Theatre Terms | Page 47 | AACT

Theatre Terms

image of question markAs a service to the theatre community, AACT provides over 1000 definitions of theatrical terms.  Fully searchable, our glossary is helpful for technical staff, directors, actors, producers, or anyone wanting to better understand the inner workings of theatre.

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Term Definition Link
SOUND CUE A cue for the commencement of a sound effect.
SOUND EFFECTS 1) Recorded: Often abbreviated to FX. There are many sources for recorded sound effects, most recently on Compact Disc. May form an obvious part of the action (train arriving at station) or may be in the background throughout a scene (e.g. birds chirping). 2) Live: Gunshots, door slams, and offstage voices (amongst many others) are most effective when done live.
SOUND REINFORCEMENT Amplifying a voice just enough so that it can be heard, without the audience being aware that it is being amplified.
SPEAKER Short for loudspeaker
SPECIAL A lighting instrument used for a very specific purpose, rather than as part of a system such as an area light or color wash.
SPIDER Adapter to connect many lighting instruments to one multicore cable. Consists of multi-pin connector, short length of cable, then a number of sockets related to the number of circuits in the cable.
SPIKE To mark the position of an item of set/furniture on stage, using chalk, paint, or tape. Sometimes called a spike mark.
SPILL Unwanted light onstage.
SPINE In the Stanislavksi method, the dominant trait in the character assumed by the actor.
SPOTLIGHT General term for any lantern with a lens system.
SQUELCH Control on a radio microphone receiver for fine-tuning the reception according to the surroundings.
STAGE BUSINESS Incidental activity performed by an actor for dramatic or comic effect. This might include writing a letter, lighting a pipe, having trouble with a door, checking a mirror, etc.
STAGE CONVENTION Any action that would be odd in real life, but accepted as normal on stage, such as a stage whisper, ensemble singing, spotlighting, the use of verse, mistaken identities, soliloquies, etc.
STAGE DIRECTIONS The printed instructions to actors and/or directors found in published plays, as in "John pauses and considers Mary's words, then walks to the window and peers out."
STAGE ELECTRICIAN Member of the electrics staff whose responsibility it is to set or clear electrics equipment during scene changes. May also carry out color changes on booms, etc.
STAGE LEFT Actor's left when facing the audience.


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