A theatre is a place where people go and see all kinds of performances. Most people think of a theatre as a place to see a play, where a story that is acted out in front of an audience. But there are other kinds of performances that take place in a theatre too: musicals, ballets and operas.
The theatre building
Most theatres have three parts: the stage, the auditorium and the backstage area.
The stage is the most important part of a theater. It is the place where actors and actresses perform a play. Most plays are performed on a proscenium or picture-frame stage. The audience can watch the play only from the front. The action takes place under a large arch. A curtain opens and closes at the beginning and end of each scene.
A picture-frame stage
Sometimes the audience can sit on three sides of a stage. Some theatres have a round stage in the middle of the auditorium with spectators sitting around it. Actors get on and leave the stage through the audience.
The auditorium is where the audience sits. Modern theatres also have lobbies, rest rooms, cafes and bars to offer people more comfort before and after the performance, as well as between scenes.
The backstage area is the place where the scenes are prepared and actors and actresses get dressed. There are also storage and office rooms for the staff and theatre workers. There are rooms in which technicians control lighting and sound.
People in a theatre
Many people work together in a theatre. Every production begins with a producer – sometimes a man or a woman, sometimes a whole group of people or a company. Producers have a lot of things to do. They have to collect money for the play, get a story and a usable script. They must be able to work with a good team.
The director decides how the play should be performed. He interprets the script, works together with the people who make the scenery and costumes. The director oversees rehearsals and tells actors how to play their part. In modern plays a playwright writes the script.
Designers create the scenery that shows the time and place of the story. Lighting experts have the job of moving actors or pieces of the stage into the spotlight. Lighting effects help to create the atmosphere of a play.
A casting director takes over the job of selecting actors and actresses for the play. They must choose a person with a suitable voice and character for every role. Make-up artists and costume designers help make the actors look good. Choreographers plan dance steps and other movements.
Actors and actresses are the main people in the play. They must study a character’s appearance, speech, body movements and gestures. Practicing this is not always easy. In order to play a role well the actor must know a lot about emotions and the feelings that someone can have. They must concentrate on their role and keep out everything that may distract them.
Designers build the scenery on a stage. Sometimes they don’t have to change it during the play. At other times sets have to be changed quickly during performances. Modern theaters have stages that can revolve or stages that can be raised or lowered.
- act out = perform
- appearance = looks
- arch = a curved structure above an opening
- audience = the people who sit in the front and watch the play
- auditorium = the part of the theatre where the people sit and watch the play
- backstage = behind the stage, where the actors and actresses get dressed
- body movement = the way a person moves and the special things he does
- casting director = a person who chooses the right performers for a play
- choreographer = a person who shows the dancers the movements during a performance
- collect = get money from anywhere you can
- comfort = to be relaxed, fell good
- company = a business organization
- concentrate = focus on
- create = make
- curtain = piece of cloth that hangs from the ceiling
- distract = to take away your attention
- gesture = when you move your hands or head to show what you mean or feel
- interpret = to show the play the way you understand it
- lighting = the light in a room and how it shines on the stage and actors
- lobby = a large hall near the entrance
- lower = to move down
- movement = to go from one place to another
- offer = give
- oversee = supervise, watch over
- perform = act
- performance = when people act out a play or play music on a stage
- piece = object
- playwright = someone who writes the script of the play
- proscenium = part of a stage that is front of the curtain
- raise = to move up
- rehearsal = the time when all the people of a play practice before the performance
- rest room = toilet
- revolve = to go around in a circle
- scenery = the background and all the objects on a stage
- script = the written form of a play
- set = the scenery or objects that are used on a stage
- spectator = a person who watches an event
- speech = the language a person uses
- spotlight = a light which you can direct at someone on a stage
- staff = all the people who work in a theatre
- stage = the higher area of a theatre where the actors and actresses perform or singers sing
- storage = place where you keep things that you do not need
- suitable = right, correct
- technicians = people who work on and control the technical parts
- usable = something you can use