A glossary of theatre terms used in articles on Prompt-side. All definitions are commonly used in Australia except where otherwise indicated. This list will be added to regularly. Please comment below if you want to add something.
Apron (n) – The area downstage of the proscenium arch.
Auditorium (n) – Where the audience sits. Also referred to as ‘the house’.
Bar (n)– A long piece of steel (preferably cylindrical – but sometimes not!) to hang things on.
Blocking (n) – The actors’ moves as decided in rehearsals.
Blocking notation (n) – The written blocking in the prompt copy.
Boom (n)– An upright, or vertical, bar usually for lighting but sometimes to support scenery.
Borders (n) – Rectangular pieces of black cloth (usually velvet or wool) that create a ‘border’ across the top of the stage picture. They are there to mask the other items in the grid.
Braille (v) – To tie a bar to another bar or to the fly floor to get it in exactly the right position.
Bump in (n) – The period of time when everything moves into the theatre.
Bump in (v) – To move everything into the theatre.
Centre stage (n) – The middle of the stage when looking from the auditorium.
Cradle (n) – Holds the weights for the flying system
Cyclorama (or cyc) (n) – a large screen (usually white) that is used to put coloured lights on to change its colour. Sometimes this is built-in, sometimes it is curved and sometimes it is hanging on a fly line. Most theatres will ‘grid the cyc’ so that it stays hanging and doesn’t get creases or dirty while not used on a show.
Deads (n) – The point at which the fly line has to stop to be at a certain point. Often marked with coloured tape on a hemp system.
Downstage (n) – The area closest to the auditorium. This term comes from when stages were usually raked. To go ‘down the rake’ was to go towards the audience.
Downstage (v) – To go towards the auditorium.
Drift (adj) – The distance between the bar at its highest point and its lowest point.
Fly floor (n) – The place where the fly lines are operated, usually higher than stage level. It can either be on prompt-side or opposite-prompt.
Fly (v) – To move a line in or out.
Fly line (n) – The line of a bar that can fly in and out.
Front of House (n) – The area that the public sees. This includes the foyer, toilets, bar and auditorium.
Grid (n) – A steel ‘grid’ or series of channels that can be used to rig onto. They vary depending on whether you are in a proscenium arch theatre, or in a studio type setting.
Grid (v) – To fly something out so high that it can’t be seen by the audience.
In (adj)– Towards the ground, or down.
Legs (n) – Long black cloths (usually velvet or wool) that hang down the sides of stage. They are there to mask the wings.
Mask (v) – To hide something.
Masking (n) – Cloths used to hide something.
On (adj) – Towards centre stage.
Out (adj) – Away from the ground, or up.
Prompt copy (n) – Also known as ‘the book’, this is the definitive notation of everything that happens in the show. It contains all the official script, cues, blocking, schedules, contact information, emergency information and more.
Prompt side (n) – Also known as ‘stage left’. The left hand side of the stage when standing on the stage facing the auditorium. This is usually where the calling Stage Manager is located. When the Stage Manager needs to be located on the other side(or stage right) because of tight wing space or the set, that side becomes ‘Bastard Prompt’.
Rake (n) – A sloped stage or auditorium.
Raked (a) – To be sloped.
Vomitory (n) – An entrance through the auditorium, usually under the seating. Also shortened to the ‘vom’.
Wings (n) – The area hidden from the audience on each side of stage.