Here kitty, kitty, kitty!
Have you ever been on a catwalk at a theatre or seen the lighting or sound crew use a catwalk to hang lights or operate their equipment during a show? Tell us about it here!
The term makes you think of a cat walking carefully on a narrow ledge. But it’s really not about cats at all.
In the theatre, catwalk is the name for a long, narrow passageway high above the stage or audience that must be crossed very carefully, as a cat walks.
Catwalks are necessary in theatres to provide easy access for stage crews to suspend and maintain lighting instruments and microphones directed at the stage. Most catwalks are located in positions hidden from audience view or above the audience, and stairs or ladders up to the catwalks are usually located somewhere backstage. Many proscenium theatres have two or more catwalks running parallel to the proscenium arch. Another catwalk may also be located upstage of the proscenium as part of the fly system where lights and sound equipment are hung and set pieces (or actors!) are raised and lowered as necessary.
So if you’re ever watching a show and you start wondering how a spotlight magically follows an actor dancing across the stage, look up, and you might see a person sitting on the catwalk high above your head operating the spot while you sit and enjoy the show.