A glossary of Stage Terms for students exploring design for Stage and Screen

Dock Door(s)

The Dock Door or Scene Dock door is a large strong door that allows for large items of scenery, technical equipment, props, animals etc to be brought on stage from outside the theatre. In this example, because street level is higher than the level of the stage ramps are required to enable items to be brought […]

Mise en Scene

Mise en Scene means, all the visual content on the stage, including the performers, the scenery, the props, etc. Everything!  

French Brace

A French Brace or Jack Brace is a wooden construction of three lengths of timber fixed in the form of an elongated right angle triangle. To make them less noticeable on stage they are painted matt black. Their long side of the right-angle is screwed or hinged to the back of a flat and the […]

Single Purchase counterweight

Single purchase counterweight flying system is where the weight cradle travels the same distance as the fly bar travels. The counterweight frame occupies the full height of the stage side wall. See Counterweight Flying System.  

Setting Line

Setting line is a chalk drawn line parallel to the front edge of the stage and upstage of the house curtain it is used in conjunction with the centre line to measure the positions for setting the scenery.


A Flat is a basic unit of scenery made of canvas or light plywood stretched or fixed to a wooden frame and decorated appropriately for the set. Masking flats for the wings are often fire proof black felt stretched over a fire-proofed wooden frame or over a steel/aluminium frame. There are also Window Flats, Fireplace […]

Floor Cloth

Floorcloth, this is a canvas covering that is stretched over the surface of the stage. The cloth is usually painted and decorated to resemble a surface appropriate to the design of the set. The cloth can be removed with ease to reveal another painted cloth or the stage floor

Front Cloth

Front Cloth, this is a decorated scenic cloth hung close to the front of the stage which allows scenery to be changed behind it.  


Gudgeons and Cleats are brackets fixed to the strong horizontal fly rail running from back to front on side wall of the stage, to which the hemp ropes of the  flying system are tied off. They are also used on the backs of flats so as to lash them togeather.  


Groundrow is a low run of scenery (shaped cut-out pieces of scenery usually less than a meter in height) to hide (mask) the groundrow lights which are a row of lamps on the floor of the stage to light the bottom of the cyclorama or back cloth.