Theatre Terms

image of question markHere you'll find over 1000 definitions of theatrical terms, from Aside, Beam Angle, and Camlock, to Upstaging, VU Meter, and Wagon.  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 Cross Reference Link
ACT DROP Victorian stretched framed and painted canvas. Used as a visual stimulation during scene changes, and to indicate that there was more to come. Term now used to refer to any front cloth or tabs lowered during intervals. Especially pantomime / musicals.
BACK DROP or BACKDROP A large curtain, usually painted to represent the sky, a landscape, or some other background, dropped upstage to form the back of a wing set and to mask the backstage space; now commonly supplanted by a cyclorama. Cyclorama
CUT DROP A drop, painted and then cut out so that the spectator sees a scene formed not only by the drop, but also by whatever is placed behind it. Drop
DROP A piece of scenic canvas, painted or plain, that is flown or fixed to hang in a vertical position. Sometimes called cloths (the British term). A Backdrop hangs at the rear of a scene. A Front drop hangs well downstage, often to hide a scene change taking place behind. Cut drops have cut-away open areas and are normally used as a series, painted in perspective. A Star drop (usually black) has a large number of small low-voltage lamps sewn or pinned through it which gives a magical starry sky effect. (See also Fiber Optics). A floor drop may be used to protect the stage while painting, or to mark the playing area.
FULL DROP Any drop curtain other than a cut drop. Cut drop
ROLL DROP Drops flown on rollers Drop
STAR DROP or STARCLOTH Drop
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