acting area: in lighting; an area of the stage where actors play a moment or scene, and which requires illumination.
acting notes: refinements and corrections given to actors during the rehearsal or performance process. These notes usually come from the director or stage manager.
additive color mixing: in lighting; the combination of several filtered lights on one area. Lighting color mixes toward white light.
amplifier: in sound; a devise that boosts a sound signal to a level strong enough to push a speaker.
arena theatre: a theatre space wherein the audience surrounds the playing area.
apron: the flat extension of the stage that projects from the proscenium toward the audience.
audition: a try-out session in which actors are seen by a director for potential selection to play a role in the show.
balanced cable: for audio; a cable that has three wires to help reduce noise in the signal chain.
barn door: In lighting; an accessory equipped with adjustable flaps to block the source.
batten: pipes suspended above a stage used for supporting scenery, drapery, and lighting.
beam angle: in lighting; the portion of the beam of light that is at least 50% as bright as the center of the beam.
binder: in paint; the glue in the mixture that affixes the pigment to the painted surface.
black box theatre: a theatre space wherein the audience and performance are in one room. These theatres are usually equipped with movable seating to allow for various configurations.
blackout: in lighting; a cue that fades all lights out.
blackout drape: a full-stage, black drape.
blackout traveler: a full-stage, black drape that can open and close horizontally.
blocking: the planned movement of actors around the playing area.
border light: a multi-cell fixture primarily used to light drops. Aka strip light.
breakaway: any prop that has been designed to break apart without injuring the performer.
build schedule: a chart of each piece required for a production with reference to when each stage of construction must be completed.
bump-up: in lighting; a cue that quickly raises the lighting level.
bump-out: in lighting; a cue that quickly goes to a blackout.
butt joint: a simple wood joint in which two pieces are cut square and abutted together.
carriage bolt: a bolt whose upper face has a rounded surface with the underside shaped as a tapered square collar. Used to join wood without leaving a protruding head.
cast: the group of actors playing all the parts in a play.
circuit: in lighting; a numbered cable associated with a diming system.
color: in lighting; one of the four controllable qualities of light, achieved through use of color filters, aka gels.
color rendering: a colored sketch or painting of design elements or costumes.
community theatre: a noncommercial, local group made by and intended for their community.
company: a group including all the members of a theatrical organization or production.
complementary colors: colors opposite from one another on a color wheel.
connector: the style of electrical plug on a piece of equipment.
contact sheet: a document with contact information listed for the entire cast and crew of a production.
control booth: an area or room dedicated to the equipment used to control theatrical equipment for presentation.
consumable: anything that is intentionally used up or destroyed during a production.
control channels: in lighting; the numbers used at the lighting control console to control the actions of the dimmers.
controllable qualities of light: for lighting; intensity, color, movement, direction.
corner block: a thin plywood triangle used to support the corner joints of a flat frame.
costume: the wardrobe and accessories designed for a character in a play.
costume rendering: A designer’s full-body sketch of a costume design. Usually colored, often accompanied by fabric swatches.
costume parade: a showing of characters in their wardrobe under stage light for director’s approval and adjustments.
counterweight arbor: the vertically tracked weight carriage of a counterweight fly line.
counterweight system: a fly system utilizing a tracked arbor to control the movement of a batten.
creative team: the group of people responsible for the design of a production; typically the director, designers, choreographer, and musical director.
crossover: a method of travelling from one side of the stage to another, unseen by the audience.
cue: a directive for action. For example, a change in lighting.
cue-to-cue: a technical rehearsal in which action around cues is rehearsed but dialogue between is skipped over.
cultural associations: for color; those associations we learn through our culture.
cut drop: a drop that has a profiled edge.
cutter: for costumes; the person who cuts fabric to be sewn into costumes.
cyclorama (aka cyc): a large backdrop often used to represent sky. These traditionally wrap around the upstage wings.
cyc light: a lighting fixture designed to light drops and cycloramas.
deck: the stage floor or level built on top of the stage floor.
design presentation: A meeting in which designers present and explain designs to the company.
dimmer: in lighting; a unit that controls the electric supply to the lighting instrument allowing it to fade.
dimmer per circuit: in lighting; a theatre where each lighting circuit is wired to its own dimmer.
direction: in lighting; one of the four controllable qualities of light.
DMX512: in lighting; the electronic protocol language used by control consoles to control lighting equipment.
draper: in costumes; a person who builds wardrobe by draping fabric over a dress form.
draping: the art of building wardrobe by draping fabric over a dress form.
drop: a large flat piece of fabric used as part of the scenery for a show.
dry tech: a technical rehearsal for crews for which the performers are not present.
drywall screws: specialty screws with qualities of sharpness and brittleness.
Edison connector: in lighting; a standard style, two-bladed plug in common use in U.S. homes.
effects: in sound; one of the three major areas of sound design, effects cover any sounds that are not music cues or related to reinforcement.
electric: in lighting, a batten specifically fitted for use as a place to hang lighting instruments.
ellipsoidal reflector spotlight: a standard hard-edged theatrical lighting instrument using a two-lens system and an elliptically shaped reflector.
facing: a surface added to the sides of a platform so that it appears solid.
false proscenium: a portal that sits in front or inside of the natural proscenium creating a new frame for the stage.
field angle: in lighting; the portion of the beam of light that is less than 50% as bright as the center of the beam.
fight call: a preshow rehearsal conducted to review any physical business in a performance to minimize the chance for injuries.
fill light: in lighting; the dimmer or unmotivated source of light representing the reflected light of the scene, it fills the shadows created by the key light.
filler: in paint; particulate matter added to increase its opacity.
first hand: a costume shop employee who assists the costume shop manager in dayto- day operations.
fixed caster: a caster wheel that cannot swivel.
fitting: an appointment for an actor to be fitted into their costume.
flat: theatrical walls built as scenery.
flat-patterning: the use of paper patterns to cut fabric pieces for costumes.
flood: in lighting; to widen the beam of a lighting instrument.
fly: to rig objects in the theatre so they can be lifted and lowered above the stage.
fly system: a system of ropes or cables allowing scenery to be rigged to a grid over the stage.
focus call: a work call to adjust the lighting instruments to the designer’s specifications for a production.
follow-spot: a lighting instrument on a rotating base allowing an operator to follow an actor with its beam.
Fresnel: in lighting; a soft-edged instrument with a step lens.
functions of light: in lighting; mood, illumination, modeling, and selective focus.
gel: a common term used to refer to color filters for lights. Gel is a holdover term from days when filters were made of gelatin.
gobo: a common term used to refer to cut-out template patterns for lights.
grand drape: the main curtain on a stage, often richly colored.
grand teaser: a short and wide drape that hangs over the main drape and is often richly colored.
grid: the network of beams above the stage that support the rigging system components.
ground row: a low horizontal scenic element, usually used to hide lighting along the stage floor.
hand: in costumes; the feel of a fabric.
hand prop: a prop handled by performers.
hard-cover flat: a flat frame with a hard face typically ¼” plywood or luaan. Can be flat framed, metal framed, Broadway, or studio style.
hard-edged light: a fixture with a defined edge to its beam of light.
hazer: a unit that continuously puts out a relatively light atmospheric fog.
head block: a multi-sheave block used to change the direction of control lines for a batten.
headset: a part of the communication system used by crews during a performance.
headset system: a communication system allowing crews to remain in contact throughout a theatre.
hex bolt: a bolt fastener with a hexagonal top for easy tightening with a wrench.
hold: a temporary stop of rehearsal action.
house: the audience area of an auditorium.
illumination: in lighting; one of the four controllable qualities of light.
input device: for sound; a playback device or microphone.
intensity: in lighting; relative brightness.
jack: a triangular frame used to brace flats and keep them vertical.
jackknife platform: a platform designed to pivot onstage from a fixed point on one corner.
key light: in lighting; the brighter source of light, motivated by the presumed source of light for the scene.
keystone: a thin plywood brace used to support the rail joints of a flat frame.
lamp: in lighting; the bulb (envelope), base, and filament unit for a lighting instrument.
LED fixture: a lighting fixture that uses light emitting diodes rather than an incandescent source.
leg: a style of drapery, these tall narrow drapes mask the wing space along the sides of a stage.
levels: raised areas on the stage.
lift line: the lines that support a batten in a rigging system.
light plot: a scaled plan showing the placement of lighting equipment for a production.
lighting control console: the interface for control of theatrical lighting. Typically a computer based control that replays preprogrammed lighting cues sequentially.
lighting filters: colored translucent sheets placed in front of lights to filter their spectrum.
lighting rehearsal: a showing of light cues by their designer for the director and stage manager prior to technical rehearsals.
lighting system: the components of lighting equipment that allow for control of lighting states on a stage.
line level: a low-level electronic signal used to route and process sound.
load-in: the time when technical support elements are installed in a theatre for a production.
load-in door: the door or opening provided by a theatre for production equipment to enter the space.
loading dock: an area adjacent to the load-in door where trucks can offload equipment into the space.
loft block: an individual sheave that changes the direction of a line in a rigging system.
main drape: sometimes referred to as a grand drape, the main curtain in a theatre often richly colored.
mask: to hang curtains so they block the audience view of backstage areas.
mic level: a very low-level electronic signal used to transfer the transduced microphone signal into a system for processing. Ordinarily this signal must be runthrough a pre-amp.
mixer: for sound; a signal routing device allowing adjustment of audio levels from and to various sources.
modeling: in lighting: one of the four functions of light, the use of highlight and shadow to sculpt objects with light.
mood: in lighting; one of the four functions of light, the emotional quality of a lighting moment.
monitor: in sound; a speaker placed so that performers can hear one another.
movement: in lighting; one of the four controllable qualities of light, the physical movement of light sources or perceived movement through changing cues.
moving light: a lighting fixture with motorized components to allow for remote control.
moving mirror light: a lighting fixture equipped with a motorized mirror to allow for remote control of the beam direction.
music: in sound; one of the three primary responsibilities of a sound designer, any music played during a production.
natural associations: for color, any associations we may be born with.
natural stage floor: the top surface of the stage floor without scenery added.
nominal dimension: the dimension of lumber prior to finishing, not the actual dimension.
notions: for costumes; items including buttons, zippers, hooks, and other fabric construction accessories.
orchestra pit: the space between the stage and the auditorium, usually below stage level, where an orchestra can be held.
paper tech: a meeting in which cues are placed in the stage manager’s prompt book.
PAR: a lighting instrument using a parabolic reflector lamp.
PARNel: a highbred lighting instrument blending features of a Fresnel and a PAR, producing a soft-edged light.
patch panel: a flexible connection bay where lighting circuits are routed to dimmers.
personal prop: any prop that may be directly associated to a character, may include jewelry, parasols, combs, etc.
pigment: an additive that provides color.
pin connector: in lighting; a three-pin, flat, paddle-style electrical connector., aka stage-pin connector.
pin rail: a horizontal rail where lines are tied off to hold battens at required heights.
places call: a directive made by the stage manager to the company for all to go to the spot they need to be in in order to begin a performance.
plan: a graphic representation drawn as an overhead view.
plano-convex lens: in lighting; a lens that is flat on one side and has a convex curve profile on the other.
platform: a framed unit intended to support people or any raised area on a stage.
playback: the replaying of recorded media or type of media supported by equipment.
playing area: the area of the stage where the audience can view a performer.
portal: an archway formed by two legs and a border or similar framed opening.
practical: an item that must function onstage as it would in real life.
pre-amp: an amplifier designed to boost a mic level signal to a line level.
preproduction: the time before rehearsals and construction have begun.
preview performance: a public performance given before the advertised opening of a production.
primary colors: the base colors from which all others can be mixed. For pigment: red, blue, and yellow. For light: red, blue, and green.
proscenium theatre: a traditional theatre space where the audience and the stage are essentially two rooms with an archway cut from the adjoining wall.
production concept: the creative interpretation of a script that unifies the artistic vision of the creative team.
production meeting: a conference of appropriate production team members to share information and updates.
production resources: assets available to realize a given production.
production schedule: the calendar developed to track a production from inception through performances.
production team: the group of people responsible for realizing a production.
professional: generally refers to those paid for their efforts rather than volunteers. profile flat: a flat wall with a shaped edge or edges.
prompt book: a copy of the script, maintained by the stage manager, that records the blocking and cues for a production.
property list: a list of all prop elements required for a production.
pull: to choose an item in the theatre stock for production use.
put-in rehearsal: a special rehearsal for an actor taking over an existing role.
raked stage: a stage for which the floor of the playing area has ben raised at the back such that it angles up and away from the audience. This arrangement lends a false depth to the playing area.
reflector: in lighting; the element that collects wasted light from the lamp and refracts it in the direction of the lens.
reinforcement: in sound; one of the three main responsibilities of a sound designer, the balance and amplification of live sound elements and voices.
rehearsal clothes: clothing worn by actors during rehearsal periods to approximate the style of wardrobe they will wear for the show.
rehearsal report: Daily reports sent to the production team by the stage manager that chronicle the events of the previous rehearsal and list needs for upcoming rehearsals.
rehearsal room: the space where the directors and actors develop the performance.
rehearsal prop: an approximation of a show prop given to actors for the rehearsal period.
rehearsal schedule: a schedule of all rehearsals and their locations for a production.
resident designers: staff designers who may be assigned design work within a theatre season.
revolve: a rotating platform or stage.
rigged/rigging: something that has been hung on ropes or cables. In costumes; a garment that has been altered for fast removal.
rise/run: refers to stairs and the relative change in height over each individual tread’s depth.
rope set rigging: a flying system relying on a pin rail and sandbags to counter weight placed on a batten.
run: the length of time or number of performances for a production.
run-through: a rehearsal during which the entire show will be run in performance order.
sandbag: a bag of sand used to counterweight a rigged line or to add ballast to a unit.
scale: in drafting; the relative measured scale the drafting represents.
scene shift: a moment in which technicians change the locations of design elements during a performance.
script: the text of a play.
secondary colors: colors that can be created by mixing two neighboring primary colors together.
selective focus: in lighting; one of the four functions of light, the use of contrast to guide the eyes of the audience to the action.
set: the scenic environment designed for a play.
set dressing: items on the set that the performers do not handle, but add atmosphere and detail.
set props: large prop items and furniture pieces.
sheet goods: building materials such as plywood sold in flat sheets, typically measuring 4 feet by 8 feet.
shift light: a lighting state used during scene changes to facilitate the work and indicate to the audience that these moments are not part of the action of the play.
show curtain: a specialty curtain designed as scenery for a play.
shutters: in lighting; the metal flags that allow the beam to be shaped in the fixture. signal chain: in sound; the path through the system the electronic signal is routed. Aka signal path.
signal to noise ratio: in sound; the balance of desired electronic signal to unwanted electric interference leaking into the signal.
signal path: see “signal chain.”
site-specific theatre: theatre performed in a nontraditional location.
sitzprobe: a rehearsal for singers and the orchestra in which the singers are seated or at least not following their set blocking.
skin: in scenery; the top surface of a scenic unit.
sky drop: a large drop representing the sky on a stage.
slip stage: a stage wagon, often large enough to hold an entire setting.
smoke machine: an effects unit that produces a vapor for fog and smoke.
snow cradle: a sling used to drop dry materials like snow and confetti from above a stage.
soft-cover flat: a temporary wall usually built with a wood frame, the face of the frame being covered in a fabric.
soft-edged light: in lighting; an instrument whose beam fades toward its edge, causing the perimeter to be indistinguishable.
sound system: the system of equipment allowing for controlled playback for a production.
source device: in sound; any input device bringing a signal into a sound system.
spacing rehearsal: a rehearsal conducted once scenery has been loaded into a theatre so the cast can make the adjustment from the tapelines of the rehearsal room to the physical setting.
special effect: any unusual effect used for a performance, these may be physical, pyrotechnic, auditory, or based in light.
spot/spotting down: in lighting; the narrowing of an instruments beam.
stage crew: the group of technicians needed for performance of a play.
stage combat: movement created to create the illusion of combat while keeping the performers safe.
stage direction: a system of directions given from the actor’s perspective to describe areas of the stage.
stage house: the stage area between the proscenium and the upstage wall including the stage, wings, grid, and fly system.
stage monitor: a system that allows actors backstage to hear the dialogue being spoken on stage.
stock scenery: scenic elements built and stored for reuse by the theatre.
stock size: a predetermined size that stock elements are built in for easy reuse.
straight-run platform wagon: a platform equipped with fixed casters to run in a straight direction on stage.
strip light: a multi-cell lighting fixture typically used to light drops. Aka border light.
stumble-through: an early rehearsal held after show blocking is complete to show designers the shape and flow if the show.
subtractive color: in lighting; the use of filters to limit the spectrum of light.
sugar-glass: a term used to describe breakaway prop items that appear as glass to the audience. Though sugar can be used, resins are frequently employed to manufacture these breakaway items.
swatch: a small piece of fabric that accompanies designs for color and textural reference.
swivel caster: a caster with a rotating base allowing for it to roll at any given angle.
teaser: traditionally the first short and wide drape upstage of the proscenium. This drape masks the first electric.
technical notes: rehearsal and performance refinements or correctives regarding the technical elements of a production.
technical rehearsals: rehearsals that focus on refining the technical elements of a production.
template: in lighting; a cut-out placed in a lighting instrument to project an image. Aka gobo.
tertiary colors: colors mixed from a primary and its neighboring secondary color.
thumbnail sketch: an early, rough sketch of a design idea.
tie-off cleat: a piece of stage hardware used to secure a line for quick adjustment.
title block: a window of text on a scaled drafting that lists the subject of the draft, its scale, and other pertinent information.
thrust theatre: a theatre space where the audience surrounds three sides of the playing area.
top of show: the beginning of a play or performance.
tormentor: The first set of tall and narrow drapes hung upstage of the proscenium and used to mask the wings of a stage.
transmission: in lighting; the percentage of source light allowed to pass through a color filter.
trap: an opening in the floor of a stage or platform used to facilitate appearances and disappearances.
transducer: a device that translates an electronic sound waveform into a physical sound wave or reverses the process.
twist-lock connector: in lighting; a three-blade connector in a circular formation equipped with a locking ground.
unbalanced cable: in sound; a cable equipped with only two wires that has little resistance to electric interference.
valence: a horizontal curtain designed to mask the rod or batten.
vehicle: one of the components of paint. The vehicle allows the paint to be spread and either evaporates, cures, or is absorbed.
wagon: a rolling platform.
washes: in scenic painting; translucent paints used to layer colors on scenery.
wet tech: a technical rehearsal incorporating cast and crew.
wing: the area outside the playing area of a stage that is unseen by the audience.
wood grain: in lumber; the longitudinal arrangement of wood fi bers. In painting; a finish imitating the surface of wood.
yoke: in lighting; the U-shaped support connecting the lighting instrument and the C-clamp allowing for a tilting action.