Welcome to the Theatre Dictionary’s conversation about the term Italian run.

On Italian run’s official page, we define the term as a rehearsal in which the actors deliver their lines and perform the action at a much faster rate. But now we want to know what the term Italian run means to you. You can use the comments section to tell us.

— Have you ever done a speed-through rehearsal, a.k.a. Italian run? Did it help quicken the pace of the show you were in?

— Before this video, had you ever heard the term Italian run? Or did you call it a speed through/Italian rehearsal/Russian run? Seems like there are so many terms for the same kind of rehearsal!

If you’d like to make a video of your own about Italian run, then we’d love to hear from you! Just email us through our contact page. Tell us about yourself and why you want to make a video. We’ll be in touch ASAP and give you details on how to add your video to the Theatre Dictionary!


Mark Blankenship, Theatre Dictionary editor

  • Leslie Krausch Slape

    Too bad this video uses speeded-up film instead of an actual Italian rehearsal. Under director Don Correll, who taught from 1976-2015 at Lower Columbia College, Italian runs were part of every comedy and most of the other productions. He called them “à la italien” and generally held one on the Saturday before opening night. He always brought a drum to these rehearsals and pounded on it if the pace lagged. Everyone hated the drum, but we could instantly see how such a rehearsal helped the show. It tightened the focus, improved the timing, and highlighted any problems. Plus it was hilarious to watch. When I direct a comedy, I always include an Italian run. P.S. Never use props or costumes.