Apron - the part of the downstage area that extends past the curtain
Asbestos curtain (fire curtain) - hangs in front of the main curtain to create a fire
barrier between the house and the stage area
Auditorium (the house) - the part of the theater where the audience sits
Backstage - the stage itself, the dressing rooms, prop rooms, prop storage space -
everything between the proscenium arch and the back wall of the stage
Batten (pipe) - lengths of pipe suspended from the grid. Scenery and lights are hung
(flown) from these moveable pipes.
Blacks - duvetene drapes (usually black) used to frame the stage. The blacks hung
horizontally are called “borders”, the ones hung vertically in pair across the stage from
each other are called “legs”
Blackout - all stage lights out. Used to end scenes and acts when no curtain is used.
Borders - the velvet or duvetene drapes that run horizontally
Box Office - the place where tickets are sold
Bunker - area backstage, lined with gondolas, where performers change costumes or
rest between scenes. Some companies will use another term for this, such as Wardrobe
Village, the Compound, or Gondola Alley.
Business Agent - an elected Union official in charge of negotiating contracts, labor
disputes, protecting our workers, etc.
Call - a request for actors or stage crew to appear for work
Call time - the time you are expected to be at your job site, ready to start work
Call board - bulletin board for announcements and work calls. Often found near the
stage or stage door.
Cast - list of performers performing in each role in a production
Clear the stage - the stage manager’s call asking all personnel to leave the stage
Come down - in the theatre, a show does not finish; it comes down, i.e. the curtain
"comes down" to end the show
Continuity hour - usually a 1 hour call immediately before “half hour “ and a show call,
used to prepare items that will be needed for the upcoming performance. Steaming,
pressing, small repairs, and passing out laundry are common tasks. Upon request from
the Supervisor, a 2 hour continuity is allowed.
Corps de ballet - the members of a ballet company who dance together as a group
Cross over - the area between the last upstage curtain and the backstage wall of the
stage area. This is used by performers and crew to get from one side of the stage to the
other during a performance.
Cue - a signal to execute an action
Curtain Call - opening and closing the curtain at the end of the performance, by which
the performers acknowledge the audience’s applause
Day work - wardrobe work performed during the day to prepare the costumes for an
evening’s performance. Tasks can include steaming, pressing, shining shoes, general
repair work, resetting wigs, etc. Also sometimes referred to as a “work call”.
Dead costume - a costume that does not appear again in the current performance
Deck - the continuous floor area including the stage and the wings, where the
performance takes place, scenery is moved into position, costume changes occur, and
performers wait to enter
Discard basket - a laundry basket designated for discarded costumes and accessories
Ditty bag - a zippered, mesh bag that holds a performer’s laundry. A fresh bag with a
clean set of laundry should be used for every performance. Also sometimes refers to
the hanging accessory bags hung inside gondolas or over doors.
Dock (loading dock) - the raised loading door used for loading and unloading trucks
Down stage - the part of the stage nearest the audience
Dress rehearsal - a complete performance on stage with all the elements of a show.
Usually there is no audience.
Dresser - the wardrobe crew who helps the performers get in to and change costumes
Drop - an unframed expanse of material hung from a batten, generally used as scenery,
and is weighted at the bottom
Drop cloth - a clean cloth used to prevent costumes from hitting the bare floor, usually
in a quick change.
Equity - short for the Actor's Equity Association, or AEA. This is the Union that
represents actors and stage managers.
Flat - a flat, two dimensional unit of scenery often covered in fabric
Fly loft - the open tower above a proscenium stage. All the hung scenery, drapes, and
lights can be flown up here to remove them from the stage area
Fly rail - is a system of rope lines, blocks (pulleys), counterweights and related devices
within a theater that enables stage crew to fly components such as curtains, lights,
scenery, stage effects and, sometimes, people. Usually this is located along the walls
behind the wings.
Front of House (FOH) - the area of the theater that belongs to the audience, the
auditorium, the entrance lobby, box office, etc.
Ghost light - a single light bulb on a stand, left onstage when all other stage and work
lights are shut off
Gondola - the road cases where costumes are stored to work out of and to travel
Green Room - the lounge area where performers can wait when not onstage
Grid - steel framework near the top of the fly loft that battens are hung from
Half hour - one half hour before the beginning of the show. By this time, all prep work
(steaming, ironing, delivering laundry, presetting costumes, etc) should be done.
House lights - the lights used to illuminate the audience
House Operations Manager - a Union member who holds a house staff position at a
theater who is in charge of house daily operations
Legs - the pairs of drapes hung vertically on either side of the stage used to hide the
backstage areas from the audience
Load in - the time before the first performance of a show in a new theater where
costumes, scenery, props, etc. are unpacked and set up for the next performance, also
sometimes referred to as take in
Load out - at the end of the run, all of the props, costumes, scenery, etc. from the show
are packed up, ready to move from the theatre, also sometimes referred to as pack out
Locals - extra technicians hired in each city
Off stage - the area that is outside the acting area and not seen by the audience
Orchestra pit - a pit (or area) in front of the apron where the orchestra is set to perform
Pack-out - at the end of the run, all of the props, costumes, scenery, etc. from the show
are packed up, ready to move from the theatre, more commonly referred to as load out
Pit pads - also known as dress shields, pit pads sit in the underarm of a garment and
protect the garment from sweat. Washable pit pads that snap in to the garment are most
often used in theater, but disposable adhesive pads are also available.
Pre-set - costumes or props that are set in a certain place or way so they can be readily
accessible later in a performance
Press cloth - a cloth placed between the garment and the iron, used to prevent iron
Props - stage furniture, set dressing, articles used by performers. The general rule is: if
you can pick it up, it’s a prop; if you can’t, it’s scenery (unless someone is wearing it).
Prop table - tables set in the wings for props to be taken from and brought back to
during a performance. It is important not to move objects set on prop tables, nor to put
things on them that don’t belong there.
Proscenium arch - a decorative frame around the front opening of the stage. It
separates the stage area from the audience
Put in rehearsal - a rehearsal for a specific performer who is new to the role. Often
scenes that do not involve the new performer will be skipped, and often only crew
members who interact with the performer will be called.
Quick change - any costume change completed when a performer has a limited
amount of time
Quick change booth (or area) - an area close to the stage set aside for a dresser to
preset a performer’s costume
Rake - a slope given to the stage or auditorium floor
Road (touring as “on the road”) - a road company is a touring company that travels
from city to city to perform
Run - the duration or total number of performances of a production
Running time - the duration of a scene or act, or total length of time of a performance
Scene - a subdivision of an act, usually symbolizing a change of time or place. Acts are
subdivided by an intermission, scenes are not.
Scenery - any drops, flats, props, or set dressing that together create the image of a
place or form a background for the action onstage
Scrim - a gauze curtain used as a drop for a special effect. When lit from the front it
appears solid, but when lit from the back becomes semi-transparent.
Set - the group of scenic elements which appear together to create the image of a
specific place or form a unique background for the action of the performance
Sitzprobe - a rehearsal where singers work with the orchestra for the first time.
Costumes and Hair are rarely used.
Spikes - a marking, usually of colored tape, used to mark the correct position of props, set pieces, or actors
Split track - a track normally performed by one actor, now shared by two or more
Stage - the platform on which the performance takes place
Stage door - the entrance to the theater where backstage employees enter and leave
Stage left - the left side of the stage as the performer sees it when standing on stage
facing the audience
Stage right - the right side of the stage as the performer sees it when standing on stage
facing the audience
Steward - a member of the crew chosen (usually by seniority) to be responsible for
reporting hours, ensuring the contract is enforced, etc.
Strike - to remove a show and restore the stage to its original state, usually used in
reference to shows that are produced in house (load out is done on road shows)
Supernumerary - someone in a crowd scene, an “extra”. They may sing but usually do not have spoken lines. They may be called upon to move scenery or props.
Swing - a performer who is responsible for covering several roles in a production
Take-in - the time before the first performance of a show in a new theater where
costumes, scenery, props, etc. are unpacked and set up for the next performance, more
commonly referred to as load-in
Tech rehearsal - usually the first rehearsal on stage where lighting, sound, scenery,
etc. are used but no costumes, make-up, or wigs are used
Track - your list of tasks and changes in a show
Trap - a removable section of the stage floor through which machinery, performers, or
effects may be brought onto or removed from the stage
Underdress - to wear one costume (or parts of a costume) underneath another that is
required first. This is often done to make quick changes go quicker.
Understudy - a performer who learns the lines, blocking, and steps of a role so he is
prepared to step in to the role should the regular performer be unavailable for a
Upstage - the area of the stage farthest away from the audience
Ventilating - the art of tying hair on to lace, to add hair to a wig
Wandelprobe - a rehearsal with an orchestra and blocking. Costumes and Hair are rarely used.
Wardrobe supervisor - the person in charge of all of the costumes once they are
completed by the designer. It is the wardrobe supervisor’s responsibility to check
arrangements with the dressers and to oversee the maintenance of the costumes.
Wings - the sides of the stage, out of sight of the audience, where performers stand
before making their entrance
Work Call - wardrobe work performed during the day to prepare the costumes for an
evening’s performance. Tasks can include steaming, pressing, shining shoes, general
repair work, resetting wigs, etc. Also sometimes referred to as “day work”. Stagehands
are more likely to use the term “Work Call”, while Wardrobe generally prefers “Day
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