Theater Terminology

Most people pick up theater terminology through experience, but the vast array of terms can seem intimidating or inaccessible. This page compiles Second Stage's particular terminology, as well as technical terms you may encounter at Wesleyan and beyond. If you encounter a term in the field that isn't covered by this page, please reach out to us and we will add the definition below!

For more information on the various technical and creative roles in theater, click here.


Second Stage Terms

+ Production Manager

Production Managers replace our old system of GAs supervising Second Stage productions. Production Managers operate exactly the same as GAs except perform a more hands-on role, helping to lead production meetings and making sure all Second Stage rules are followed.

+ General Advisor (GA)

(These are to be phased out by new Production Manager roles.)

GAs are the main supervisors for Second Stage productions. These Second Stage staffers assist and advice with whatever needs a show may have.

+ Staff Representative (SR)

SRs are the house staff for Second Stage shows. The SRs will arrive an hour before your show to deal with ticketing, ushers, and any calamities that may occur before or during your performance.

+ Ushers

Wesleyan students who help with ticketing for Second Stage productions. We do not offer reserves for Wesleyan students who didn't work on the show in order to encourage inclusivity for all students. Nevertheless, ushers have the chance to reserve a ticket for themselves by volunteering to help for a specific performance.

+ Director & Stage Manager (DSM)

The Director and Stage Manager spearhead and run their productions. We meet with shows' DSM teams at a few points throughout the production process to make sure everything is running on track and to receive feedback to improve Second Stage.

+ AnyStage

AnyStage is our initiative to provide a place for students to try out theater in a live setting under low pressure. You can act, write, or direct in AnyStage productions, which do not require staging (although feel free to stage your show!) and go up at any point during the semester. The AnyStage Festival happens once a year usually during the Fall semester and includes numerous AnyStage shows that go up during a short span of time in various campus spaces. It's a great place to get your feet wet and meet people if you're new to theater!

+ One-Day Plays (ODP)

One-Day Plays is Second Stage's kickstart to the theatrical season during which actors, directors, and writers come together to write, direct, and act in short plays in just twenty-four hours! Writers stay up overnight, while directors and actors work all day starting the following morning to put on the craziest productions they possibly can in such a short time span.

+ Monday Meetings

Second Stage staff meets weekly to approve budgets, discuss agenda items, and communicate with production teams to assure that every team has their needs met. While this policy has changed slightly over time, we still meet with each show several times a semester, and this semester's meeting schedule can be found here.

+ Risers

The '92 does not have a permanent setup for audience seating. Instead, we have moveable risers that we can configure into different arrangements depending on which orientation a show is utilizing. During tech week, all members of the show's production team, cast, and all of Second Stage staff will help put up the risers and chairs for the performance.



Technical Terms

+ Production Meeting

Meetings (usually weekly) where the show's designers meet with the director and stage manager to discuss everyone's progress and make creative decisions.

+ Green Room

Location where actors can hang out when not performing. Second Stage meetings take place in our green room, which is located in the basement of the '92.

+ Sitzprobe

When the band and cast play / sing through the entirety of a musical for the first time.

+ Cues

Events at which a lighting, sound, or set element changes. May also apply to other design elements such as projections.

+ Tech Week

The final week of a production during which all of the designers and crew members test and rehearse the show's technical elements.

+ Paper Tech

The meeting between the show's designers and DSM team where the Stage Manager writes down all cues to be called during the show.

+ Load-in

At the beginning of tech week, when the crew brings in and sets up the set and all technical elements including sound equipment and lighting instruments.

+ Focus

When the Master Electrician and Lighting Designer adjust all lights to be at the right angle and sharpness.

+ Q2Q

A run-through of the show's lighting and sound cues (often with actors onstage) to see if any cues need to be added / altered and to make sure all technical elements are functioning properly.

+ Coms (Intercoms)

Devices that allow the Stage Manager to communicate with the LBO and SBO to call cues during a performance. Also allows for communication during tech rehearsals.

+ 10 Out Of 12

A twelve-hour workday with two one-hour breaks. Occurs once or twice during a tech week (although Second Stage productions often do not have a 10 Out Of 12).

+ Dry Tech

Rehearsal without the use of technical elements.

+ Wet Tech

Rehearsal with the use of technical elements.

+ Strike

After the final performance, when the cast and crew (and Second Stage staff) dissemble the set and put away all equipment.