Theatrical Terms by Ray Sanchez

A quick glossary of theatrical terms intended to help directors, cast and technical crew all speak the same “language” regarding stage direction!


Up stage Part of the stage away from the audience.

Upstage Superseding the primary action of the scene; “stealing the show.”

Down stage Part of the stage closest to the audience.

Stage right Part of the stage to the ACTORS’ right.

Stage Left Part of the stage to the ACTORS’ left.

Project Speaking loudly and with power; from the diaphragm.

Open Allowing more of the actor’s front side to be seen by facing the audience more.

Close Turning the actor’s back toward the audience.

Onstage Able to be seen by the audience.

Offstage Not seen by the audience–also backstage.

Milking Actors pausing in their scripts to allow the audience to clap or laugh.

Animation Exaggerated body language or facial expressions that allow the audience to read the actors’ emotions or reactions.

Dialogue Scripted conversation between two or more characters.