Theater Glossary Terms Your Students Need to Know

Photo courtesy of Carole Royal

A recital is a great performance experience for your future stars. Be sure they know the professional stage terms—post this list somewhere they'll see it!

Downstage

The section of the stage nearest the audience.

Upstage

The section of the stage furthest from the audience.

Stage left

The dancer's left, when facing the audience.

Stage right

The dancer's right, when facing the audience.

Backstage

The parts of a theater that lie behind the back wall of the stage setting, including dressing rooms and green rooms.

Wings

The sides of the stage, often flanked by drapes, out of sight of the audience.

Proscenium arch

The arch framing the opening between the stage and the audience; the picture frame through which the audience sees the stage.

Stage apron

The part of the stage in front of the proscenium arch.

Cyclorama

A plain piece of material at the back of the stage, reaching to the floor, that serves as a backdrop for stage lighting.

Call time

Generally, what time you are due at the theater the day of a performance.

Lighting designer

A person who creates the lighting and atmosphere for a show and who sometimes calls the lighting cues.

Sound designer

A person who plans and provides the music or sound effects for a show and who sometimes calls the sound cues.

Box office

Theater office where tickets are sold.

Bonus Tip

To help dancers learn theater vocabulary, play a game called Stage Right, Stage Left. It functions much like Simon Says: You call out a stage direction, and the dancers have to face or walk to that part of the stage.

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