Stage Layout & Terms

Stage Terms

Stage: The platform on which actors perform.

Proscenium: The arch that separates the stage from the audience.

House: The audience side of the proscenium arch. Sometimes used to refer to the audience.

Wings: The areas of the stage off to the sides of the performance space. Usually hidden by curtains.

Orchestra Pit: The sunken area just in front of the stage where the musicians and conductor perform during a show.

Apron/Thrust: Area of the stage that extends out into the audience. Often covers the Orchestra Pit if no musicians are needed for a show.

Black Box: A smaller theater where the actors and audience are in the same room.

Stage Directions

Stage Right: The right side of the stage from the actor’s perspective.

Stage Left: The left side of the stage from actor’s perspective.

Upstage: The area of the stage farthest from the audience

Downstage: The area of the stage closest to the audience

Center Line: Imaginary line at the middle of the stage that runs from the front of the stage to the back.

Types of Stage Curtains

Front Settings: The furthest downstage, and usually most decorative, of the stage curtains. Usually made up of the Front Curtain and Main Valance.

Front Curtain: Large curtain that hangs farthest downstage (just behind the proscenium arch). Typically a bi-part track system, but sometimes a Lift, Venetian, or Braille system.                                                                                                             Also called:  Main Curtain, Grand Drape

Main Valance: Horizontal curtain that hangs farthest downstage (usually in front of the Front Curtain) and hides the ceiling and rigging materials from the audience.

Masking Curtains: The curtains behind the Front Settings that are used to hide areas of the stage from the audience. They are usually black and made up of Legs and Borders.

Legs: Tall and narrow curtains used to hide the wings (or sides) of the stage from the audience.                                                   Also called:  Tormentors, Tabs, Vertical Masking

Borders: Similar to the Main Valance, Borders are used to hide the ceiling and rigging materials from the audience.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also called:  Teasers, Valances, Horizontal Masking

Travelers: Similar to the Front Curtain, Travelers move along a track to open and close and allow the stage to be sectioned off.                                                                                                                                                                                    Also called:  Act Curtains, Concert Curtains

Cyclorama: A large flat curtain that covers the rear wall of the stage and acts as a panel for lighting effects or painting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also called:  Cyc, Backdrop

Scrim: A large flat curtain with an open weave (similar to a net) that creates the illusion of a solid wall when lit from the front and appears transparent when lit from behind.

  1. Valance
  2. Front Curtain
  3. Legs
  4. Legs
  5. Rear Curtain
  6. Cyclorama