotlight. Also referred to as a Gobo Holder.

Pattern Projection
This means to project representations of objects or Scenes such as those described above. It is typically done via an Ellipsoidal spotlight that has a Gate (Pattern Slot) to accept a Pattern Holder.

Pattern Slot
(See Gate.)

Pattern Wash
(See Wash.)

Pay What You Want (PWYW)
A performance where each Patron pays whatever he or she wants so as to gain entry. This can be a good indication of a show's worth to the public as to how they feel in their minds regarding the value of a show versus its ticket price.

   In times of an economic downturn, it also can show what the public is able to pay versus what it might want to pay when times are better. Thus it is an indicator of depressed income.

   Also known as "Pay What You Can" (PWYC).

Peak Field
Refers to the Light Pool (usually of an Ellipsoidal) that has a higher intensity somewhere (usually central) within its boundary as compared to the rest of the Pool.

Percentage Deal
Some Artists or Production Companies get paid as a percentage of ticket sales (the Gross). This usually takes the form of a minimum guaranteed amount against that percentage. The Promoter pays the higher amount to the performers or their Production Company.

   An example might be 50% of the Gross versus a guarantee of $10,000. So any Grosses over $20,000 would net the performers more than $10,000, but any under would still see them paid $10,000.

   In some cases, the deal is structured to be that minimum plus a percentage of the Gross. This can also be stated as a percentage above a certain amount of Gross sales -- say 50% of any amount exceeding $30,000. So if ticket sales represent $42,000, the performer(s) would get the agreed $10,000 plus an extra $6,000 ($42,000 - $30,000 X 50%.) These types of contracts allow a Promoter to get the money needed to pay expenses, and then for both Promoter and Performers to share the profit above that amount.

Refers to a position where a Followspot and its operator reside during a show. In truss Lighting Grids, it is not unusual to have one or more suspended chairs seating each operator within a safety harness, and an adjacent Hang Point for each of the Followspots. (Truss Followspots have largely been supplanted by Moving Lights.)
(See also Watch Perch.)

Per Diem
A Daily Allowance given to touring show participants to cover meals, transportation costs, and other incidental expenses.

Performance Area
(See Acting Area.)

  • 1/  In Audio, it refers to the relationship between positive and negative parts of signal waveforms. "In Phase" refers to the coinciding of positive and positive with negative and negative parts, while "Out of Phase" is a condition where positive and negative parts coincide. The latter reduces signal strength, and at speaker levels, severely reduces bass volume.

  • 2/  Regarding Electrical, in Canada there are single-phase and three-phase systems. For entertainment equipment the former has two hot wires, a neutral and a ground. Voltages are 240 volts between hots and 120 volts between hot and neutral. Three phase systems use three hots, a neutral and a ground. Voltages are 208 volts between hots and 120 between hot and neutral.
    (More detail is in Stage Lighting Electrical Power.)

Phoenix Cue
(See Cue.)

(foss-for-ES-sence) The illumination effect generated after exciting a coating that can absorb Light, which then has the ability to reradiate it after the excitation source is removed. The resulting Light that is seen for a limited period of time is usually a narrow band in the green part of the Spectrum.

Photo Call
(See Call.)

Photo Flood
A high-output Lamp used by photographers. It is sometimes used for performance lighting purposes where a soft, bright source is required. However, this usage is rare due to the short-life these lamps exhibit -- some have as low as a 10-hour average life.

Pick Up
  • 1/  To have performers start midway through a segment. "Pick Up the music at the fourth bar." We will Pick Up the dialogue starting on Page 14 of the script."

  • 2/  To advance the performance more rapidly. Usually, this does not mean that actors will speak faster, but that the pauses between one actor's dialogue segment and that of the next actor will be shorter. Thus, the pace quickens, not the speed of the words. "Pick it up in the first act; we need to reduce its time to under 75 minutes." In some cases, time between actions may also be reduced to quicken the pace of the performance.
    See Italian.

  • 3/  To have acoustical or electrical signals detected and amplified. "The overhead mic will not be able to Pick Up that actor's dialogue from that part of the Stage." Sometimes these signals are unwanted. "The audio system is Picking Up taxi radio communications; we will have to switch microphone frequencies."
    (See Crosstalk.)

  • 4/  As an adjective, "Pickup" is used in reference to some backstage personnel. See Pickup Crew, next.

  • 5/  A device attached to a musical instrument that allows its sound to be directly sent into an amplifier or audio Board.

Pickup Crew
Crew members that do not travel with a Show but are hired at each stop along the tour, usually by the Venue or Promoter. Also known as "Casuals".

A short length of Cabling (typically a metre) with a female Electrical Connector. Most often these are seen hanging from a Lighting Grid's electrical raceway instead of mounted connectors. The advantage is that the cable can reach about a metre away from the connection point, thus giving more flexibility with Fixture placement.

Pin Connector
Often referred to as a "Stage Connector", this is a rectangular, electrical male Plug or female connector that lies flat on the floor or ground. It minimises tripping, and removes the possibility of rolling underfoot, as could be caused by a round model. Pin Connectors are less seen today because Twist Lock connectors have replaced them.

  • 1/  A very Narrow Spotlight, using a Sealed Beam Lamp, that is used to define a small object, to illuminate a mirror ball, or as a moonbeam effect with larger units.

  • 2/  An adaptor that is meant to fit a Fresnel or Ellipsoidal. It has a long tube with Shutters and terminates in a lens so as to provide a focused, Narrow beam that can be shaped.

  • 3/  A Narrow lensed Spotlight typically used to precisely illuminate a painting, photo or other artwork in a museum. These "picture Lights" sometimes find their way into performance purposes.

Pipe Clamp
A Hardware fitting designed to attach to most Fixtures, and to then allow those Fixtures to be suspended from a pipe, or other places that will fit within the Clamp's grip range.

   Often called a `C' Clamp, it is more properly called a `G' Clamp because it is shaped as is the letter `G'.
(See Stage Clamp Guide.)

Pipe Fitting
(See Kee Klamp.)

Placeholder Cue
(See Cue.)
The Directive to all participants, on and offstage, to be in the locations required for the Show or a later Act to begin. Sometimes heard as "Doors" for when the House opens.

Plano-Convex Lens
(PLAY-noh CON-vex) A Lens that is Flat on one side and Curved outward on the other. Abbreviated as `PC'.

Platform Stage
Although any raised Stage is considered a `platform', this term usually refers to a one-step-up flat platform, that is often in an open room and with no curtains.

A dramatic or comedic presentation with dialogue, but no large-scale singing and dancing.
(See Musical, Opera, Pantomime.)

  • 1/  A poster or printed announcement advertising a Play.

  • 2/  The Program of a Play.

Wrongly used to denote an electrical Outlet or Receptacle, it is the Male Connector on the line cord of a Fixture or other electrical device. It is also the term for a male connector used in electronics, particularly in audio.

Plus One
For events or Venues where Comps are not supplied, performers will sometimes have a guest list set up for their friends and/or business acquaintances to gain free admission. Each of these persons will often want to bring someone whose name is unknown at the time the guest list is set up, so the name of the friend or business person will be followed by "Plus One", usually abbreviated as `+1'.

(POH-dee-um) A small, low-height Platform from which a Conductor might direct an Orchestra, or upon which a person, such as an athlete, might stand to receive an award. A Lectern is often placed on a Podium to make the former better seen by an Audience.

Polarised Connector
(POH-lar-eyes-d) Seen in two-wire Plugs and Outlets, one blade of the male connector will be less wide than the other. It fits into the equivalent short-height slot of the female connector. The Canadian Electrical Code states that their associated conductors are to have brass or black screws, or points to which the black (hot) wire is to be connected. The tall slots or narrow blades are to be connected using the white (neutral) wire.

   Three-wire female connectors also have different height slots, and their mating male connectors have different-width blades for the hot and neutral connections.

Pop-Up Venue
A space used for a very limited Run of shows that is not a regular performance Venue. Most times it is a warehouse or store front that has been curtained off to form a Black Box theatre, but could be any space that has been temporarily transformed so as to give a show or other presentation.

Post Show
The period after the Performance has ended, but while Patrons are leaving the House. Usually, recorded music is being played and a Lighting look is on the Stage or Front Curtain until all, or most, of the Patrons have left.

Power Lift
A device for raising items or personnel up to the Grid or other heights. For personnel, a box enclosed via railings on four sides is used. The lift can be operated from the electrical line and sometimes from a battery.

This is an everyday item which is used on a Set that has to actually function as it would outside of theatre in its everyday setting. Examples might be a desk light, a faucet, a doorbell switch, or a vacuum cleaner.

A voltage applied by a Dimmer to warm Lamp Filaments so as to give them longer life, and to provide faster response when Bumped to full intensity.

  • 1/  For Audio, the term `Presence' is usually applied to a span of frequencies in the upper midrange. raising the level of that span will bring vocals to be more prominent to an Audience without actually needing to increase the overall volume level.

  • 2/  Applied to lighting, it means to give emphasis to one or more performers, and to a lesser degree, to a particular area or object on the stage. Since the eye is drawn to brighter areas, the usual method is to light that performer more brightly than the surroundings. It can also mean to dim the surroundings so that the performer stands out to the Audience.

  • 3/  Regarding, an actor, it means that person's voice projects without necessarily being loud. It also refers to one's appearance on stage: "She has presence without even saying a word!" That is, she draws attention because of her look or her stance.

  • 1/  Any object, group of objects, or Gaff that must be made ready before an Audience sees it. Examples are a picture that has to fall; an object that must move or Reveal itself when an Actor or Magician moves or opens something; or a Practical table light that must be Preset to `off' before the Dimmer into which it is plugged can be brought to `full' preceding the Scene. The latter is so that an Actor can switch it on by himself, but at the determined time, it will fade to black with the other lighting because it is on a Dimmer.

       Stage crews will keep a "Preset Sheet". It is a list of items and where they must be located along with their orientations. It will have "start states" for any items that perform a movement during the show. The latter might include a picture that will tilt, a glass that must fall when a cupboard is opened, or a magician's box that must have a secret latch in place before it is used in a Routine.
    (See Preset.)

  • 2/  A Lighting look that is set on a Board either via a row of manual Faders, or programmed to a Submaster.

The period after Patrons are let in to the House but before any Opening Remarks, Overture, or the Performance itself. For some Performers, especially Magic or Musical Acts, this time period can be used to present a Preshow Video to entertain and/or inform the waiting Audience. Even for shows that feature an Overture or a Video, recorded music is often played at low volume before either of those begin.

Preshow Look
A Lighting Preset seen while Patrons are entering the Seating Area and waiting for show time. It may be just a light or two on a closed curtain, or if the opening Set is visible, there may be subtle Lighting on various parts of it. Specific Houselight levels may be included in the Look. For a musical group, the onstage equipment might be dramatically backlit, or a band logo or image might be projected on to a backdrop.

   The purpose of this is to give an air of anticipation for the spectators, to have them study the Stage, and to set a mood for the upcoming performance.

   The Preshow Look is usually repeated during the Intermission and Post Show, although some Directors and/or Lighting Designers might choose different Looks for each of those times. These are designated as the "Intermission Look" and "Post Show Look".

Preshow Video
A Video, often in the form of a slideshow, that Audience members watch from their seats while waiting for the show to start. Content ranges from a biography of the performer(s), through previews of upcoming shows (or motion pictures if in a movie theatre), to instructions for an Audience if it is a participatory show.

A performance in front of an Audience that has most, if not all, the elements being considered for inclusion in the entire Run. The principals involved will gauge the reactions of the spectators and decide if changes are to be made before the actual Run begins.

   Previews differ from an Invitational Dress in that Audience members are not made up solely of family and friends of the production personnel, and admission is usually charged.

Primary Colours
Regarding Lighting, the Primary Colours are Red, Green and Blue.
(See Primary and Secondary Colours Discussion.)

Primary Pigments
Regarding Paints, Dyes and Inks, the Primary Pigments are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow.
(See Primary and Secondary Colours Discussion.)

One who Produces the Production. That is, the person who arranges financial backing, locates and books the Venue, hires the Cast and principal designers (Audio, Lighting, Costumes, Set, etc.), hires a Music Composer and books the Musicians, engages a Publicity Person or Agency, and deals with whomever else he or she requires in order to mount a Production.

   This person then oversees and approves what these people do, often in concert with others such as the Director and Writer.

   In the case of a high-level Producer, he or she may hire the people who in turn hire the persons discussed above.

Production Assistant
This person may have a variety of work depending on the type of production. In theatre, he or she supports or is part of the Stage Manager's/i> team, and organises props, corrals actors before a show, arranges Calls, or does errands. In touring, the Road Management team performs similar tasks by overseeing stage equipment, truck loading, and setups, and having errands run to be sure that performers and crew get what is required before show time.

Production Company
A commercial, private, or volunteer group of people that provide or procure the necessary personnel and infrastructure to mount a Production in a Venue, or in a series of Venues if it's to be a Tour.
(See Producer and Promoter.)

Production Desk/Table
A desk or table in the House where the Director, Stage Manager, and other principals sit during rehearsals. Purpose-built ones will have lighting and electrical Outlets installed.

Production Photo
A Photograph taken of a performance (usually during a Dress Rehearsal) that includes things not seen during a public performance. These might include crew visible in the Wings, Fly Space objects, Special Effects equipment, lighting Fixtures, Audio Monitors, Scenery Supports, and so on.

Production Video
As related to Production Photo this is a Video that typically is in the form of a slideshow of photographs taken during rehearsals. It includes production crew and other behind-the-scenes personnel. This video usually runs in a lobby for the entertainment of Patrons while waiting for the doors to open. It also serves to educate the public as to the number of people and the work required to mount the Production they are about to see.

  • 1/  An actor's resume or portfolio is sometimes referred to as a "Profile".

  • 2/  An Ellipsoidal spotlight.

  • 3/  A Piece of scenery or moulding added to the side or top edge of a flat to dress or soften its straight edge, or to alter the edge's Profile line.

One who derives the major portion of his or her income from performing or doing related work.
(See Amateur and Semi-Professional.)

  • 1/  The printed brochure given to an Audience that contains the names of those who produced and directed the production, the designers and their teams, the cast names and characters they play, and the crew. In addition there may be a synopsis of the play, notes and comments from the principals, and a song list if it's a musical. Programs often also contain advertising and/or sponsors' names. Today, programs are often available in digital format.

       Regarding major musical artists or sports teams, the programs are often sold to generate revenue. Besides information regarding the production/event and the advertisements, there will usually be pictures, interviews and a tour schedule.

  • 2/  To group Faders to Submasters or to the Cue Stack on a lighting Board. This can also include setting levels (intensities) and Timed Fades along with any other features of which the Board is capable.
    (See Patch.)
  • 1/  The means of giving volume to one's voice without yelling. This is done so that spectators in the farthest reaches of the Seating Area can make out the Dialogue.

  • 2/  Displaying an Image via Film, Video or Pattern Projection on to a surface or person.

  • 3/  Shining Light on to a surface or person is referred to as "Projecting" a Beam of Light.

An opening Speech done by one or more actors as a way to give spectators a Hint or Preview of what is to follow. Most often, this speech is given by one person as a Monologue.

A person or company that hires an Act or full Production and arranges to have it put on in a Venue, or in a series of Venues if it's to be a Tour.
(See Percentage Deal, Producer and Production Company.)

One or more words given to an Actor who forgets his dialogue. It can be given directly by a Stage Manager during rehearsal or slyly from Side Stage during a performance.

   A Prompt can also be given by another Actor in the guise of asking a question (while remaining In Character) that reminds the forgetful Actor where he is with his lines. When done skilfully, this can happen in front of spectators without them realising one or more Actors have briefly gone Off Script.

Short for "Property". This is any object handled by Actors other than large Set Pieces. (Although in the past, the latter were considered to fall within the realm of properties.) Included are small items used as Set Dressing even if the Actors never touch them. Items carried in an actor's costume are considered "Personal Props". Such items might include a pocket watch, wallet, or a concealed weapon.

   Properties such as eyeglasses, hats, etc. may fall under costuming. Typically, if the hat is worn, it is considered part of a costume, but if a hat is "found" as part of the plot, it will be considered a prop.

Props Master
The person that is in charge of any objects handled by Actors. This person typically inventories such objects before and after every show, and arranges them Off Stage on one or more tables or shelves based on the order they appear in the Script. As Actors enter or leave the Acting Area, the Props Master and/or Props Crew hand these out or retrieve them as the performance progresses. They may also be responsible for the maintenance and repair of these items.

(pro-SEE-nee-um) A box-style Stage having a wall with an opening on the House side. This wall is the "Proscenium" and its opening is called the "Proscenium Arch", even if it is not shaped as such.

   Often shortened to "Pros" (pross).

The main Character in a play. He or she is the one for whom spectators usually root or side with.
(See Antagonist.)

Provisional Prop
The sooner in the rehearsal schedule that an actor can have the Props that he or she will be using, the sooner the actor will become comfortable with his or her character's actions. However, not all Props will be available or be ready to use by the time rehearsals start. Until the actual object is available, a Temporary Property is substituted so as to have the actor become familiar with having it where it will be and what action(s) accompany it.

Pry Bar
A relatively light-weight, flat, steel Tool with the ends angled away from the shank in opposite directions, one often angled more than the other to a point where it can at times approach 90 degrees. This is to allow being struck by a hammer in order that the other end can be forced between boards in order to pry them apart.

   A variety of lengths and diameters are available, from ones suitable for demolition, while others are so dainty as to be able to carefully separate delicate trim from a wall without damage so that it can be reused.
(See Crowbar and Wrecking Bar.)

(PIE-roh) Short for "Pyrotechnics". It is a flame, spark, or smoke effect. The latter is not to be confused with a fog effect -- see Fog Machine.
(See Cue.)

Quad Box
A plastic or metal Electrical Box having four female connectors on top, and on one side a Line Cord with a male connector that provides power to the former. As well, these Boxes often have a pass-through feature comprising a cord and female connector coming out the opposite side. This allows for an interconnected Daisy Chain.

   Quad Boxes are often seen as Power Distribution for an amplifier Backline or for judges' tables where desklights, laptops, clocks/timers, phone/tablet chargers, and other electrical devices are required.

   Also known as a "Floor Box".

Quad Flat
See Flat.

Quartz Halogen
(Kortz HAY-loh-jen or HAL-oh-jen). A combination of Quartz glass and a Halogen element (usually bromine) used in Lamps. This achieves longer Filament life, and maintains full Light output throughout 95% of that life. It also permits smaller Bulb sizes because Quartz Glass can handle higher temperatures so the Bulb can be closer to the Filament. This works better for optical systems because small Bulb sizes interfere less with optimal reflector designs, thus efficiency is improved.

   A Halogen gas such as bromine or iodine is included with an inert gas in the Quartz envelope. Particles that evaporate from the tungsten Filament and deposit on the Bulb wall will combine with the Halogen gas. When this combination comes in contact with the hot Filament, it breaks apart leaving the tungsten on the Filament and freeing the gas to begin the cycle again. Thus, a longer life is achieved.

   In order for this cycle to work, the Bulb wall must be maintained at 250 degrees C or higher. Since Quartz glass can handle temperatures many times in excess of that, this is the chosen material.

Quick Link
Invented right here in Nova Scotia over a century ago, this is a hardware item that consists of a Chain Link which has an Adjustable Sleeve. This sleeve threads back and forth along one side of the link to either expose or cover an opening located there. When open, one can attach the link to a chain or other hardware fitting; then the sleeve is threaded closed to form a complete link. Flats on the sleeve allow a wrench to grip it and thus it can be tightened to complete a secure attachment.
(See Snap Hook.)
Radiant Flux
A Measurement of the total output of electromagnetic radiation of an energy source. This is not usually a factor for those in the entertainment industry because it includes energy outside the visible spectrum such as infrared and ultraviolet.

   However, it becomes a factor where excessive heat or skin irritation must be considered. Even so, few would bother to calculate such energy or even look up the Radiant Flux rating. The usual solution is to provide heat and/or UV filters as necessary to limit such output from lighting Fixtures. (See Luminous Flux.)

Rag Rolling
A painting procedure used to achieve a textured surface. Scrap Cloth is used to either apply or remove paint. For the former, a base coat is allowed to dry, and then a rag is dabbed with a contrasting paint colour and blotted over the surface. A variation is to unevenly wrap the rag around a paint roller to make a more efficient applicator, and to give a different, and repeating, texture.

   The other method is to apply a contrasting paint colour over a dry base coat and then use a rag to blot the still-wet paint. This removes some of the top coat, revealing the base coat underneath to varying degrees.

   Various cloth types and thread counts are used to vary the effect. An alternative to cloth is to use sponges to achieve a similar, but different, effect. In all cases, the result produces a mottled, textured look on a surface.

The slope of a Stage. In older Performance Spaces where the seating was on a level surface below that of the Performers, the Stage floor would slope upward away from the Audience for the purpose of better viewing angles. The slope angle might be given in degrees, but more commonly, it would be spoken of as the "steepness of the Rake."

   Raked stages fell out of favour as more Venues sloped the seating area instead, but also because of the inconvenience of having to have skewed furniture. This meant either to shorten the Upstage legs or add blocks to the Downstage ones so that items could be made to sit on a level. This was known as "Anti-Raking" and was not favoured by Set Designers and Crew.

   Another disadvantage was that any object dropped might tumble all the way to the Downstage and right off the edge! Wheeled items were practically impossible.

Range Connector
A single Phase, 240/120 Volt, grounding connector used to plug in an electric stove. These are sometimes used to power portable Dimmers and as a Connector for portable Power Distribution panels. (Voltages are Canadian.)

Rated Lamp Life
Lamp manufacturers burn a group of a particular Lamp at its rated voltage; when half of them have burnt out, that is the Rated Lamp Life. In reality, the number is typically rounded downward.

   So for ideal working situations, half your lamps will burn out before the rated time, while half will last longer. This should balance out, cost wise.

   Sometimes referred to as the "Service Life" of the Lamp.
(See Date Tag.)

After roles have been Cast and Actors come to their first meeting where they receive their Scripts, the participants attend a Read-Through where the Script is read from beginning to end with each Actor reciting his or her part out loud. This introduces the Play, Musical, or other to them for the first time, unless some have done it before or gotten an advance copy to peruse.

Often wrongly called a Plug or Socket, it is used to denote an electrical Outlet, into which a Plug goes.

Recessed Hardware
(Seen on touring Road and Flightcases and sometimes Set Pieces, these are Catches and Handles that are welded or riveted to dished metal plates. The depth of the plates, coupled with the design of the Hardware, will maintain that Hardware below the level of the plate's perimeter when not in use and in their secured positions.

   Openings are cut into the sides of a case or Set Piece to fit each plate's shape. The plates are secured by nuts, bolts, and washers, or more commonly with cases rivets are used, so as to have them be flush with the surface where they are mounted.

   Having hardware that does not protrude, or pivot outward during packing/unpacking operations makes for easier handling because the cases do not bind against one another's Handles or Catches. This hardware is used on Set Pieces that must be able to be moved, and when sides must butt together with minimal space between.
(See Surface Hardware.)

Primarily an operatic term, it is a passage of dialogue that is sung in the rhythm of everyday speech.

Rehearsal Call
(See Call.)

To install a working Lamp into a Fixture that has experienced a burn out.

Repertory Theatre
An Acting Company that presents several different productions within a given season. This also applies to a Singing or Dancing Company that does the same.

(reh-PREE-se) The repeating of an entire musical passage, or part of it, at some time later in a Show, sometimes with changes. Also mispronounced as "reh-PRY-se".

   Some people pronounce it as "REE-preese" or "REE-pryse" when using it as a verb.

Reserved Seating
  • 1/  Seats that are set aside for Patrons who have paid in advance.

  • 2/  Seats that are set aside for dignitaries, industry people, or other VIP guests. These are not available to the general public, but may become so shortly before show time.

Response Time
The time required for a Lamp to reach full intensity after the control is quickly brought to full. It is affected by Filament design, Dimmer characteristics, and lag introduced by cables. This term also applies to the time delay whenever voltage to the Lamp is altered.

Retainer Ring
A Steel Ring that is used to secure a lens or PAR Lamp in its mount by forming a barrier along the outer edge of that lens or lamp. A gap in the Ring allows it to be compressed by hand to a smaller diameter. It is then released into a channel or under small protrusions where it will be held in place by its own tension.

(See Send.)

(See Turntable.)

Usually refers to the sudden appearance of a person or object that has been on Stage for some time but hidden from the spectators by fabric, by being in shadow, or having been blocked by an object or person. "The Reveal must be accompanied by a lightning effect."
(See Flash and Vanish.)

Information sent by a Touring Show to the Promoter and/or Venue ahead of time. It specifies the requirements of the show so that the Venue can be prepared regarding Dressing Rooms, Audio and Lighting requirements, and anything else needed for the Performers and their Crew.

  • 1/  A set of Stand-Alone Stairs, usually three high, on which singers or contestants might stand. These may be rigid (often made from wood), or may be metal and collapsible. Sets of them are often placed end to end to allow for large groups of Performers. For this type of setup, risers that have curved or angled ends are employed so as to form an arc on the Stage.

  • 2/  Low platforms used to make a Stage where none is, or to provide a raised area on an existing Stage.

  • 3/  The part of the concentric rings of a Fresnel Lens or Step Lens that are parallel to the Beam passing through that Lens.

As built today, this is an Equipment Case used by touring productions that is an aluminum-framed Box made from wood or PVC panelling. All external hardware and fittings are recessed to prevent their damage, and the case is often on Casters.
(See Flightcase.)

Rough Focus
To adjust a Fixture to point in the general direction desired. Some adjustment of Beam size and shape may or may not be included.

   The reason for this is to have an idea whether Fixtures might interfere with scenery or with one another; to see if Beams will be blocked or shine onto undesired objects or areas; and to route line cords and Safety Cables so that they won't be too tight, making later Focuses more difficult.

   A Rough Focus also aids with Patching because the person doing the Patch can see what and/or where a Fixture illuminates, and thus decide where that Fixture will plugged, or to which Fader on the Board it will be assigned.

A piece of round glass or plastic that is typically seen in Borderlights. It can provide colour, diffusion, spread, or combinations of the three.

A specific series of movements, with or without dialogue, as exampled by a magician doing a trick, a dancer performing a set series of steps, or an actor moving a number of Props around in the same way every performance with an end result to form a different, preplanned setup. The skits of comedy teams, or specific sections within, are also known as "Routines".

  • 1/  The length of time it takes a performance to complete: "The Run Time is two hours plus an intermission."

  • 2/  The length of time a series of performances of the same Production is shown to an Audience: "Our show will Run for three weeks of six performances per week."

  • 3/  Refers to parts of a Script: "We will Run Act 2 for this evening's rehearsal." (Sometimes stated as "...Run through...")

  • 4/  Similarly to above, to `Run' a Cue means to Execute that Cue: "Run Audio Cue #25 upon seeing the King enter."

  • 5/  `Run-Through' as a noun, usually means to rehearse the entire show, often with no stops for errors, positioning, or for technical corrections or alterations. Notes are taken where corrections or more rehearsal will be required.

  • 6/  Cables that are strung from one point to another over a distance are considered a "Run" or "Runs" of cable.

(See Accessory Holder.)

Run Sheet
An ordered list of everything that has to happen during the show. This is used by a Stage Crew during a show to keep track of Prop, set changes, and so on.
(See Preset Sheet.)

(See Thrust Stage.)
Safety Cable
A short wire cable with a captive loop and Snap Hook. The loop is attached to the Yoke of a Fixture and the Cable draped around the LX pipe where it is clipped via its Snap Hook to itself or to a solid point near the Fixture.
(See Stage Accessories.)

   Its operation is to arrest the fall of a Fixture at the LX pipe should the bolt holding it be left untightened to the point where it loosens, disengages, and the Fixture separates from its clamp.

   Some older Safety "Cables" actually use a small-gauge chain instead of steel cable. Today's quality Safety Cables use aircraft control cable.

Safety Clamp
A type of Lighting Fixture clamp, usually in the style of a G Clamp, that attaches to a pipe or similar, and that has a captive stud to which the Fixture itself is bolted. The stud has an adjustment bolt that allows the Fixture to be Panned; should it be left untightened, the Fixture can't fall because the stud to which it is bolted cannot leave the Clamp body.
(See Stage Accessories.)

A cloth or plastic bag filled with dry Sand and used as a weight for scenery, or to be placed on an unused Fly cable to keep it taught and thus, out of the way of adjacent cables.

Sash Cord
A type of braided Cordage used in the counterweight system of moveable window sections called "sashes" that are raised and lowered vertically. This setup is designed to ease the effort of opening heavy sashes.

   Stagehands began to use this Cordage because of its flexibility, strength, and the fact that when cut, it does not unravel. This is due to its `closed weave' design.

   First made from white cotton, Theatre Crews would colour it black using ink or felt-tip markers so as to reduce its visibility. Eventually, manufacturers offered it in black for their Theatre customers, and then added another product of similar Cordage but with a synthetic core for even greater strength. Although cotton Sash Cord is still popular because of its softness and flexibility, artificial materials have made inroads due to better abrasion characteristics.
(See Cordage Discussion.)

A play that uses ridicule, and/or irony, and/or sarcasm to expose vice, foolishness, or folly of a person, idea, or situation.
(See Parody and Spoof.)

A Colour Property that determines how deep it is. As an example, a Dark Red filter is more Saturated than a Light Red filter.

  • 1/  A subdivision of an Act. Each may represent a different time and/or location from the previous.

       It includes all that is seen and heard during a specific part of a play. It is not to be confused with the Set itself.

  • 2/  A specific setting of Channels on a lighting Board that will provide a lighting Look on Stage when invoked.

Scene Breakdown
A list of all the Scenes in a production. Details are usually included for each scene to inform the reader of its location, time of day, and what happens.

(sch-TICK) A Trait of, or Action performed by, a character that is displayed frequently enough so as to become particularly associated with only that character. This is usually done for comedic purposes. It could be a certain type of look, a facial expression, a nervous habit or tick, or a physical Routine such as a unique, but convoluted, handshake. A famous example from the past is Sylvia Lennick as `Calpurnia' with her catchphrase of "Julie, don't go" from a Wayne and Shuster comedy skit.

A type of Fixture with a large, nearly half-round reflector that produces a wide, soft light. Once used to illuminate backdrops or Cycloramas, it has fallen out of favour.

The written Music for a show. It includes all parts for all musicians.

A hand tool with a Shank and Driver Bit at its end that is used to turn screws. Although hardly needing to be defined, its most common Bit types should be discussed as people often do not know the proper names:

  • Blade/  This Bit fits the single, straight slot in the head of older screws. The tool is sometimes referred to as a "Slot Driver".

  • Hex/  A Bit that is solid with six faces. It is often referred to by the commercial name of "Allen". The typical term of "Hex Key" is heard when the tool is in a right-angle configuration.

       Straight Hex tools are referred to as "Hex Drivers"; those used for Hex bolt heads or nuts are "Nut Drivers".

  • Phillips/  This Bit has two blades crossed to form an `X'. The sides of the blades are tapered to fit the sloped socket in the head of Phillips screws. The taper of the socket will guide the Bit into place, making for more positive seating.

  • Robertson/  A Bit that is in the form of a square block with tapered sides. The corresponding socket of the screw head is also tapered, but at a greater angle so that the driver Bit will wedge itself into the socket. For properly-specified drivers and screw sockets, the differing taper rates allow one to actually hold the screw with the driver in a Bit-down orientation without the screw disengaging from the driver -- this is excellent for one-handed work.

       Robertson drivers and bits that adhere to the P.L. Robertson Company's specification are numbered and Colour Coded:

    1. #00 -- Orange
    2.  #0 -- Yellow
    3.  #1 -- Green
    4.  #2 -- Red
    5.  #3 -- Black
    6.  #4 -- Blue

  • Torx/  This is similar to a Hex driver, but Its Bit sides are fluted. There are also variations of this Bit that are considered to be "Torx", but these variations are not usually compatible with one another, except under certain circumstances.

A type of Electric Drill designed to drive screws without stripping (rounding off) the bit or screw socket. This is done via a torque limiter that stops the tool when a certain torque is reached; that is, a certain level of difficulty in turning. Usually, the tool will try to turn again after each stop, and so it will produce a chattering noise as it cycles off & on until the trigger is released or the bit is disengaged from the screw socket.

   Many of today's versions are battery operated, and they often have torque selectors so that the operator can select the point at which the tool stops trying to turn the screw. This assures that the bit and socket will not be stripped regardless of material toughness or lack there of.

   Some of these tools also have a "drill" mode that allows the tool to function as a standard electric drill. When this is selected, the torque limiter feature is disengaged. These versions are often referred to as a "Drill/Driver" by the manufacturers.

Sheer Cloth that can be as thin as see-through or be much denser. When thin material is used and lighted from a front angle, it appears solid, but with illumination Focused behind, can appear almost Transparent.

   Often used to have a ghost appear on Stage, or to produce effects using multiple projections. Two Scrims, one in front of the other, with one being mobile can produce variable, 3-dimensional effects with scenery and actors.

   The sheerest Scrim material is sometimes referred to as "Gauze".

A book that contains the Dialogue, Song Lyrics, and Directions for the Actors and Crew.

Script Person
A Person that reads along in the Script during a rehearsal to be sure that Actors speak the dialogue as written. Also, if an Actor calls Line, the Script Person will read aloud some or all of the appropriate dialogue for that actor to help him or her remember what is to be said. Additional duties might include overseeing Blocking and other instructions as shown in the Script, and then voicing necessary guidance or corrections.

   In theatre, this job is typically performed by one of the Stage Manager's team; for television or motion pictures, this person may be known as the "Script Supervisor", or by one of the older terms of "Script Girl" or "Script Boy".

A type of Fixture with a large, nearly half-round reflector that produces a wide, soft light. Once used to illuminate backdrops or Cycloramas, it has fallen out of favour.

A Painting Technique that provides texturing of a surface by adding bits of contrasting colour over a base layer of paint while allowing parts of that base layer to show through. Among its many uses, it can create highlights on a darker background, break up an area so as to take away its plainness or smoothness, and by adding a similar shade of paint, it can adjust the shade of the base layer of colour as seen from a distance.

With regard to ticket sales, there are three types of Seating:

  • 1/  General: Seat numbering is ignored so Patrons choose where they wish to sit upon arrival. Availability of a given seat depends whether someone has arrived earlier and chosen that seat.

  • 2/  Assigned: Seat numbering is enforced so that each patron can choose a particular seat upon ticket purchase. Availability of a given seat depends whether someone has purchased a ticket earlier and has chosen that seat. This is sometimes referred to as "Designated Seating".

  • 3/  Reserved: Seats are set aside for VIPs, media, and special guests. These are unavailable to the general public for a given performance, or for the season should a season ticket holder reserve a particular seat for that entire season. However, most theatres will sell (or donate) these seats if they are not filled by near show time.

Seating Area
There are several types of seating that may be available in venues:

  • 1/  Balcony: An area overhanging the lower levels of seating. Some venues have more than one.

  • 2/  Box: Partially or fully Enclosed areas usually arrayed along the sides, and/or across the rear, of a venue. These are for private viewing and are often bought by sponsors, businesses, or governments for the exclusive usage of their guests or VIPs.

  • 3/  Floor: The same as Orchestra seating in a theatre, arenas use this term for temporary seating set up on the Playing or Exhibition Surface of their venues.

  • 4/  Loge: (LOH-je or Loh-zh) A less common term today as few theatre venues in Atlantic Canada have this type of setup, "Loge" refers to Boxed-In Areas of seats. These are usually located in a raised section of the main floor or Orchestra called a Mezzanine, but can also be located in Balconies. Large sports venues can often have this type of seating.

  • 5/  Mezzanine: A seating area Uphouse of the main floor or Orchestra level that has fewer seats than the main floor. Usually considered to be a raised area within the Orchestra level but farthest from the stage, some call the first overhanging area a "Mezzanine", but an overhanging section should properly be called a Balcony.

  • 6/  Orchestra: This is the main seating area closest to the stage and on the same level as musicians, even if those musicians are in a sunken pit. It normally has the greatest number of seats compared to other individual seating areas.
(See House.)

Secondary Colours
Those distinct colours which result from combining two Primary Colour light sources. These are Cyan, Magenta and Yellow.

Secondary Pigments
Those distinct colours which result from combining two Primary Pigments. They are Red, Green and Blue.

When a Fixture can shine onto an area, object or person and illuminate it as desired, it is said that the Fixture can "See" that area, object or person. That is, its Beam is not blocked by anything.

(SEG-way) A transition between two musical passages, two Scenes, two blocking moves, and so on, where the latter follows immediately and seamlessly after the former. That is, one flows right into the other.

Selection Committee
A group of people that decide upon which Plays, Musicals, or other performances will appear in the coming season at a particular Venue.

Semaphore Changer
(See Colour Changer.)

One who derives a good portion of income from working in the industry, but does derive payment from other types of work. A prime example is an actor who tends bar when not performing or rehearsing.
(See Amateur and Professional.)

An Audio term, this is signal (music, voice, audio effects, etc.) that is Sent to the Stage to the amplifiers and speaker systems. Also known as a "Return" because mic signals are Returned to the Stage.

A group of seven performers.

  • 1/  The physical environment of a production. It includes Painted Drops and Flats, Bridges, Platforms, Stairways, a Bar or Counter, Balconies, Archways, or other structures that are mounted on a Stage.

  • 2/  To position an object, or make ready the sound, lighting and other particulars for a Scene.

  • 3/  A list of songs played by a Band.

Set Designer
The person that chooses how a Set is to look, the materials from which it is built, and the paints used to colour it. In addition, entrances, exits, staircases, balconies, etc. will be incorporated by him or her based on the requirements of the production and as tempered by the Director.

   The mechanisms of moving Set Piecesand the Set Dressing may also fall under the role of the Set Designer.

Set Dresser
(Also "Set Decorator".) One who places objects around a Set to complete it so as to become natural looking. Thus, a Living Room Set might have Magazines, Flower Vases and Ornaments on it; a Kitchen set might have Dishes, Napkins, Towels, Curtains over the Window, etc.

   Set Dressing could also be made to look unnatural by placing objects around that don't fit. An extreme example might be to use a Park Bench, Hanging Bats, and a Printing Press in a kitchen setting.

Set Piece
A Large Object that dresses a Set which is not built in. This might include Furniture, a Wagon, a Piano, a Cannon, a Phonograph, Counter-Top Appliances, a Stand-Alone Mirror, etc. The term is sometimes applied to smaller items that dress a Set.

The location, time, and circumstances in which a Play or given Scene is set.

Set Wire
Steel wire, typically 16 gauge in thickness, that is very flexible, yet will maintain bends and curvatures placed in it. It is used to hang objects, to wire items together, and to underwire paper mache or fabrics into desired shapes. Its black colour and very low cost makes it suitable for the Theatre.
(See Stage Accessories.)

A group of six performers.

Shadow Line
  • 1/  A Boundary past where the shadow of an actor or crew member, as cast by one or more off-stage light fixtures, will be seen by spectators. This Boundary is usually demarcated by tape so that persons will not cross it, except by actors when entering or exiting.

  • 2/  A noticeable Boundary between light and dark that purposely displays high contrast between the two areas. This is usually done to provide a very dramatic look.

Shin Buster
A Fixture that is low on the Stage. It is typically mounted on a Floor Base or low Boom. The name comes from the close proximity to the performers' shins.

Show Caller
(See Call and Stage Manager.)

Show Report
A typed report sent to technical and management staff detailing issues with any part of a production. This is usually done by the Stage Manager after each rehearsal, and the usual method today is via e-mail.
(See also Notes.)

  • 1/  Four or eight flat blades of stainless steel that reside within an Ellipsoidal. Each has an external handle that allows the Shutter to be moved in and out of, and within, the Beam, as well as to be angled to produce shapes or to cut off areas not desired to be lit. Also known as "Framing Shutters".

  • 2/  A series of parallel blades in the manner of venetian blinds that can be adjusted from fully open through to fully closed. This provides a mechanical dimming effect while maintaining the Colour Temperature of a given fixture. This is similar in operation to a Douser.

Any Lighting that comes from positions to either Side of a performer or object.
(See the Lighting Position Diagram.

The amount of horizontal and vertical Acting Area able to be seen from each seat in the House. Poor Sightlines mean that Patrons in some seats will not see all that happens on the Stage. Good ones mean that Patrons can see all the Performance Area and all above it that is being presented to an Audience.

A type of Diffusion Colour Media Filter that both softens the Light and spreads it in one direction more than another. Rotating the Filter alters the spread direction from horizontal through to the vertical.

Site Specific
A Show that is tailored to a location other than a typical Theatre or Performance Space. It could be outdoors in a park, or in a church or a warehouse, or at a shopping mall. In each case, the location is written into the Play, and whatever is in the space is incorporated into the Dialogue and Blocking.

Drape that covers the sides of a portable Stage or Podium that are visible to spectators.

Sleight of Hand
(Slight of Hand) Usually associated with Magicians, it refers to the art of Manipulating Objects such as Cards, Coins, Birds, etc. in a way that can Vanish, Reveal, or Change those Objects in ways that are baffling to spectators.

Slit Curtain
A Curtain with narrow panels that abut or slightly overlap one another. Each panel is supported at its top, but is not connected to adjacent panels. This configuration allows for multiple openings (Slits) through which performers may pass. After an entrance or exit, the panels will close the gap to give the appearance of an unbroken surface.

Snap Cue
(See Cue.)
Snap Hook
A steel or aluminum fitting with a hook on one end that has a spring-loaded closure. In use, this can be opened to secure it to a cable or to the link of a chain; then when released, the spring closes the hook so it cannot come off.

   The other end typically has a rigid or swivel closed loop to which a cable or chain might be attached. Some Snap Hooks dispense with this and simply allow items to be attached within the Hook itself.

   People also refer to this piece of Hardware as a "Snap Link" or a "Spring Hook".
(See Quick Link.)

Sneak Fade
The process of adjusting the intensity of one or more lights slowly enough that spectators do not notice that the light level is changing. It is typically done to correct an error where a light has not been brought up or down when it was supposed to have. It can also be used when light levels require adjustment due to something that has changed compared to rehearsal or previous performances.

A cylinder the same diameter as the initial Light Beam of a Fixture. A Snoot fits into a Fixture's Accessory Holder so as to lessen Spill. Also known as a "Top Hat".
(See Funnel.)

The electrical part of a lighting Fixture into which the Lamp is inserted. (It is not to be confused with an electrical Outlet.)

Soft Light
A Fixture throwing a wide angle, diffused beam. Rarely seen in the theatre, it is most often used in photographic and television studios as a balance to the Key Light and to fill in shadows.

A single performer, or a part of a larger piece played or sung by only one person.

Soft Opening
One or more performances in front of a (usually) paying Audience before the main Run of a show. These are held to gauge Audience reaction toward specific parts and to the show as a whole. After this, the show may be altered to fix weak or broken spots, and to adjust its technical aspects. This is a way to polish a production before major advertising is done to promote the actual Run of the show.
(See Invitational Dress.)

(soh-LIL-oh-kwee) A long speech given by a Solo Actor.

As a verb, this means for an actor to add lustre to his or her performance. That is, to make more of an effort to convince spectators of its sincerity -- especially when it's part of an upbeat show such as a comedy or musical.

   As a noun, it means lighting highlights shone onto a Set or Set Pieces so as to bring them up from a drab appearance.

A Lighting term that refers to a Fixture used for a Specific Purpose. Examples might be to illuminate a particular painting, or an Actor's face as appears in a small opening. For other types of shows, it might be a Spotlight on a dance trophy, a game show prize, or a featured box in a magic show.

   This is also used by some to refer to a single light on an Actor.
(See Key Light.)

Special Effects
`SFX', or `FX', for short.) These are enhancements that are used to punctuate a performance. They might include a strobe light, bubbles, thunder and lightning, fog, or much more elaborate setups such as an Actor skiing down a hill with scenery moving behind and snow falling.

For our purposes, this refers to the Colours of Visible Light. Although thousands of distinct hues are seen, the seven main ones are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. These can be remembered by the name of "Roy G. Biv."
(See Primary and Secondary Colours.)

Spherical Abberation
(SFEAR-ick-al ABB-er-ay-shun) The fuzziness of Image caused by Lens Systems that don't Focus all Light Rays to the same points. This is most noticeable as a smearing of the Image when using Pattern Projection. It shows up as a Glow around each edge within an image, resulting in indistinctness.

To Designate an Actor's spot, or to Mark a movable object's location as to exactly where it is to be placed. Regarding the latter, this is normally done using Spike Tape, but it can (rarely) be done with chalk or a felt-tip marker.

   In use, two strips of tape are placed on a surface, such as a floor or a table top, in an `L' shape so as to define two of the sides of a leg, Caster wheel, corner, or part of the perimeter of other objects. Typically, only two strips per object are employed so as to reduce confusion for the Stage Crew, but also because too much tape becomes too apparent to the Audience. To reduce their noticeability, usually only Upstage corners are Spiked. These tapes strips are referred to as "Spike Marks".

Spike Plot
For very complex productions that have a lot of items to be Spiked, some Stage Managers make a Plot of all the required positions and their tape markings and colours. If this is done in a Rehearsal room, the Plot is used to recreate the marks from that space onto the actual Stage. This Plot is then posted Backstage as a guide for the Stage Crew to follow during performances.

Spike Session
A Period set aside from Rehearsal or Technical Time where Actors' places or moveable objects are marked as to their locations. This is usually done by the Stage Manager and/or Stage Crew, but input from the Director, Lighting Director, Actors and others may be included.

Spike Tape
Narrow adhesive tape in a variety of colours that is used to designate a spot on a Stage where a Set Piece or Prop is to be placed, or a mark where an Actor is to stand.
(See Adhesive Tape Discussion.)

Any Light that shines where it is unwanted.

A play or short work that uses Parody or Satire to make fun of a person, idea, or situation, but in a much lighter manner than either Parody or Satire.

The performance and Crew area on which a production takes place. It may be raised, at floor level, or sunken, and is usually defined by a platform, or by boundaries such as a cordoned area, lines on a floor, or other delimiters.

   In general terms, the Stage encompasses the above plus the Off Stage, Wings, and the Backstage areas. However, for arena or outdoor Stages where the Performance Area is a raised platform, these other areas are often not part of that platform.

Stage Box
(See Theatre Box.)

Stage Business
Small movements or chores used to make a Scene more realistic. These might include dusting the furniture, lighting a cigarette, looking through a magazine, making a drink, or straightening a picture.

   These Actions can also be improvised by onstage Actors if the entrance of another Actor is delayed, or to fill in the gap for an Actor having a momentary lapse of what his line is.

Stage Call
(See Call.)

Stage Centre
The Central area of a Stage. Also referred to as "Centre Stage".

A member of the Crew that handles scenery, loading/unloading duties, and other Grunt chores, but is not usually a member of the Audio or Lighting Crew. The exception is at small Theatres where each Crew person does several jobs.

Stage Left
The area on a Stage referenced to the Performers' Left.

Stage Manager
(`SM' for short.) The person who oversees all that happens on a Stage during a performance, and is responsible to maintain the artistic vision of the principals of the productions such as the Director, Choreographer, and Designers.

   He or she may also be the one that Calls the show, typically via Headset. For large productions, this person heads the Stage Management Team which typically includes an Assistant Stage Manager (ASM), and one or more dedicated crew members.

   In addition, during a rehearsal, a Stage Manager often directs Actors and Crew in absence of the Director. Other duties might include, but are not limited to: Script supervision to be sure Actors recite lines correctly, overseeing how Special Effects are incorporated into the performance, assisting the Director with Blocking, and deciding where and how Set Pieces are to be placed. If available, some of these duties are delegated to an Assistant Stage Manager (ASM).

Stage Right
The area on a Stage referenced to the Performers' Right.

Stage Tape
A general name for the Adhesive Tapes used around a Stage, actual Stage Tape is similar to Duct Tape in that it is cloth-backed and has strong adhesive; however it is usually thicker, has a higher thread-count backing, an even spread of adhesive, and it is more robust. The quality products also leave far less glue residue than Duct Tape.
(See Gaffer Tape and also our Adhesive Tape Discussion.)

Stage Whisper
A Whisper said loudly enough by an actor to be heard by the Audience, but supposedly not heard by other characters on the Stage.

Stagger Through
This refers to the first few attempts to rehearse a complete Run Through of a show. Since it rarely goes well, it is said that the participants "stagger through" their roles. This is a good way to see where the weakest portions happen, and to locate where technical issues need to be resolved.

  • 1/  Each Stop along the way of a tour where a performance is mounted. "We have a three-night Stand in Shelburne next week."

  • 2/  Short for "Standard". This is a vertical Pole supported by a weighted, or tripod, or otherwise stable, base. A microphone, a speaker, or lighting would typically be placed on it.

Star Drop
A black curtain with random small lamps, fibre optic tubes, or LED light sources that have been attached in a random pattern so as to produce a starry sky effect.

(Also "Starting Cast".) The Actors that start a Performance. Referred to as "Beginners" in Britain, they are the first on Stage as, or just after, the curtain opens.

Step Lens
A Plano-Convex Lens that has had the parts of the glass removed which are parallel to Light Rays passing through. So one side retains its Convex shape, while the other exhibits a series of inward Steps from one section of glass to another. The purpose is to reduce the weight of the Lens.

  • 1/  To dimple or make little mounds on a surface. It is typically manufactured into lenses to soften the Light being transmitted.

  • 2/  To make a raised, textured surface via painting or using a compound such as stucco. This procedure creates a surface that appears to be dimpled.

(See Confederate.)

  • 1/  To remove a single piece of equipment or other object when it is unneeded.

  • 2/  To take down a Set and pack up all equipment after a Production has completed its Run. Roughly equivalent to Clear. Also known as "De-Rig" when lighting equipment is involved.

  • 3/  A Hardware Device that has a surface for a Latch to rub against which is the "Strike" or "Striker Plate". It provides a path for the Latch as it slides into the Recess where the former resides until being released. An example is the metal Plate on the jamb for a common door Latch.

       Another type of Hardware Strike provides a Grab Point for the loop or hook of a Catch so as to hold and retain its closed position until released. An example is the metal plate that a loop of a suitcase Catch grabs as it is secured into place.
  • 4/  To power an arc source lighting Fixture.

Narrow, overlapping, Transparent panels of flexible plastic that normally hang together to block open doorways. These easily part as persons or mobile moving equipment pass through, but quickly return to their overlapped state after passage is complete.

   Some even have magnetic closures along the edges of each panel that are easily broken apart, but which quickly reattach when the strips return to their home positions. These work better in windy locations because the magnets keep individual strips from being blown open when persons are not passing through the doorway. These panels also more quickly achieve closure because the magnets are drawn to one another whereby the panels present a solid barrier.

   Stripdoors are used between areas that have large temperature differences such as Loading Docks and Stages. They also reduce the passage of insects into interior spaces.

(See Borderlight.)

A Loose Rehearsal where the actors, dancers and singers first practise their production Off Book. Because few would know their roles completely, there will be many mistakes made, Prop or actions forgotten, and times when something will have to be stopped, then restarted because the cast and/or crew are too far off where they should be. As such, they are said to be "Stumbling" over lines, actions, Blocking, and Cues.

A Fader to which has been switched or programmed a Channel, group of Channels, or an effect.

   The equivalent Fader in an audio system is referred to as a "Submix". It groups microphone or other inputs on to one control for easier balancing of the overall Mix.

The emotions underlying a character's dialogue or actions.

Surface Hardware
Catches and Handles that are mounted to the Surface of cases or Set Pieces.
(See Recessed Hardware.)

Swatch Book
A sample booklet of Gel. It contains an actual piece (Swatch) of each Gel that a manufacturer produces, and is usually accompanied by specifications for that particular colour. Some books will also contain Swatches of reflection, polarising, and neutral density media.

   Other persons use Swatch Books: Costume Designers' books contain fabric swatches; Set Designers' contain printed paint or building materials samples.
(tah-BLOH) A static stance taken by a group of actors as though posing for a photograph.

An electrical cable having a connector or connectors on one end with the other end terminating in bare wire.

See Door.

A term used by magicians when spectators hear the clink of a coin or swish of cards moving past one another when there is supposedly nothing there. It is said that the coins or cards "talk"; that is, their presence is revealed unintentionally by the sound they make.

Talkback Mic
A Microphone on an Audio Board that allows the Board Operator to speak to the House or Stage without yelling. In some cases, a Mic is set up during rehearsals for the Director and/or Stage Manager to have the same capability. (Also referred to as "God Mic", and "Stage/House Announce".)

Tape Set
Lines on the floor (usually of the Rehearsal Space) that designate where Sets, Set Pieces, stairways, and doorways will be on the actual Stage after the Set is built. This is to assist with preliminary Blocking, and it allows Actors to know where entrances/exits will appear and how wide they will be. As the name suggests, these boundaries are designated by using Adhesive Tape, although chalk is also used, and when done in this latter manner, the area is referred to as a "Chalk Set". The process to put the Tape or Lines on the floor is known as Marking Out.

   Some Set Designers will place cardboard cutouts for the above purpose so that actors will have a better visualisation of where Set Pieces and doorways will be when the Set is complete. This can be referred to as a "Card Set".

A short, horizontal Border Curtain that defines the height of the Proscenium opening.

Technical Area
The space in the Front of House from where Audio and Lighting are controlled. It may be up on one or more podiums, or be at floor level. If it's enclosed it is usually referred to as the "Booth" or "Tech Booth".

   In addition, Backstage areas where equipment is set up, or where Tech Work positions are located are referred to by the same phrase. If both exist in the same Venue, they are differentiated by saying "FOH" or "Backstage" before the words "Tech Area".

   Although rare, locations near the stage are sometimes given that mimic stage directions, such as
* Tech Left: The left side of the Technical Area as facing the House.
* Tech Right: The right side of the Technical Area as facing the House.

Technical Director
The person who oversees Audio, Lighting, Video, and anything related to these within a Venue.

Technical Rehearsal
Similar to a Cue to Cue, this type of rehearsal is held so that the Crews can hone their duties which will be required during a performance. Thus, Lighting and Audio Cues are adjusted so that they flow smoothly with the actions of the Performers. In some cases, Cues will be added or removed.

   Stage Crews do the same for Set Pieces that must be moved on or off, or deal with Effects that must happen at a certain time and in a certain way. (See Transitional Rehearsal.)

   These types of rehearsals are usually done without Costumes or Makeup (unless they interact with some technical aspect of a production), and are often paused from time to time while Tech Crews make their adjustments.

  • 1/  This is a plastic or metal Stencil Sheet with cutouts representing various objects that are used in theatre. One for lighting would have cutouts for each type of Fixture and accessory, while the Set Designers' would have cutouts for flats, furniture, stairs, and so on. Templates are rarely seen today because computer design software has supplanted them.

  • 2/  A Pattern or Gobo.

Theatre Box
Also known as a "Stage Box", it is a strong, wooden Crate used as a platform for an Actor, a step-up, a seat, a table, or a pedestal, and in any situation where something or someone needs to be placed just a bit higher. The Box is hollow and typically has a single, or preferably dual, slots in the centre of at least two sides so that Stagehands, or actors themselves, can grip and move/carry it with one hand.

   Likely first known as an "Apple Box" or "Apple Crate", this name comes from the type and size of Crates once used to transport Apples and other fruits before heavy cardboard took over. Early on, actual wooden fruit boxes were painted and used around stages. Today, performance ones are commercially available, or they are built by the theatres themselves.

   Some of these Boxes are enclosed on all sides, while others have one face (usually the largest) left open, not only as a weight saving measure, but so the Box can be used as a container. A series of Boxes, each constructed with one open side and in increasingly smaller sizes, can be nested for space savings when being stored or transported.

   Dimensions vary widely, but typical formats for the non-nesting models have sides being in the ratio of 1-2-3. Examples might be 20cm x 40cm x 60cm, or 30cm x 60cm x 90cm. Each dimension is distinct so that the Box may be placed in one of three differing height positions. Also, the size ratio means combinations of Boxes placed touching one another can form completely regular shapes because the dimensions are multiples or sub-multiples of one another.

   Another size variation is where all dimensions are equal. These are often referred to as "Stage Cubes" or just as "Cubes".

   Improv Theatre often makes use of multiple Boxes to represent Sets, furniture, partitions, and objects. Groups of these can easily be reconfigured as the story unfolds.

A Cable with one Male Connector wired in parallel to three Female Connectors. The term comes from "three for one".

Three-Point Lighting
A basic Lighting Technique that uses two front lights, one each at 45-degrees right and left and 45-degrees up, plus a single backlight directly behind and 45-degrees up.

Throw Distance
In practical usage, it is a measurement of the length of an imaginary line drawn from the center front of a Fixture to the center of the Light Pool as projected onto a given surface.

   For absolute purposes, this measurement is taken from the external focal point of a Fixture's lens system. For Fixtures without lenses, Throw Distance is measured from the reflector's external focal point, or from the Fixture's face if the reflector design does not Focus the Light rays to a point.

Thrust Stage
A Stage that Sticks Out into an auditorium or other performance area. spectators sometimes sit on three sides. Some Thrust Stages are motorised and retract under a larger, slightly higher Stage when not being used.

   An alternate version is a "Runway" which is a long, narrow Stage that goes well into a Seating Area. It is typically used in fashion/modelling shows, where it is also called a "Catwalk". Some sole-entertainer shows use one of these Stages to bring the performer closer to his or her fans.

Thunder Sheet
A large piece of Sheet Metal used to simulate thunder. Another method is to roll bowling balls down wooden channels (Thunder Run). Both are now supplanted by Audio recordings.

To adjust a Lighting Fixture in a Vertical Direction.

Timed Cue
(See Cue.)
Timed Fade
For a Lighting Board that is capable, one can set the number of seconds desired for the Board to change the Light level(s) of a particular Channel or group of Channels. This is most often seen with Crossfades from one look to another. When the Go Button is pressed, the Board will automatically alter those levels in the prescribed time.

   Some Audio Software is capable of executing Timed Fades.

(See Cue.)

A lighter shade of a colour; one that is not highly Saturated.

Fixtures that are placed at the near sides of the Acting Area to provide strong side Light.

Tongue & Groove Edging
Two strips, usually aluminum, that run along the mating boundaries of a Roadcase, one on each edge. One will have a channel, the "Groove", while the other has a ridge, the "Tongue". Their purpose is to facilitate the alignment of a lid with the bottom part of its case, and to provide a tighter seal.

Top Hat
(See Snoot.)
Illumination from a Fixture that is pointed straight down.

A Fixture mounted on a Tormentor Pipe which is just behind and to each side of the Proscenium Arch. It is typically used to provide facial illumination to actors in the Downstage area so as to soften shadows made by Borderlights and/or high-angle illumination from FOH positions.

   These lights are said to "torment" actors because of their close proximity and often low angle, but in reality, are named because they are positioned right next to the same-named Maskings used to keep spectators from seeing into the Wings.

Tormentor Pipe
A Lighting Pipe mounted just Off Stage, usually vertically, one in each Downstage corner behind the Proscenium Arch.

A recorded, individual Audio Sound, Music File, or Applause/Laugh.

A change of a Scene, Set, or person that takes place in front of the spectators without them being fully aware of what and how it has happened. An example might be a ghost that takes the place of a person as though one crossfaded into the other, or a Set that went from day to night but with changes that no visible person affected.

   Such effects are often accomplished with Scrims and exceptional lighting environments, or through certain painting techniques and complementary lighting.

Transitional Rehearsal
A loose Cue to Cue that is used to rehearse Cue Points in a show where certain changes take place. This term typically is used when referring to the rehearsing of stage crew actions such as curtain openings and closings, set changes, the operation of special effects, and so on. Also, which crew member(s) will perform the actions, and in what order they will happen, are included here

(trans-LOO-sent) A material that transmits Light but breaks up its rays so that an image seen through it is not well defined, if at all. Various degrees of Translucency are used to soften Light or an image.

(trans-PAIR-ent) A material that transmits Light and an un-softened image. (See Translucent, above.)

Transition Line
A stage or area must often be lighted with multiple fixtures so as to have a full and even coverage. Under circumstances where Blending light from some or all fixtures cannot be done smoothly, a noticeable Line will appear as actors walk through the coverage limit of one fixture into the coverage of another. The effect is one of a gradual reduction in intensity followed by a sudden brightness, or a gradual rise in intensity followed by a sudden drop.

   This usually happens when a front wash must be bolstered by additional fixtures behind the Proscenium in order to bring up the light levels farther upstage. The idea is to have both up- and down-stage look the same. If the ceiling is low, and/or hang points are limited, seamless blending becomes much harder.

A curtain hung on a series of wheeled hooks that are on a track, sometimes with a rope and pulley system, so that the curtain can be drawn open or closed.

Triangle Flat
(See Flat.)

A group of three performers.

  • 1/  A piece of music played by three performers. The word of this meaning is usually pronounced as "trip-LET".

  • 2/  Three equal notes played in the time of two notes of the same value. In this case, the word is pronounced as "TRIP-let".

(TEE arr ess) Tip-Ring-Sleeve. These are the contacts on a type of stereo audio connector usually seen used for a headphone connection.

A large, flat, wheeled platform used to support Scenery panels, large Set Pieces, musical equipment, etc. These are usually designed with locking Casters, or to be able to extend jacks to the floor that lift the Truck off its casters for more stability. Trucks are used when items must be quickly moved around, or on and off, a Stage. Sometimes the UK term "Wagon" is used instead of "Truck".

The time between two or more performances, or between two or more different shows, happening on the same day. It must be sufficient to Strike one show and then set up a second show, or to reset the same show to be ready for a new Audience.

A Circular Platform, often flush with the Stage floor, that rotates by electric motor. It is typically used to rotate scenery in and out of view, or for musical shows such as a Battle of the Bands, it allows one setup to be viewed by spectators while another is assembled on the Upstage side of the Turntable behind a separating wall. This reduces the delay between acts.

   In the case of an above-Stage unit, this is simply a round platform on wheels. Or, Casters are bolted to the floor and the platform placed on top with a central pivot to keep it aligned. It is normally turned by the Stage Crew and is known as a "Revolve".

Tweak Focus
A Focus done after opening night, or even from time to time during a Run. It is done to compensate for slight changes in Blocking as Actors grow into their Characters, but can also be needed to adjust for Fixtures that have slipped out of Focus on their own or because they were jostled by Crew Members or Actors. The latter can happen where Fixtures are at or near floor level.

A round Electrical Connector that becomes captive to its mate by being Twisted clockwise.

A Cable with one Male Connector wired in parallel to two Female Connectors. The term comes from "two for one".
An Electrical Connector with parallel blades for current carrying, and a Ground pin in the shape of a `U'. Ratings are 15 or 20 Amps.

Typically referred to as Blacklight because most of the radiation is not seen, it is a purple/invisible Light emitted in the Ultraviolet (UV) Spectrum. It causes materials, or objects with suitable coatings to glow in the visible Light range.
(See Ultraviolet Discussion.)

   Entertainment Fixtures of this type radiate in long-wave UV, so are safe to use without eye and skin protection.

Under Light
To direct Light upward from below, or to place lighting that will shine downward underneath something such as an overhang. The latter is usually hidden from the spectators' views. Also known as "Up Light".

Under Lit
An area with a not high enough Light level.

A performer Cast as a minor character who also learns the part of a lead Actor so as to be able to replace that lead in the event of illness or accident. Sometimes referred to as an "Alternate" or a "Standby", although the latter is actually defined as someone that does not have another part in the show.

Up Hang
(See Yoke Up.)

The section of the Seating Area away from the Stage; that is, toward the back of the Theatre or in the balcony.
(See the Venue Layout.)

Uphouse Centre
The Central area toward the Back of the House as referenced from the spectators' point of view.
(See the Venue Layout.)

Uphouse Left
The area toward the Left Back Corner of the Seating Area as referenced from the spectator's point of view.
(See the Venue Layout.)

Uphouse Right
The area toward the Right Back Corner of the Seating Area as referenced from the spectator's point of view.
(See the Venue Layout.)

  • 1/  The area toward the Back of the Stage.
    (See the Venue Layout.)

  • 2/  An actor that moves Upstage of another causing the latter to show his back to the Audience is said to be "Upstaging".

       The term is also used when one performer distracts from another by drawing inappropriate attention to himself, or by standing in the other performer's Light, or by actually blocking the spectators' view of another performer during the latter's important moment.

Upstage Centre
The area toward the Middle Back of the Stage.
(See the Venue Layout.)

Upstage Left
The area toward the Left Back Corner of the Stage as referenced from the Actor's point of view.
(See the Venue Layout.)

Upstage Right
The area toward the Right Back Corner of the Stage as referenced from the Actor's point of view.
(See the Venue Layout.)
To Repeat a Musical Phrase until a singer is ready to come in with his or her vocal part. It's also used to cover a technical or other delay. Once everyone is ready, the musical piece continues onward from the end of the repeated part so as to provide a smooth transition.

Usually refers to the sudden disappearance of a person or object that has been on Stage for some time. "The Vanish must be accompanied by spooky music."
(See Attention Puller, Misdirection and Reveal.)

A commercial name for a two-part Fabric Material consisting of flexible hooks on one part and flexible loops on the other. Pressing them together allows the hooks to interlock with the loops, and thus hold one to the other. Pulling hard enough separates the hooks from the loops. In usage, one part is sewn or glued to an item that needs to temporarily adhere to another. The latter will have the opposite part attached to it.

   Examples might be curtain edges that need to be made light tight but be separable, a costume that must be able to be removed very quickly, or a pocket that needs closure security by a method other than via a zipper or a button.

Any Building or Space in which a Performance takes place. It includes, but is not limited to, Auditoriums, Amphitheatres, Arenas, Gymnasiums, Living Rooms, Shopping Malls, Theatres, and Outdoor Open Spaces.

Venue Manager
One who oversees all aspects of the building in which the Performance Space exists. Also known as "Facilities Manager".

   In the case where a Theatre is part of a very large complex that also houses non-Performance spaces, the Venue Manager would only oversee that which is associated with the Theatre.

Verbal Rehearsal
Before an impromptu performance, particularly one without a Script, the participants might verbally discuss the order of events and the Cues that these might include. Even with more formal productions, performers and crew may discuss what is expected to happen just before show time, especially if there has been a last-minute change. This type of Rehearsal is typically not planned much before it actually takes place.

   A Verbal Rehearsal also refers to actors sitting or standing to recite their lines, but without Blocking, and little to no movement being performed. The idea is to rehearse the dialogue, not the actions they will do when on stage for a full rehearsal or performance.

Visual Cue
(See Cue.)
A Loose Rehearsal where the actors, dancers and singers only Walk Through their Scenes on the completed, or where it is allowed, on a mostly completed Set. This is to have them become used to the finished Set, but also to look for issues with Blocking. A Stage Crew also might Walk Through a complicated Scene change to rehearse the movements required.

Wall Pocket
(See Floor Pocket.)

Wardrobe Master
(See Costume Master.)

A series of vocal and physical exercises used to loosen up Performers before a Rehearsal or Performance starts. Some of these involve little games, reciting tongue twisters, stretching, holding difficult stances, and so on.

   Because these typically include the shaking of limbs, Warmups are sometimes referred to as a "Shake Out" or "Shakedown", but these last two terms really refer to only the shaking activities.

To Illuminate a Stage, Set, curtain, etc. so that most, if not all areas are covered in an even, shadow-free Light.

   Fixtures used to do the above are known as "Wash Lights".

   An alternative is a Pattern Wash where any of the above items are Washed in projected Patterns such as breakups.

A room for the Performers and/or Crew that provides washing and toilet facilities. Separate ones are available for Patrons and may be called "Rest Rooms".

   As no bathing or shower facilities are included, a Washroom should not be called a Bathroom.

Watch Perch
A Platform above the stage, but not seen by an Audience, from which Crew Members may monitor a performance to assure things are going as they should. In most cases, one or more of them will have Headset communication with other Crew and/or with directing personnel.
(See also Perch.)

Weight Cradle
A metal frame that holds weights for the purpose of counter-balancing in a Fly System. A weight is typically flat and rectangular, and has a cutout in each short side to fit around a rod that runs vertically up each side of the cradle's interior. This allows the stacking of weights while maintaining regular stacking within the cradle.

A Depression built into a Stage below its main floor level that allows actors to step down closer to, or to be at, the level of an Audience. This might have one side open to that Audience if the Well is right at the front of the Stage, or in the case of steep or tiered seating, be enclosed on all sides so spectators look down into the Well.

Windup Tower
A Telescopic Tower raised via internal cabling and controlled by an attached hand winch. It is used in portable setups to place Light Fixtures at a height suitable for lighting a Stage. Also known as a "Crank-Up Tower".

The side areas just Off Stage of the Acting Area.

Wrap Party
(See Party.)
Wrecking Bar
A heavy, steel Tool with one end curved into a hook usually terminating in a claw, and the other end straight or slightly angled and ending in another claw or a pry blade. The shank in between usually has four or six facets. Wrecking Bars come in a variety of lengths from half a metre or shorter, up to one metre or longer.

   This Tool is used by stage crews during the dismantling or outright demolition of a set. It can remove nails, and is able to pry apart boards or other close-fitting parts of a stage or set. It is often mis-termed as a Crowbar.
(See Pry Bar.)
(EX el arr) A three-pin microphone or power supply Connector, or a five-pin lighting and Special Effects equipment Connector for digital systems. Also used to designate Cables having XLR Connectors.

XLR Terminator
(See DMX Terminator.)

(See Borderlight.)
The rectangular or U-shaped, three-sided frame that supports a Lighting Fixture and allows it to be hung or mounted, and to be Panned and Tilted. Known as a "Trunnion Arm" in the U.K.)

Yoke Out
To hang a Fixture with its Yoke in a horizontal, or nearly so, position. It is done to gain sideways distance, or to clear objects that would otherwise impede the ability to accurately position the Fixture. Also referred to as to "Out Hang".

Yoke Up
To hang a Fixture with its Yoke in a vertical, or nearly so, position, but above its mounting pipe. It is done to gain vertical distance, or to clear objects that would otherwise impede the ability to accurately position the Fixture. Also referred to as to "Up Hang".
Zombie Cue
(See Cue.)

An area of the Stage defined for Lighting purposes. It usually coincides with an Acting Area.
(See Acting Area).

Zoom Lens
A Lens System that provides Variable Focal Length allowing for a continuous resizing of its Light Pool within the range of the Zoom System. These Lenses are seen in some Ellipsoidals, Followspots and Intelligent Lighting.



Common Short Forms Used in the
Atlantic Canadian Performance Industry,
and with Some Foreign Ones Included

Most of the terms here are defined
in this page's Definitions section.

  • AC:  All Cast
  • AC:  Alternating Current
  • AD:  Artistic Director
  • AD:  Assistant Director
  • ADir:  Assistant Director
  • AD:  Audio Designer
  • Apr:  Apron
  • AQ:  Audio Cue
  • ARD:  Artistic Director
  • ASD:  Assistant Director
  • ASM:  Assistant Stage Manager
  • AR:  Aspect Ratio
  • AUD:  Audio
  • BA:  Beam Angle
  • Bal:  Balcony
  • BB:  Bell Board (or Box)
  • BD:  Barndoors
  • BL:  Backlight
  • BO:  Blackout
  • BM:  Blind Mode
  • BO:  Board Operator
  • BO:  Box Office
  • BS:  Back Stage
  • BXO:  Box Office
  • C&C:  Cast and Crew
  • Can:  Canada / Canadian
  • C5:  Category Five Cable
  • C6:  Category Six Cable
  • Cat5:  Category Five Cable
  • Cat6:  Category Six Cable
  • CB:  Callback
  • CCP:  Cast/Crew Party
  • CCW:  Counter Clockwise
  • CD:  Costume Designer
  • Cdn:  Canadian
  • CL:  Centre Left
  • COB:  Chip On Board
  • CR:  Centre Right
  • CS:  Centre Stage
  • CW:  Clockwise
  • DBO:  Dead Blackout
  • DC:  Direct Current
  • D-Chain:  Daisy Chain
  • DF:  Down Floor
  • DFC:  Down Floor Center
  • DFL:  Down Floor Left
  • DFR:  Down Floor Right
  • DH:  Downhouse
  • DHC:  Downhouse Centre
  • DHL:  Downhouse Left
  • DHR:  Downhouse Right
  • Dir:  Director
  • DMX:  Digital Multiplex
  • DP:  Dress Parade
  • DS:  Downstage
  • DC / DSC:  Downstage Centre
  • DL / DSL:  Downstage Left
  • DR / DSR:  Downstage Right
  • Ent:  Enter / Entrance
  • EP:  Effects Projector
  • ERS:  Ellipsoidal Reflector Spotlight
  • EX:  Exit
  • FA:  Field Angle
  • F&F:  Family and Friends
  • FB:  Floor Base
  • FC:  Floor Center
  • FF:  Flat Field
  • F-Gel:  Franken-Gel
  • FL:  Floor Left
  • FL:  Focal Length
  • FOH:  Front of House
  • FR:  Floor Right
  • FtB:  Fade to Black
  • FX:  Effects
  • Gaff:  Gaffer / Gaffer Tape
  • GF:  Gel Frame
  • GM:  God Mic
  • GS1:  Good One Side
  • HC:  House Centre
  • HL:  House Left
  • HM:  House Manager
  • HP:  Hang Point
  • HR:  House Right
  • IDR:  Invitational Dress Rehearsal
  • IFCB:  Intensity, Focus, Colour, Beam
  • ILCQ:  Intensity, Location, Colour, Quality
  • IL:  Intelligent Lighting
  • IR:  Infrared
  • ItR:  In the Round
  • JD  Juliet Door
  • JP  Jukebox Production
  • k:  kilo
  • K:  Kelvins
  • kg:  kilogram
  • klicks:  kilometres
  • klicks:  kilometres per hour
  • km/h:  kilometres per hour
  • Lav:  Lavaliere Microphone
  • LD:  Lighting Designer
    and/or Director
  • LED:  Light Emitting Diode
  • LpW:  Lumens per Watt
  • LX:  Lighting Cue,
    or Lighting Related
  • MC:  Master of Ceremonies
  • MD:  Music Director
  • Mezz:  Mezzanine
  • n/c:  No Colour
  • ND:  Neutral Density
  • NT:  Enter
  • OfB:  Off Book
  • OnB:  On Book
  • OP:  Orchestra Pit
  • Or:  Orchestra
  • Orch:  Orchestra
  • OS:  Off Stage
  • OSL:  Off Stage Left
  • OSR:  Off Stage Right
  • OW:  Open White
  • OVT:  Overture
  • PA:  Personal Assistant
  • PA:  Production Assistant
  • PA:  Public Address System
  • P&P:  Perfect and Polish Mode
  • PAR  Parabolic Aluminised Reflector
  • PC:  Plano-Convex
  • PF:  Peak Field
  • PM:  Props Master
  • PR:  Prop
  • Pro:  Professional
  • Prod:  Producer
  • Pros:  Proscenium
  • PU:  Pick Up
  • PWYC: Pay What You Can
  • PWYW: Pay What You Want
  • Q:  Cue
  • Q2Q:  Cue to Cue
  • RLL:  Rated Lamp Life
  • SB:  Stage Business
  • SC:  Safety Cable
  • SC:  Selection Committee
  • SC:  Stage Center
  • SemiPro:  Semi-Professional
  • SFX:  Special Effects
  • SitRep:  Situation Report
  • SL:  Stage Left
  • SM:  Stage Manager
  • SM:  Submaster
  • SoH:  Sleight of Hand
  • SQ:  Sound Cue
  • SR:  Stage Right
  • SWL:  Safe Working Load
  • T&G:  Tongue & Groove
  • TBM:  Talkback Mic
  • TBA:  To Be Announced
  • TBC:  To Be Confirmed
  • TBD:  To Be Determined
  • TD:  Technical Director
  • 3-fer:  Threefer
  • 3PL:  Three-Point Lighting
  • TL:  Turn Left
  • TL:  Twist Lock
  • TR:  Technical Right
  • TR:  Turn Right
  • TRS:  Tip-Ring-Sleeve
  • 2-fer:  Twofer
  • UF:  Up Floor
  • UFC:  Up Floor Center
  • UFL:  Up Floor Left
  • UFR:  Up Floor Right
  • UGC:  U-Ground Connector
  • UH:  Uphouse
  • UHC:  Uphouse Centre
  • UHL:  Uphouse Left
  • UHR:  Uphouse Right
  • UK:  United Kingdom
  • US:  Upstage
  • U.S.:  United States
  • USC:  Upstage Centre
  • USL:  Upstage Left
  • USR:  Upstage Right
  • UV:  Ultraviolet
  • Vis:  Visual Cue
  • VM:  Venue Manager
  • VQ:  Visual Cue
  • VR:  Verbal Rehearsal
  • WC:  Water Closet (Toilet Stall)
  • WC:  Weight Cradle
  • WP:  Wall Pocket
  • WP:  Watch Perch
  • WM:  Wardrobe Master
  • WP:  Wrap Party
  • WR:  Washroom
  • WT:  Walk Through
  • WU:  Warm Up
  • X:  Cross
  • XFade:  Crossfade
  • XT:  Exit
  • YO:  Yoke Out
  • YU:  Yoke Up
  • ZE:  Zoom Ellipsoidal
  • ZL:  Zoom Lens

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