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Queens theatre - Glossary
Category: Arts > theatre
Date & country: 11/10/2007, UK
Words: 312


Acting Area
The area of the stage where the play is performed. Also called the Playing Area.

Ad-Lib
To improvise lines or speeches that are not part of the script.

Advance Bar
Alighting bar hung from the auditorium ceiling, usually fairly close to the stage, to provide steep frontal illumination.

Ambient Light
General indirect light, produced by reflection from the stage, scenery, or by scatter from lanterns.

Amphitheatre
Stepped banks of seating surrounding an arena. Also used to describe one of the tiers of a multi-level auditorium.

Anchor
To secure a set piece to the stage floor.

Animation Disc
Large disc in front of a lantern and rotated by a motor. Animation discs are designed with slots or cut patterns, or are made of painted glass, and give the impression of movement of light. Used with profile spots in conjunction with gobos to create water or fire effects.

Apron
The extension of a stage projecting outwards into the auditorium. In certain types of theatre the apron can be quite large. See also forestage.

Areas
In lighting design the divided portions of the stage used to apportion light.

Arena
One of the terms used to describe types of open stage. As it derives from the sand strewn combat area in a Roman amphitheatre, it should be a term for 360 degree encirclement; but it has been used to describe thrust stages.

Back Light
Light from behind the actor or a piece of scenery. It is highly sculptural light which separates the actor from the background.

Backdrop (Backcloth)
A painted or black cloth hung down behind the acting area hide the backstage and to mark the back of the area in which acting takes place. See also Blacks.

Backing
Scenery used behind, and limiting the view of the audience through an opening (e.g. doorway or window) in a set. See also masking.

Band Room
Musicians' changing room.

Bar
A tube, pipe or barrel for holding spotlights.

Barn Door
A device with two or four doors for masking a light beam off areas.

Barre
A horizontal rail, usually of wood, used by ballet dancers when practicing.

Barrel
Length of metal pipe, suspended on a set of lines, to which scenery may be attached by means of snatch lines instead of being tied directly to the suspension lines. It is a standard part in a unit of the counterweight system. Also called pipe batten.

Bastard Prompt
The prompt side is always on the actors left. The other side is always called the OP side (opposite prompt). If the stage managers control desk and therefore the prompt corner happens to be on the OP side it is called a bastard prompt.

Batten (Scenery Batten)
Length of rigid material usually wood, used in scenery construction generally; also a length of timber carrying and stiffening a hanging cloth.

Beam Spread
The area of light covered by a light beam. The longer the throw the larger is the beam spread.

Beamlight
Lanterns which have a strong concentrated beam of light, they have a parabolic reflector and are popular with rock and roll lighting and are sometimes used as soft-edged follow spots.

Beginners
The request for cast and crew to take their positions for the start of the performance. Also places.

Bifocal Profile-Spot
A profile spot with two sets of shutters. the first set of shutters is at the gate and enables soft focused shaping of the beam.

Blackout
A fast shutdown of all lighting to complete darkness.

Blackout Switch
A switch on lighting control boards which turns out all the stage lights

Blacks
Curtains hung both to mask the back-stage area and to shape the on-stage area. Normally made of wool surge.

Bleacher Seating
Stepped seating blocks which can be retracted for storage and to clear a flat floor.

Blocking
The movement and business of an actor on stage.

Bobbin
Cylindrical carrier for the suspension and movement of draw curtains on a horizontal track.

Book Flat
Two flats hinged together in order to be self-supporting when folded on the hinge.

Boom
A vertical bar mounted in a base, used to hang lanterns with the use of a Boom arm.

Boom Arm
A metal bracket used to hang a lantern off a ‘Boom`

Border
A pelmet used to mask the line of sight over a setting and to hide the flies lighting battens, etc.

Box-Set
Setting comprising a series of flats arranged in a more or less continuous line around the three sides of the acting area away from the audience. Normally used for interior scenes. Can also be used with a ceiling piece.

Brace
Piece of wood used diagonally in the frame of a flat to strengthen it.

Brace Weight
Slotted iron weight, which can be set on the foot-iron of a brace to hold it in position.

Brail (Brail Line)
Line used to pull and retain any piece of hanging scenery or property from the position it would occupy if left hanging free.

Breakaway
A prop specifically made to break at a certain point in the play.

Bridge
Mobile platform suspended over the stage or audience that provides access to lanterns.

Bridle
A short length of cable or chain used to distribute the stress on a barrel at a suspension point.

Cable
Electrical cord used in circuiting lighting equipment needing electricity.

Call
The notification to cast and crew of rehearsal or performance. Also the countdown to curtain provided by stage management, usually half-hour call, fifteen minute call, five minute call, and beginners.

Call-Board
The bulletin board used by stage managers to post any information important to actors and crew, such as rehearsal schedules and costume fittings.

Canvas (Canvasing)
The fabric used to form a cloth or to cover a flat etc.

Catwalk
An immobile platform above the stage that reaches from one end of the stage to the other, used to gain access to the stage equipment.

Centre Line
An imaginary or real line that divides the stage area into two equal parts, running from downstage to upstage.

Centre Stage
The middle area of the performance space.

Chase
On a lighting mixer, lights or groups of lights which are sequentially switched on and off in a continuous loop.

Cleat
Wooden or metal fitment round which a line may be turned and/or tied off.

Cloth
Any hanging painted piece of cloth.

Colour Call
List of quantity and size of gel (colour filter) frames and catalogue number to be used for a show.

Colour Changer
A device placed in the colour frame runners of a lantern, enabling remotely controlled changes of the gel (colour filter). Three variety of changers are Semaphore, Scroller, and Colour wheel.

Colour Correction Filter
A gel (colour filter) used to adjust the colour temperature of a light source to achieve for example

Colour Filter
See Gel.

Colour Wash
A wash of coloured light over the stage.

Cornerblock
A piece of 1/4' plywood cut in the shape of a triangle, used to connect the stile to the rail on a flat. Also called Triangle or Corner.

Crew
The backstage group of people who perform all the technical tasks during the show.

Cross
In blocking, to move from one area of the stage to another.

Crossfade
A lighting action in which a particular light cue fades down as the next light cue fades up.

Crossover
A passage way behind the stage for actors and technicians to cross from one side of the stage to the other.

Cue
The signal for an action by an actor or a technician during a performance. Actors cues are mostly verbal, but for technicians they may be given verbally over the intercom by the stage manager or visually by a cue light.

Cue Lights
Specific lights used by the deputy stage manager to cue back stage technicians and actors.

Cue Sheet
The page(s) used to note the cues given by the deputy stage manager to the different technicians.

Cue Synopsis
A written list if lighting cues including their position in the script, time, and nature of lighting change.

Curtain
In addition to its normal definition relating to draperies, a term used to indicate the start or end of a performance such as 'Five minutes to curtain up' (five minutes to the start of the performance).

Curtain Line
The final line in the play.

Curtain Line
The imaginary line across the stage immediately behind the proscenium which marks the position of the house tabs when closed.

Curtain Track
Rails from which draw tabs are hung and along which the runners or bobbins travel when the curtains are moved; the track may be fixed or flown.

Cut Cloth
A cloth which has a part cut out to reveal another cloth set behind, the cut-out portion is often filled with gauze.

Cyclorama
Plain, curved, stretched cloth or rigid structure used as a background to a setting, giving an illusion of infinity.

Dark Theatre
A day or night when there is no performance.

Dead
The predetermined level to which a suspended scenic piece is raised or lowered to take up its correct position in the setting.

Dead Blackout
Complete darkness on stage, used to hide scenery changes or to create dramatic effect.

Diffusion Filter
A filter designed to diffuse the light transmitted through it. There are numerous filters available, each designed for a different degree and type of diffusion. These include

Dim
To decrease the intensity of a stage light.

Dimmer
An electrical apparatus used to control the intensity of the lantern to which it is circuited.

Dip
On a control board, when one crossfader is brought up and the other brought down simultaneously, there is a dip in the levels of lighting intensity on stage.

Dipless Crossfade
A crossfade designed to eliminate problems of dips in intensities when crossfading.

Dips
Stage dips or dip traps are small traps in the stage containing stage-lighting outlets and electrical cables.

Discovered
A person or an object on stage when the curtain goes up.

Dock
The scene dock is a store for scenery next to the stage. Scenery is unloaded and taken through the 'dock door' into the stage area.

Donut
A piece of metal with a circle cut out of its centre which is inserted in to the colour frame of a profile-spot in order to reduce spill and scatter from a lantern.

Downlight
Light from above the actor, the beam perpendicular to the stage floor. Can be use as a colour wash without the light directly hitting the scenery.

Downstage
Portions of a stage nearest the audience.

Draperies (Drapes)
Any unspecified fabric hanging in folds as a scene or part of a scene, especially curtaining fabrics such as woolens, velvets etc.

Drencher
A perforated pipe which will spray water on the back of the safety curtain in the event of a fire.

Dress Run
A dress rehearsal.

Dresser
A member of staff who helps actors to get in to costume

Dressing A Set
The decoration of the set with items that are principally for aesthetic purposes only.

Dry Ice
Frozen carbon dioxide particles which, when dropped into hot water, create an effect similar to fog.

Dry Tech
A technical rehearsal without actors.

Dutchman
Thin strips of cloth used to mask cracks between flats.

Effect
An event or a moment intended to create a particular emotional reaction.

Electrician
A theatre technician who installs and/or operates the lighting for a production.

Fade To Black
A decrease of lighting levels ending in a blackout.

False Proscenium
Arrangement of scenery forming an arch immediately behind the proscenium opening. See also teaser and tormentor.

Festoon Tabs (Curtains)
Curtains fixed at the top and raised (opened) by drawing the bottom upwards towards the top and/or sides.

Fill Light
Light used to illuminate shadowy areas.

Fire Curtain
A non-flammable curtain hung directly behind the proscenium that protects the audience from fire or smoke emitting from the stage.