Here is our last instalment from our series Theatre Guides. This week is our mini dictionary of some key theatre terms we think you might find useful!
Foyer – The main entrance to the theatre, where the box office, and sometimes a bar, are situated. It is usually at street level, and can vary in size. If it is not at street level, there is usually disabled access elsewhere. Call the theatre ahead for details or take a look at our guide to theatre accessibility.
Box Office – The counter where you can collect prepaid tickets, and buy tickets for today’s performance, or up and coming performances. Usually open about 2 hrs before a performance is scheduled to begin.
Auditorium – The main seating area of the theatre. Usually split into 2 or 3 levels. Stalls – The stage level seating area, sloping upwards towards the rear of the seating. Can be at street level, or underground. There is premium viewing in this area, particularly in the centre.
Dress Circle – The first tier of seating, around the back of the auditorium. There is often premium viewing at the front of this area. (Note: sometimes called the royal circle, the tier terminology is dependent on the theatre)
Upper Circle – The second tier of seating, above the dress circle. Often high up, with a steep rake, and often a birds-eye view! (Note: sometimes the grand circle, the tier terminology is dependent on the theatre)
Gallery/Balcony – The top tier of seating in older theatres. Often this is not in use, and sometimes does not exist at all! (Note: The tier terminology is dependent on the theatre) Boxes – Private seating areas, typically seating 10 to 20. Usually at the sides of the theatre, offering limited viewing, and often not in use.
Leg Room – The gap between your seat and the seat in front, used in measuring the comfort from your seat!
Interval – A break in performance, there is normally one in a 2-3 hour show, about 20mins in length. Sometimes there are two – or none at all!
Stage Door – The door used by actors and show staff. Hang around here at the end and you might have a chance to meet them!
Rake – The upwards slope of the seating rows, going backwards. A useful term in measuring how high your seat, and how good/restricted your view. Also refers to the slope of the stage, which goes upwards towards the back.
Aisle – Gaps between seating blocks for audience to walk down to find their seats.
Ticket touts/scalpers – People selling tickets for tonight’s performance in front of the theatre. Resale of tickets in this way is illegal! You might be buying fake tickets, tickets obtained illegally, or paying high prices for poor tickets!
Matinee – An afternoon performance. Typically on a Saturday and a mid-week day, beginning between 2pm and 4pm.
Evening performance – A performance beginning in the evening, typically 7.30pm.
Premium seats – The best seats in the house, offering best sound quality, view, and comfort. Usually centre stalls and front dress circle. Sold at a higher price than standard seats.
Restricted viewing (RV) – Seats from which the view is partial or obscured. We recommend you telephone the theatre to ask the extent of the restriction before you buy these tickets!
‘STAR’ – Secure Tickets from Authorised Retailers. An organisation of authorised ticket agents, and a quality check for the ticket you buy. Check your sales service is a member before buying.