Theatre Terms | Page 3 | 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
ROLLER A system whereby cloths can be rolled up/down instead of flying in/out in a theatre where there is no fly tower, or limited flying height.
ROYALTY FEE Royalties are the authors' way of being paid for the use of their show (their "intellectual property"). The authors of a musical may include the book writer (who writes the dialogue), the composer (who writes the music), and the lyricist (who writes the words to the music). Their right to be paid for use of their work is guaranteed by U.S. copyright law. A royalty fee is due whenever a play is presented in front of an audience?-whether an admission is charged or not. This includes classroom presentations, benefits, or private shows. The fact that a performance is a free or a benefit is taken into account when fees are quoted.
ROYALTY HOUSE An informal term describing publisher-representatives such as Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service, I.E. Clark, Pioneer, Encore, Music Theater International, and Tams-Witmark. These companies sell or rent scripts and scores and also license plays for production, acting as the playwright's agent by collecting royalties on a copyrighted title. Sometimes referred to as a publisher, or publisher-agent.
RUN A sequence of performances of the same production, as in "This show will run for years," or "How long a run do you expect?"
RUNNERS 1) A pair of curtains parting in the center and running horizontally, particularly those used in a downstage position in variety and revue productions. 2) Persons employed as production assistants to do odd jobs and errands during a production period.
RUNNING PLOT A plot giving details of the changes between cues, as distinct from a state plot which gives the whole state of the system at any time. For example, a lighting plot on a manual board is normally a running plot. It is difficult to start a running plot half way through; often the operator has to go back to the beginning and work through until the required point is reached.
RUNWAY A narrow projection of the stage, into the orchestra pit or into the aisle of the auditorium, on which a performer can walk.


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