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
WAGON Wheeled platform on which a scene or part of a scene is built to facilitate scene changing.
WAGON SET Wagon stage
WAGON STAGE Mechanized stage where the scenery is moved into position on large sliding wagons as wide as the proscenium opening, from storage in large areas to the side and rear of the main stage. This system enables incredibly complex and otherwise time-consuming scene changes to occur almost instantly.
WARDROBE The general name for the costume department, its staff and the accommodation they occupy.
WARDROBE PLOT Actor-by-actor, scene-by-scene inventory of all the costumes in a production, with a detailed breakdown into every separate item in each costume.
WARM COLOR Generally, a color that is in the yellow/orange/red range, as opposed to a cool (blue/green/purple) or neutral.
WASH An even, overall illumination over a large area of the stage. Also, to create such an illumination.
WATTS Unit of electrical power derived from the current (or "quantity" of electricity) multiplied by the voltage (or "pressure" at which the current is delivered). Stage lighting equipment is rated in Watts (or Kilowatts - 1kW being equal to 1000W). This refers to the amount of power required to light the lamp. A higher wattage lamp requires more power and gives a brighter light output.
WAVELENGTH The distance from one point on a vibrating wave to the same point on the next wave. The lengths of the sound waves (wavelengths) we can hear range from one inch to 40 feet. High frequency sounds have short wavelengths (and are more directional), low frequency sounds have long wavelengths (and are less directional). In lighting terms, blue light is short wavelength, green is medium and red is long wavelength. Beyond visible light are the short wavelength Ultra Violet light and the long wavelength Infra Red light.
WEDGE A speaker/sound monitor that is angled so that it can sit on the stage floor and point up at musicians/cast. Monitor
WHITE NOISE A type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all different frequencies together. If you took all of the imaginable tones that a human can hear and combined them together, you would have white noise. Because white noise contains all frequencies, it is frequently used to mask other sounds. If you are in a hotel and voices from the room next-door are leaking into your room, you might turn on a fan to drown out the voices. The fan produces a good approximation of white noise. Pink noise
WINGS 1) The out of view areas to the sides of the acting area. 2) Scenery standing where the acting area joins these technical areas.
WOOFER 1) Part of a speaker system designed to handle the low frequency parts of the signal. 2) A loudspeaker that reproduces low-frequency sounds, such as bass or organ notes.
WORK LIGHTS 1) High wattage lights used in a venue when the stage/auditorium lighting is not on. Used for rehearsals, fit-up, strike, and resetting. 2) Low wattage blue lights used to illuminate offstage obstacles and props tables, etc.
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