- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. It is used in portable
setups to place Light Fixtures at a height suitable for lighting
- (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 Management
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.
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.
- The Character that opposes the main character in a play.
- (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
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
- 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.)
- 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
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
(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.
- Bathing and/or Showering facilities provided for Performers and Crew,
it often has toilets, as well.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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!"
- 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/ To construct the Set or a Prop.
- 2/ To increase the Intensity and/or Volume of
- 3/ To put together a sequence of Cues.
- 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
- 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
- 2/ It also refers to a notification of Time. Some
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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 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:
- Rolling Lock: This stops a Caster from moving
along the floor.
- Swivel Lock: This stops a Caster from rotating.
- Combination Lock: Both rolling and swivelling are
- 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
- 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
- Cat 5
- Category 5. Cabling used for digital purposes comes in category ratings.
The most common in the performing industry is Cat 5.
- 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
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 runs Upstage and Downstage, the other
runs Stage Left and 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".
- 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
- 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
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
- 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.
- COB LED
- (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",
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
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
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
- 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
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
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
- 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
- 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 has 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 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
instructional elsewhere at this website.
- Cue Point The exact instance that a Cue is to
- 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 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".
- 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
- Phoenix Cue See "Zombie Cue" later in this
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.)
Also known as "Dimmer List" or "Dimmer Patch".
- 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
- 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
- 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
- (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
`DMX' stands for "Digital Multiplex", while the `512' refers to 512 bits
- 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 Cat 5 cable is not being used, and when any Runs are
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
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.
- 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.
(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.
(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
- 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".
- 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
(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 preceeding. 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
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Flash Pot
- A Mortar that contains a socket for a pyrotechnic cartridge, or
electrical connections and a flame-proof pad for holding Flash Powder
- 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.
- See Seating Area.
- 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 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.
- 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
- 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
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
(See Fixture Calculations.)
- 1/ The Smallest Point where a lens or reflector
concentrates all Light rays. Also referred to as the
- 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
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
Often erroneously called a "Smoke Machine", although no actual smoke
is produced. Fog is not to be confused with such smoke effects -- see
- (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
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
- 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
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
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
- Front Light
- Any Lighting that comes from positions Ahead of a performer or
(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.
- 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.
- 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
(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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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
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 charged. 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
outout of visable 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
- 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, 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
is being done; keeping the method secret increases the Audience
- 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
- 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.
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 seeing 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
- 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
- (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.)
- Usad as a noun, it refers to the ticket or tickets sold to
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
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
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,
- "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
- 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 Audience.)
- 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 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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 the Stage Management team
by organising props, corralling actors before a show, arranging Calls,
or doing 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
- 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
(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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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
- (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
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
(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
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
- 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
Another disadvantage was that any object dropped might tumble all the way
to the Downstage and right off the edge! Wheeled items were
- 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
- 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
Some people pronounce it as "REE-preese" or "REE-pryse" when using it as
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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
- 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
- 4/ Similarly to above, to `Run' a Cue means
to Execute that Cue: "Run Audio Cue #25 upon seeing the King enter."
- 5/ Cables that are strung from one point to
another over a distance are considered a "Run" or "Runs" of
- (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
- 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:
- #00 -- Orange
- #0 -- Yellow
- #1 -- Green
- #2 -- Red
- #3 -- Black
- #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
- 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
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
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
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
In theatre, this person is typically one of the Stage Management Team; for
television or motion pictures, this person may be known as the "Script
Supervisor", or "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.
- 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
- 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
(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
- 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
- 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
(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".
- The electrical part of a lighting Fixture into which the
Lamp is inserted. (It is not to be confused with an electrical
- 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
- Soft Opening
- One or more performances in front of a 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.
- (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 on 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 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
- 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
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 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
- 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
- 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
- 1/ To dimple or make little mounds on a surface. It
is typically manufactured into lenses to soften the Light
- 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
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
- 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 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 the "God Mic".)
- Tape Set
- Lines on the floor (usually of the Rehearsal Space) that designate
where Sets and Set Pieces 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 as such, the area
is referred to as a "Chalk Set". The process to put the Lines on the floor
is known as Marking Out.
- 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 are sometimes given that mimic stage
directions, such as
* Tech Left: The left side of the Technical Area as facing the stage.
* Tech Right: The right side of the Technical Area as facing the stage.
- 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
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
- 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.
Also known as an "Apple Box" or "Apple Crate", the 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
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
- 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
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
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
- 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
- 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 mwmber(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
- (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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
(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.