Theatre Terms | 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)

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Term Definition Link
D.C. or DC
D.L. or DL
D.L.C. or DLC
D.R. or DR
D.R.C. or DRC
DAISY-CHAINING Connecting items of equipment together by linking from one to the next in a chain. Used for connecting demux boxes to dimmers, etc.
DARK Said of a theatre that is closed, or with no performances scheduled. Some theatres go dark temporarily during production periods, when the next show is in preparation on stage. Thus, "Shows run Thursday through Sunday, and we're dark Monday through Wednesday."
DAT Digital Audio Tape
dB Abbreviation for decibel
DBO Dead Blackout
DE-RIG The process of removing lighting instruments & cabling from flying bars or grid (rigging)- returning the venue to its normal state, or as preparation for the next production.
DEAD 1) A prop or scenic piece that has been used, but is no longer needed until the next performance. 2) Used to describe a flat or curtain that hangs with the bottom edge level on the stage floor, as in "dead hang."
DEAD HANG To fly an item without a counterweight.
DEATH AT THE BOX OFFICE A dramatic piece or actor that is unlikely to succeed with the public, or one that is known to be unpopular.
DEBUT An actor's first appearance, whether at the beginning of his/her career, or in a new theatre. Thus "Making his Acme Little Theatre debut is John Kelly."
DECIBEL Relative measurement for the volume (loudness) of sound. Also used to measure the difference between two voltages, or two currents.
DECK 1) Stage floor. 2) Tape deck.
DEEP A stage or acting area that is long in measurement from front to back.
DELIVERY The manner in which an actor presents or utters his/her lines.
DEMUX BOX Interface unit between the serial digital output of a memory lighting control desk to the parallel analogue signal understood by a dimmer.


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