Your video guide to theatre lingo

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What We Do

What We Do
01

We make videos about theatre terms

The theatre has hundreds of specialized words and phrases. We define them with fun, short videos.

02

We add essays to every video

Want to go deeper? Along with a video, every term we define gets an essay that explains its history, usage, and alternate meanings.

03

We ask what YOU think

Want to add a definition? Share a story? Make your own video? Every dictionary term also has a blog page where you can join the conversation.

From The Blog

From The Blog
  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term papering the house. On papering the house’s official page, we define the term as “distributing free tickets to early performances of a production to boost audiences and spread word of mouth.” But now we want to know what the term papering the house means to you. [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term ad lib. On ad lib’s official page, we define the term as “speaking in character, but without using dialogue officially written in a script.” But now we want to know what ad libbing means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us. – [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term going dark. On going dark’s official page, we define the term as a warning given to the cast and crew that the lights are about to go off in a theatre. That makes us think of tech rehearsals, obviously, and we want to hear your best [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term heckling. On heckling’s official page, we define the term as “aggressively interrupting a performance with disturbing and abusive comments.” But now we want to know what the term heckling means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us. – Have you ever seen [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term experimental theatre. On experimental theatre’s official page, we define the term as “rejecting dominant methods of producing and writing plays.” But now we want to know what the term experimental theatre means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us. – Have you [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term understudy. On understudy’s official page, we define the term as “an actor who temporarily takes over a role when the regular performer is sick or unable to go on.” But now we want to know what the term understudy means to you. You can use the [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term inamorata. On inamorata’s official page, we explain that the term often refers to the female leading role in a romantic comedy, though it can also be applied to the heroines of grand operas or Shakespeare tragedies. But now we want to know what the term inomarata [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term deus ex machina. On deus ex machina’s official page, we explain that the Latin term translates as “god from the machine,” which has evolved to mean “not just a god saving the day, but any contrived ending that introduces a new element to solve the story’s [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term scrim. On scrim’s official page, we define the term as “a special type of fabric that can be translucent, transparent or opaque depending on how it’s lit. In theater, lighting designers use a scrim to hide something or someone until the exact moment they want audiences [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term sung through. On sung through’s official page, we define the term as “a musical where all (or almost all) of the text is rendered in song.” But now we want to know what the term sung through means to you. You can use the comments section [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term chewing the scenery. On chewing the scenery’s official page, we define the term as “to overact or act in a way that is distracting.” But now we want to know what the term chewing the scenery means to you. You can use the comments section to [...]

  • Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term off-book. On off-book’s official page, we define the term as “having memorized all your lines in a script, and also knowing your cues for when to say them.” But now we want to know what the term off-book means to you. You can use the comments [...]