Theatre Terms | Page 2 | 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.

Click on a letter (A-Z) below to find terms beginning with the specified letter, OR enter a word in "Search for Term" OR search by entering a word in "Words in Definition." For example, entering the word "curtain" would display all words whose definition includes that word. (Note: If the A-Z or word search has been activated, it must be reset before using "Search for Term" or "Words in Definition." To reset the A-Z search: Click Here)

NOTE: After using the ABC search function below, click here to reset.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X
Term Definition Link
ACTOR-PROOF Said of a role or script that is certain to be effective even if badly acted.
AD LIB To add lines or business not in the script, or songs or music not in the score, especially as improvisation.
ADJUDICATION The process of evaluating a production entered into a theatre festival or other competition, by a group of people (adjudicators) with a wide range of theatrical training and experience. Adjudication is considered to be an educational process, in which the adjudicators provide a verbal report of their reactions to each production (normally, immediately after the production) for the benefit of the producing company and the audience. Adjudicators also determine which productions will advance to the next level of competition (as in the AACTFest cycle), and may also award first place and second place awards.
ADJUDICATOR A person with a wide range of theatrical training and experience, who views productions entered in a festival (such as AACTFest) and who shares his or her reactions with the participants and audience.
ADVANCE BAR Lighting bar positioned just downstage of the proscenium arch.
ADVANCE MAN A representative in charge of business arrangements who proceeds a touring company.
AERIAL Cable or rod used to send and receive radio signals (connected to transmitter and receiver or tuner).
AERO A type of high-intensity Par lamp that derives its name from its use as an aircraft landing lamp. The true Aero is 28V and 250W, although there are many variations. The lamp has a very tight beam.
AESTHETIC DISTANCE The maintaining of artistic illusion by sufficient physical or other separation or detachment.
AFFECTIVE MEMORY In the Stanislavski method, the recollection of feelings that an actor has experienced and can use on the stage.
AFTER-PIECE, AFTERPIECE A play, dance, etc., especially a short one, performed after the principal offering.
AGC Automatic Gain Control. Circuitry within recording equipment which compensates for differences in volume in the incoming sound signal by adjusting the gain automatically. Helps to reduce wild swings in volume.
AGENT An intermediary who performs certain business services in the theatre world, such as helping actors obtain engagements and helping dramatists find producers for their compositions. Hence, agency.
AISLE A passage through the seating area.
ALARUM Obsolete term for a call to arms by drums or trumpets. Especially Elizabethan, a stage direction. Sometimes "alarums and excursions."
ALLEGORY A dramatic work or a portion of one that expresses meaning by means of personification and symbolism; for example, the medieval morality play. In an allegory, characters may be named "Everyman," "Lust," "Greed," "Death," "Mr. Money," etc.
ALTERNATE 1) One or two actors who alternate in a specific role. 2) An understudy.


  • Facebook
  • AACT on Instagram
  • AACT on LinkedIn
Authorize.Net Merchant - Click to Verify Credit Card Merchant Services