Above Upstage or away from the audience. Actors crossing above a prop or piece of set are keeping it between them and the audience.
Absorption 1) A material's capability to dampen sound. 2) The process of a material dampening or "absorbing" sound.
ABTT The Association of British Theatre Technicians. A large and well established professional association for theatre technicians in the UK.
AC See Alternating Current.
Academy Characteristic An equalisation standard for film production and cinema sound playback developed in the 1930's designed to bring some degree of consistency of quality between the audio recording on a film and its playback in a cinema. (TV).
Acoustics 1) The science of sound. 2) The factors and characteristics of a room or space that determine the sound capabilities and properties of that room.
Act 1) What an actor does. 2) Segments of a performance, usually separated by an interval. So the first part is Act 1, the second Act 2, and so on.
Acting Area The area of the stage setting within which the actor performs. It may include areas off the normal stage.(UK) Usually split into theoretical portions for ease of reference.
Acting Area Lights 1) Lanterns mounted in front of the proscenium arch. (US) 2) Lanterns hung directly over the relevant acting area providing a narrow beam of light directly down.
Acting Versions Published scripts which include notes from previous productions of the show - first appeared in England in the 18th century.
Actor's Equity The union for actors. The English version was founded in 1920 after an actors' strike. The Australian version is now a part of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
Actor Manager An actor who rents a theatre and runs their own company.
Ad Lib A departure from the script in order to cover an unexpected situation or hide a lapse of memory.
Add To fade up lighting channels not already plotted in the current state.
Additive The mixing of colour from one or more lanterns focussed on the same point on stage to produce another colour.
Aesthetic Distance The distancing of the audience from the action on stage so as to retain the theatrical illusion.
After Piece A brief one act play, usually a nonsense piece, staged after the main performance has concluded. Originated as a comic antidote to the main play in England in the early 18th century. It was designed for people who arrived late due to an early curtain time (because they relied on natural light, many plays started quite early), or pressures of business.
Aiorema Stage machinery used in ancient Greek theatre for appearances of gods. Possibly some form of mobile crane.
Alesis Company producing a popular range of audio signal processing equipment.
Alienation Effect A Brechtian device designed to make the audience see the world without an empathetic identification with the characters in the play.
Alternating Current Abbrev. to AC. Electrical current that 'alternates' direction in the cable. The electrical power standard used in Australia.
Ambience The mix of background noise and other reflected sounds that make up a room's acoustic character. More recently, a generic description of new age music.
Ampère The unit of electrical current flow. (From the French physicist Ampère, 1775 - 1836). André Marie Ampère was a French physicist and mathematician, noted for his important discoveries in the field of magnetism and electricity. Ampère was once called the "Newton of electricity".
Amphitheatre An outdoor theatrical setting, usually with a large semi-circular seating area sloping down to the stage. Sometimes a very large indoor venue. The amphitheatre was developed by the Romans to provide convenient accommodation for large numbers of spectators at exhibitions of gladiatorial combats and beast hunts. The amphitheatre was one of the earliest examples of reserved ticketing. Tickets noted which arch to enter through, and the section, row, and seat numbers. They were also big. The amphitheatre at Pompeii, built 80BC sat 20,000, while the Colosseum in Rome, built 29BC by Statilus Tauros, held an estimated 45,000 to 50,000 spectators.
Amplifier An electronic device that amplifies sound signals to a point where they great enough to be heard through a speaker.
Angels Financial backers of a production.
Angel Walk A walkway across the rafters in a building's ceiling.
Ante-Pros (US). See Front of House Lighting.
Antagonist The chief opponent of the protagonist in a drama.
Apotheosis Final scene or tableau in which the characters are elevated to immortality.
Apron A part of the stage projecting towards or into the auditorium. In proscenium stages, the part of the stage in front of the curtain. (UK) See Forestage.
Arc 1) A luminous discharge between two separate carbon ends. 2) Old type of followspot in which the light was generated by a carbon arc discharge. Inefficient and inconvenient because the carbon rod had to be continuously adjusted and replaced, even during performances.
Arena Theatre A theatre in which the audience sits on all sides of an acting area. Originates in Roman times, when the arena was the oval space in a Roman amphitheatre where the combats and other entertainment took place.
ARX Australian audio equipment manufacturer.
Assistant Stage Manager Abbrev. to ASM. According the size of the show, there may be one or more ASM's who assist the Stage Manager with properties and other activities on stage.
ASM See Assistant Stage Manager.
ATAEA The Australian Theatrical and Amusement Employees Association - the union for Australian theatre technicians. Now, as part of the move towards the so-called super unions, has been amalgamated into the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, together with Actor's Equity. (Aust.)
At Rise The action occurring on the stage when the curtain opens.
Attenuator A device to reduce the level of sound or light at its source.
Auditorium The part of the theatre designed to accommodate the audience. Auditorium can also describe the entire theatre, and has been in use as a word since the 18th century, although there were other words with the same meaning before that. Incidentally, the plural can be either auditoriums or auditoria. Also House.
Auditorium Lights See House Lights.
Australian Monitor Australian manufacturer of audio equipment including speakers and amplifiers.
Auxiliary Send See Send.
Avab Swedish lighting desk manufacturer.
Automated Light A light that has motors and other equipment attached that allow such things as movement and colour selection to be controlled remotely. Now becoming a major force in lighting design for all types of events because it can both dramatically reduce the number of conventional lanterns needed, and produce visually very exciting effects.
Axial See Base Down.
Azimuth The angle between the surface of an audio tape and the tape heads.
Baby Spot A small spotlight under 500 watts.
Back Cloth Cloth, usually painted, suspended from the flys at the rear of the stage. Also Back Drop.
Back Drop See Back Cloth.
Backing 1) Cloth or solid pieces placed behind doorways and other openings on sets to conceal the stage machinery or building behind. 2) Financial support for a production.
Backstage In proscenium theatres, the area behind the proscenium arch. The term also refers to such areas in non-proscenium theatres and to any part of the stage not in the acting area during a performance.
Baffle 1) A wall of timber or board that separates sound sources such as speakers from surfaces that might reflect sound back and thus to cancel out the sound. 2) A metal plate or strip within a lantern that stops light exiting the lantern housing through openings other than the lens, usually the cooling vents.
Balanced Line An audio cable in which the two audio lines, positive (hot) and negative are kept electrically separate from the earth. A way of reducing hum and noise on the cable.
Ballad Opera A musical with songs based on popular melodies or tunes e.g. THE BEGGARS OPERA.
Ballast A means of giving stability to otherwise unstable electrical loads. 1) Resistive ballast - practice of patching a lantern onto a dimmer that is running an inductive load, for example a fan. 2) Inductive ballast is required by discharge type lanterns as part of the circuitry to control the current that is available to the lamp.
Band Call Any orchestral rehearsal but particularly a musical rehearsal with cast and musicians without the acting movements. (UK)
Bar Horizontally flown rod (usually metal) from which scenery, lighting, and other equipment is suspended. Also Batten (US), Barrel. Standard diameter for a bar is 48mm OD (Outside diameter). G-Clamps are made for this size.
Barre The bar running around the wall of a dance rehearsal room used by the dancers to hold on to during some exercises in a dance class.
Barndoor Adjustable doors attached to the front of stage lanterns to control the area of light covered by a particular beam. (UK)
Baroque Theatre A sumptuous, spectacular form of theatre popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. Noted for its ability to extend beyond the confines of the stage and involving elaborate changeable scenery.
Barrel See Bar.
Base See Lamp Base.
Base Down Lantern where the bottom of the lamp is orientated down, and thus the glass envelope sits vertically. Some lanterns utilise an 'axial' orientation, where the globe sits horizontally.
Basic Situation The fundamental premise or story line on which a play is based.
Bass The lowest end of the audible audio frequency spectrum.
Bass Reflex Speaker A type of speaker which, through its special design utilising the movement of air created by the speaker inside the speaker box, is particularly good at reproducing bass frequencies.
Batten 1) See Bar. 2) Piece of wood attached to, or metal pipe slipped into a sleeve at the bottom of, a flown cloth to straighten it and keep it taut. (UK) 3) Piece of wood joining two flats. (UK) 4) A group of stage lights suspended over the stage. (UK) Also X-lights. (US)
Bayonet Cap The push and turn domestic light bulb fitting.
BC See Bayonet Cap.
Beam Angle The angle of the cone of light emitted from a lantern.
Beam Light A lantern with no lens, using a reflector that produces a parallel beam of light. Also Beam Projector. (UK)
Beam Projector See Beam Light.
Beginners A call given by the stage manager to bring those actors who appear at the beginning of the play or act to the stage. Traditionally given five minutes before curtain time. Also Places Please (US).
Bells Electric bell or tone sounded in all front of house areas to warn the audience that the performance is about to begin or resume.
Bifocal Spot Spotlight with additional shutters to allow hard and soft edges. (UK)
Bio-Box The room, usually at the rear of the auditorium, or some other good vantage point, from which the lighting and sound is controlled. Also Control Room. (From Greek 'Bios' = Way of Life)
Bio-Mechanics When applied to theatre, means the primary focus is on the efficiency and elegance of the actor's movements.
Bi-Post Type of lamp base with two power connection pins - some have one pin larger than another.
Black Light Ultra Violet light. (UK)
Blackout A total, sometimes sudden, extinguishing of the stage lights, often at the end of a scene or act.
Blending Light Lighting used to smooth the join between lights covering specific stage areas to as to produce a seamless effect.
Blinders Audience blinders - high intensity flood lights mounted to focus on the audience. Turned on to create an impact on the audience and perhaps cover a scene change.
Blind Operation System on semi and fully computerised lighting control desks that allows the operator to adjust stored lighting states without affecting the lighting states currently on stage. The state to be altered is normally contained in a part of the lighting desk's memory called the Blind Store while the state on stage is contained in the Live Store.
Blocking The process of roughing out the moves to be made by the actors. Also Grouping.
BO See Black Out.
Board Lighting or audio control panel. (UK) Also Desk.
Book 1) Noun - Alternative term for the scripts. 2) Noun - The prompt copy. 3) Noun - The part of a musical show conducted in dialogue. 4) Verb - To arrange the services of actors and musicians.
Book Flat Two flats hinged together on the vertical. Also Two-Fold (US).
Booking 1) Verb - Closing a book flat. 2) Noun - An engagement of a show.
Boom 1) A vertical lighting bar. (UK) 2) A moveable arm supporting a lantern, microphone or camera (TV).
Boom Arm A clamp used to hang a lantern from a boom. (UK)
Boomerangs Vertical side lighting booms fixed to the stage.
Border Flown scenic piece or curtain designed to conceal the upper part of the stage and its machinery or lighting equipment. (UK)
Border Lights See Battens.
Bose A major American audio equipment manufacturer. The Bose 802 speaker is virtually an industry standard for portability and high quality sound output.
Bounce 1) To bring in the House Curtain fast, then take it out again immediately. 2) Lighting term describing light beams reflected off the stage or set.
Bowline Popular type of knot with a sailing origin, used to secure the end of a rope to a bar or other fixed object.
Box Boom A vertical lighting bar, once fixed to the auditorium wall near the seating boxes, but now used generically to refer to any vertical lighting bar in the auditorium.
Box Set Setting which encloses the acting area on three sides. Conventionally in imitation of a room from which the fourth wall has been removed. (UK).
Box Truss See Truss.
Brace See Stage Brace.
Brace Cleat An attachment on a flat into which a stage brace can be hooked. (UK)
Brail To pull a flying piece upstage or downstage from its natural free-hanging position by means of short rope lines attached to the ends of the fly bar. (UK)
Brake Lever on a counterweight system that locks the rope, so stopping accidental movement.
Break A Leg Traditional good luck greeting between cast and crew before a performance. Also Chookas, Fall Down Backward.
Breaker See Circuit Breaker.
Breaker Board See Distribution Board.
Breaking Character When actors do or say something which is inconsistent with the character they are portraying.
Breakup See Deckle.
Breast To move a flying piece upstage or downstage from its natural free-hanging position by means of a rope line passed between fly floors and crossing the fly bar's suspension lines. (UK)
Bridge Walkway above the stage or auditorium used to reach stage equipment. (UK)
Bring Up To increase the intensity of the lanterns.
Briole Wire ropes attached to chain motors used to set the correct heights for whatever is being rigged e.g. speakers.
Broadcast Quality Term used to describe an audio or video source or recording as being of a high enough quality to broadcast on radio or television without further enhancement.
Bubble Jargon for Lamp.
Bus Bar Metal strip to which electrical cables are commoned together i.e. an earth link bus bar.
Business Movements or activity used by the actors to reinforce their character.
Build 1) To increase the intensity of the lanterns. (UK) 2) To construct a scene from its different elements. (UK)
Bulb See Lamp.
Bump-in/out The process of moving all of a company's equipment in/out of a theatre. This includes scenery, props, lanterns, costumes and so on. (AUS)
Bus And Truck Tour designed for short stops, usually 1 to 4 nights. (US)
Cadenza Range of 2000 watt lanterns by Strand Electric. Cadenza is a good choice for a lantern name - a cadenza is also an elaborate showy passage for a singer near the end of an aria, or for a musician near the end of a concerto.
Call 1) A notification of a working session e.g. rehearsal call. (UK) 2) A request for an actor to come to the stage as his entrance is imminent, formerly by call boy, now by loudspeaker system in the dressing rooms. (UK) 3) An acknowledgment of applause .e.g. Curtain Call. (UK)
Camera Left The right hand side of the stage as viewed by the cast facing the audience. Also Stage Right, Opposite Prompt.
Camera Right The left hand side of the stage as viewed by the cast facing the audience. Also Stage Left, Prompt Side.
Cannon XLR Industry standard cable connector system.
Cans See Talkback.
Cardioid A type of directional microphone that is more sensitive to sound from one direction, and rejects unwanted noise from the sides. (UK)
Carousel Jargon - originally denoted a Kodak 35mm slide projector with horizontally rotating circular slide magazine, but now applies to other manufacturers' projectors. (UK)
Casuals Part time temporary staff. (UK)
Cat walk See Bridge.
CCT English manufacturer of theatrical lanterns. CCT were first to develop profile spots with a variable zoom beam angle.
CCTV Closed Circuit Television. (UK)
Centre Line An imaginary line running from the front to the back of the stage through the exact centre of the proscenium arch. (UK)
Centre Stage The middle of the acting area. Abbrev. CS.
Chain Motor A motorised winch that uses metal chain to lift heavy objects. Widespread usage in the concert production industry to fly speakers and lighting equipment above a stage.
Chains 1) See Trim Chains. (UK) 2) Sometimes used to weight the bottom of drapes and gauzes. (UK)
Channel A sound or light control circuit. (UK) Also Circuit.
Charonian Steps Steps used in ancient Greek theatre by actors to emerge from below stage to symbolise their appearance from the underworld.
Chase A repeated sequence of changing lighting states.
Check Decrease in lighting intensity. (UK)
Chookas Traditional good luck greeting between cast and crew before a performance. Also Break A Leg, Fall Down Backward.
Choreographer Designs and creates the dance elements and arrangements for a show.
Chorus Set of performers who speak, sing and/or dance as a group rather than individually.
Chromatic Aberrations Rings of colour visible around the main circle of light, produced by inferior quality lenses or incorrect focus adjustment.
Cinemoid A brand of colour filter, produced by Strand Electric. (UK)
Circuit 1) A complete path from the electrical supply to the lamp. When such a path includes a dimmer, it should be called a channel, but the word 'circuit' is often used loosely to include channel. (UK) 2) A series of theatres regularly visited by touring companies. (UK)
Circuit Breaker A type of electrical fuse, which does not use a replaceable piece of fuse wire. Can be reset simply by operating a switch.
Clamp 'G' or 'C' clamps are normally attached to lanterns and are used to fasten them to the lighting bars or battens.
Claquers People paid to lead the audience in applause. Sometimes known as cheerleaders or friends in front. (from French claquer = clap)
Clear A lamp with a transparent envelope.
Cleat 1) Fitting on flats to which throw lines are secured. (UK) 2) See Grudgeon.
Clipping Overloading a piece of audio equipment by feeding in a signal too great for the unit to handle, thereby leading to distortion.
Cloth Area of scenic canvas hanging vertically. (UK)
Cod To overstate, play up for all its worth.
Colour Boomerang A type of colour changer on a followspot.
Colour Cut/Call A listing of the colour filters required in each lighting instrument. (UK)
Colour Filter The translucent filter material place in front of lanterns to create a coloured illumination. Colour filters can be made of glass or gelatine, hence Gel, but today are usually made from a synthetic plastic material. Also Gel, Medium, Media.
Colour Frame Holder for the colour medium or filter which slots into a set of guides in front of a lantern.
Colour Wheel A wheel attached to the front of a spot light with openings for different colour filters. It is used for making colour changes and can be motor driven or manually operated.
Colour Changer Mechanical device, usually manually operated, used to insert colour gels in front of a lantern. Often used on followspots.
Come Down When the show 'comes down', the performance is finished.
Compact Disk Digital sound playback system, now in most homes. There is now a recording system that allows one time recordings to be made as well.
Company Manager In charge of the overall welfare of all technical and acting staff, including paying wages, organising accommodation, and liaising with the venue.
Complication A twist introduced into a play which heightens tension and prolongs the climax of the story.
Compressor An audio unit that reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal, often used as a protective or control device for audio systems.
Computerised Lighting Desk A lighting control system entirely operated via a built in computer system. Instead of the 'one channel one fader' principal of a manual desk, channels are controlled using key pads and other data entry buttons and faders. Some desks are extremely sophisticated and able to run the performance with only minimal human operation, including interfacing to, and controlling such things as hydraulic and mechanical stage systems. Also Memory Desk.
Concert Pitch The common tuning standard for musical instruments, agreed in 1960, where the note A = 440 Hz (or vibrations per second).
Condenser Microphone A particularly sensitive type of microphone where the audio signal is generated through the change in capacitance between two very small metal plates. Requires a supply voltage to operate.
Conflict The struggle between two or more actors leading to a climax.
Control Room See Bio-Box.
Corner Plate Triangle of plywood used to reinforce the corners of flats.
Corpse (Verb) To laugh uncontrollably on stage.
Counterweight System Counterweight House - a theatre that uses counterweights. A system of suspending scenery above a stage which enables it to be raised or lowered easily. The scenes are attached to a bar, which in turn is suspended by steel cable that runs to the grid, and then down the side wall and to the weight cradle. The cradle runs along tracks bolted to the wall. For every kilo on the bar, a weight is placed in the cradle, so balancing the system. Once balanced most items can be flown i.e. moved up or down, without much physical effort.
Counterweights Weights which are placed in the weight cradle of a flying system to counterbalance the weight of the scenery to be flown. (UK)
Cover A term used particularly in opera for a stand-by or understudy actor. (UK)
Crash Box Box used for creating sound effects.
Cressets Lengths of rope dipped in pitch and lit in small open cages and used as stage lighting in the 17th century. (From Latin 'Crassus' = fat or grease)
Crew Loose term covering all those who work on a show backstage.
Cross The movement of an actor across the stage in any direction.
Crossfade Lighting or sound change where some of the channels increase while others decrease. (UK)
Crossover 1) The device on a sound system that routes the sound of the correct pitch to the correct part of the loudspeaker. 2) The space behind the stage setting or below the stage through which actors can get from one side of the stage to the other out of view of the audience.
Crossover Frequency The audio frequency at which a crossover operates.
Crosstalk Electrical leaking between audio channels.
CSI (Compact Source Iodine) A type of high intensity discharge lamp, cannot be dimmed electrically. (UK)
Cue The signal that initiates a change of any kind during a performance. (UK)
Cued script A cut down version of the full script, prepared especially for a particular actor, showing only that actor's speeches with a few lines either side for cues. Usually on a smaller paper size such as quarto so it can be kept easily in a bag or pocket.
Cue Light Box with 2 or more lights, usually red and green, to warn an actor or technician to go to stand-by and then do whatever is required. Ensures greater precision when visibility or audibility is limited.
Cue Sheet A list showing the cues in correct order as they are to be carried out.
Cue Synopsis A list of proposed lighting cues drawn up prior to plotting, giving a description of what lights should change when in the performance. An excellent tool to speed up the plotting process, instead of trying to start from scratch in the theatre.
Cue-to-cue A technical rehearsal specifically for the technical crew to work fully through the cues, often by skipping parts of the script. Also Top And Tail Rehearsal.
Curtain 1) The drapery which hides the stage from the audience. See House Curtain. 2) The action of the House Curtain coming down at the end of an Act or the play. 3) The last piece of action on the stage before the House Curtain comes down.
Curtain Down See Come Down.
Curtain Line 1) The final line of a scene or act which gives the cue for the curtain to come down. In a tradition dating from Elizabethan times it is considered unlucky to speak the curtain line in rehearsal. 2) The imaginary line across the stage where the curtain falls.
Curtain Raiser Similar to the after piece, developed in France in the late 18th century as a short play to bridge the gap between the beginning of the performance and the arrival of late audience members. Generally the curtain raiser had nothing to do with the main performance.
Curtain Speech Address to the audience by an actor, without the persona of the character the actor is supposed to be portraying.
Curtain Time See Curtain Up.
Curtain Up The beginning of the show. Also Curtain Time.
Cut And Run Term used towards the end of the 18th century when actors cut their lines and left the stage, for one reason or another.
Cut Cloth Vertical scenic piece cut to reveal more scenery behind it.
Cut Off Angle Light beam angle at which the light striking the subject is 1% of that emitted.
Cut-Out Flat A shaped flat in plywood or hardboard.
Cyclorama A perfectly plain screen with a uniform surface extending around and above the stage to give a feeling of infinite space. It can also be used for the projection of designs and shadows. In English repertory theatres it was traditionally made of concrete and thus the back wall of the stage. (UK) Also Sky-cloth. (From Greek 'Kuklos' = circle and 'Horama' = view).
Dark A theatre which is temporarily or permanently closed to the public. (UK)
DAT Abbrev. for Digital Audio Tape. Digital sound recording and playback system that uses a tape similar in shape to the standard audio cassette.
Day Man Permanent full time member of the technical staff .e.g. Electrics Dayman. (UK)
DBO See Dead Black Out.
dbx Company best known for its range of audio signal processors such as compressors and noise gates.
DC See Direct Current.
DDM Early Strand Electric memory lighting control console, released in early 1970's.
Dead 1) The plotted height of a piece of suspended scenery or masking. (UK) 2) Props or pieces of set which are no longer required. (UK)
Dead Black Out Abbrev. to DBO. A total extinguishing of all light on stage.
Dead Lines Suspension lines which are fixed and not able to be raised or lowered via the normal pulley system. (UK)
Deckle Really any Gobo, but more now commonly a Gobo with a random pattern of holes, often used to produce a dappled or softened light on stage. Also Breakup.
Decibel (db) Unit of measure of the volume of sound.
Delay Unit See Digital Delay.
De-multiplexer A unit that translates digital signals into analogue. The term is pronounced D-M-U-X.
Denouement The process during which all tensions and conflicts generated in the performance are resolved.(From the French = unknotting, the unravelling of plot or complications in a story.)
Deputy Stage Manager On larger shows a Deputy Stage Manager is employed to lighten the load on the Stage Manager. This can include running some rehearsals, and calling cues from the Prompt Book during the performance.
Designer Responsible for the conception and supervision of the execution of the visual aspects of the production. Separate designers may be employed for scenery, costumes, lighting etc. (UK)
Desk See Board.
Deus ex machina The event or person that saves a situation in the nick of time. (from Latin = god from the machinery - a device by which gods were suspended above the stage in ancient theatre).
DI A 'direct inject' box used to feed the output of an electronic instrument e.g. a guitar or synthesiser straight to the audio system.
Dialogue The lines or words spoken by the cast in a show.
Diaphragm See Iris.
Diffusion Filter Used like a gel but to soften and spread the beam of light rather than to colour it. Also Frost.
Digital (Audio) The system used to convert an normal analog sound into digital numbers that can be transmitted, then converted back into sound. The system used in compact audio disks.
Digital (Lighting) The system used to convert the many outputs of a lighting desk into a single signal that can be transmitted over a small cable to the dimmer racks, thus saving an enormous weight and amount of lighting control cable.
Digital Delay Solid state echo unit, allows the controlled generation of repeats of the selected sound.
Dimmer Electrical device which controls the amount of electricity passed to a lamp and therefore the intensity of the light. Dimmers are normally numbered sequentially, and the numbers shown on the Lighting Design in next to the relevant lanterns. The dimmer is controlled from the Lighting Desk via a low voltage control signal.
Dimmer Rack A set of dimmers in a single case.
Diorama A spectacular 3 dimensional effect was created by a specially painted cloth and carefully focussed lighting. Invented by Louis Daguerre in Paris 1822, the man who is also credited with inventing photography. (From Greek, 'Dia' = through, and 'Horama' = view).
Dipless Crossfade A cross fade where lighting already up in the first state, and which appears in the new state, does not visibly alter.
Dips 1) Small flaps in the stage floor giving access to electrical sockets and other connections. (UK) Also Floor Pockets (US). 2) A special lacquer into which globes can be dipped to produce different colours.
Direct Current Abbrev. to DC. Opposite to Alternating Current, the electrical power flows in one direction only. Batteries supply Direct Current.
Director Has the ultimate responsibility for the interpretation of the script through his control of the actors and supporting production team.
Discharge Lamps A lamp which produces light by the arcing of electricity between two electrodes, the process occurring in a gas filled glass envelope - the lamp. See Arc.
Discovered At Rise Actors present on stage when the curtain rises or the lights come up.
Distribution Board The electrical panel where incoming mains power is split into individual circuits, via circuit breakers, for distribution through a building.
Diversity Receiver A radio microphone receiver that, in order to yield greater reliability and improved audio quality, contains two separate receiver sections each with its own aerial, and tuned to the transmitter frequency. The unit automatically selects the strongest signal and thus can avoid signal dropouts.
DMUX See De-Multiplexer.
DMX 512 A digital lighting data protocol standard widely used around the world.
Dock Area at the rear or side of the stage where scenery is stored when not in use or where materials are loaded to and from the trucks or vehicles. (UK) Also Scene Dock.
Dolby Noise Reduction A patented, now industry standard, electronic system to reduce noise on audio recordings.
Dolly 1) A small trolley or truck used to move set or props. 2) As for 1) but on which a film camera is mounted to allow action to be filmed while the camera is moving. (TV)
Dome See Follow Spot. (Known as a Dome because often that was where the lantern and its operator were situated, in the dome in the auditorium).
Double Handling Moving scenery or equipment more than necessary because it was not correctly positioned in the first place.
Double Purchase Counterweight flying system where the cradle travels half the distance of the fly bar's travel and therefore leaves the side wall of the stage under the Fly Floor clear of flying equipment.
Downstage The part of the stage closest to the audience. Abbrev. D/S.
Dowser Metal plate in a non-dimmable followspot that the operator swings up to cut off the light output to produce a blackout.
Draw Line Operating cord of a set of traversing curtains.
Dress See Dress Rehearsal.
Dress Parade Prior to the first stage dress rehearsal the actors put on each of their costumes in sequence so that the director and designer can check the state of preparedness of the wardrobe. (US)
Dress Rehearsal Also known simply as the 'dress', the final rehearsal before the performance. The actors are in costume and all technical problems should have been sorted out.
Dresser Crew member who assists actors with costume care and costume changing during the performance.
Drift The length of the suspension wire between the counterweight bar and the top of the piece to be flown.
Dry When cast members forget their lines and cannot continue they have 'dried'.
Dry Ice Frozen blocks or pellets of carbon dioxide - when placed in hot water melt to produce a mist which, because it is heavier then air, will hang close to the floor.
DSM See Deputy Stage Manager.
Duet Popular, easy to use, micro-processor controlled Strand lighting desk, released in the late 1970's.
Dumb show The precursor to the speechless character of Harlequin. The dumb show was a feature of English Tudor era pageantry.
Dutchman Material used to smooth the gap between abutting flats. (US)
Dynamic Microphone Type of microphone - and the simplest. Can be likened to a loudspeaker in that dynamic microphones operate principally in reverse. The sound pressure entering the microphone moves a diaphragm, which causes electrical energy to be produced. Very popular for its robustness and reliability under physical extremes.
Dynamic Range The range of an audio signal from its lowest to highest level.