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Basic Theater Terminology For Beginners

Basic Theater Terminology For Beginners

New to the performance scene? We have got you! As you begin to delve into the world of performing, you may hear some new terms and phrases. Every performer was a newbie at some point in their lives. In this blog post, we will arm you with some basic theater terminology to prepare you for your place in the spotlight!

Rehearsal – a scheduled time for performers to practice their act or routine.

If you book a gig and they provide you with time to rehearse, excellent! This just allows you to get your number in tip top shape and ready to go. Even better if you get the opportunity to practice in the performance venue or on the stage.

Tech Rehearsal – a scheduled time to practice your number with the technical crew.

The technical crew is your best friend! Tech rehearsal allows you time to work with the people who will be running your sound, lights, and dealing with any props or costumes that you use for your routine. Getting these people familiar with the elements of your act allows for a more smooth and professional show.

Run Through – a scheduled rehearsal of all of the acts or routines in a show.

This type of rehearsals gives performers as well as directors/ managers a real time rough draft of a show. A run though will typically start with the very first number in a show and then go through each additional act in order through to the end.

Dress Rehearsal – a scheduled rehearsal to be done while in costume

In these types of rehearsals, performers wear the costumes that are showcased in their acts. This rehearsal benefits both the technical crew as well as the performer. The performer gets the opportunity to see what their routine runs like and feels like while wearing their costume and the technical staff gets to see how the costume works with lighting and the stage.

Costume – any article of clothing to be worn for an act or on stage.

Yup! Even if your routine involves you wearing your everyday pajamas, those pieces of clothing are your costume when worn for a performance.

Prop – (technically short for “property) any item touched by a performer on stage.

Does your routine require you to sit on a chair? The chair is a prop! Are you dancing with feather fans? The fans are a prop! Do you chug a carton of milk in your act? Prop! Anything that you handle or touch on the stage during your routine is considered a prop.

Call Time / Performer Call – the designated time that a performer is required to be at the venue.

This is the time communicated to a performer that they are required to be present at the venue. This time is typically well before the start of a show and allows both the performer and crew to prepare for the show.

Backstage – the area of a venue used by performers and crew that is out of the view of an audience.

This space is typically used for storage, preparation, dressing, and the general workings of a show. The area is generally reserved for performers and crew only.

Onstage – the designated performance area that is visible to the audience.

If you are standing in a place where the audience can see you, you are considered to be onstage.

Cast – the performers in a show.

Crew – the people responsible for making the show run.

Armed with a well-rehearsed routine and the above terminology, you are ready to go! Always be sure to communicate any needs with the management and crew and you will be set for a smooth sailing performance!

Miss F-Bomb, “The Hottest Weapon in the Burlesque Arsenal”, is smooth like Southern Bourbon, spiked with a tart calamansi. Don’t underestimate her feminine wiles for she is a firecracker within. With her sardonic smile and legs for miles she will make your heart (and other things) go BOOM! Miss F-Bomb has an extensive dance and theater background and is the lead choreographer, kitten wrangler, prop mistress, and PR rep for Cabaret & Cocktails.

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