Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms

Costume


BODICE
The upper part of a womans dress, close-fitting and covering the chest and back above the waist.

CLEANING COSTUMES
During the run of a show, costumes need to be regularly cleaned.
A show that uses modern costumes may require no specialised care, and cleaning could be part of the duties of an ASM, or on a larger show, a Costume Assistant, or Wardrobe Manager.
On a show with period costumes, or more delicate costumes, an 'inner shield' or 'costume shield' is sometimes used, which is an easily washable removable inner costume layer, which is worn between the actors underclothing and the main costume. The main costume, which may require dry cleaning, can be cleaned far less frequently.

COSTUME FITTING
First meeting between the actor and his/her costume. Enables wardrobe staff to ensure a correct fit, and to enable the actor to see if all necessary movement is possible.

COSTUME LOFT
(USA) Term for a store of theatre costumes, particularly where there are costume hire facilities.

COSTUME PARADE
See DRESS PARADE.

CUTTER
Member of the costume team that supervises the construction of costumes that are made from patterns. She/he is also responsible for creating the patterns from the Costume Designers' sketches / designs. 

DRESSING ROOMS
Rooms containing clothes rails and mirrors (often surrounded with lights) in which actors change into their costumes and apply make-up. Dressing Room doors have a list of the actors contained within.
See also GREEN ROOM.

GONDOLA
(Costume) An enclosed easily transportable costume rail with removable side which enables large shows to manage huge quantities of costumes, wigs etc easily.

GREEN BAIZE
Prior to 17th century actors dying on stage, a green baize cloth was laid down on the stage to save their costumes from needing cleaning. This was also a useful anticipation builder for the audience, especially if the cloth was laid during the interval halfway into the performance.
See also GREEN ROOM.

QUICK CHANGE
A change of costume that needs to happen very quickly takes place close to the side of the stage. Costume designers need to know about the need for a quick change so that the costume is made incorporating elements such as velcro and zips rather than buttons. A quick change room is often erected at the side of the stage to enable changes to take place in privacy.

QUICK CHANGE ROOM
Area adjacent to the stage containing lighting, a mirror and a costume rail in which actors can make costume changes quickly, sometimes with the aid of a dresser.

SEAMSTRESS
Member of the wardrobe department who operates sewing machines and carries out other sewing tasks.

SILAMIDE
Silamide is a pre-waxed two-ply twisted nylon thread. It has a great texture and is strong and resiliant. It can be used for all beadweaving stitches including loom work and bead embroidery.
Sold on cards of 40 yards (approximately 36.5 m). (Definition from Robins Beads - see link below)

SKIP (Costume/Props)
A large wicker basket or box, often wheeled, which stores costumes and/or props for touring.

SLOPER
A clothing pattern based on exact measurements of a particular person. The sloper can be used with any existing pattern to ensure a perfect fit.

SWATCH
Gel Swatch Books - Rosco Supergel and Lee Filters A sample of fabric to demonstrate the material to use on a costume or set design, or a sample of lighting gel. A catalogue of all the gel colours made be a particular manufacturer is called a SWATCH BOOOK.

UNPICK
Small cutter designed for unpicking a sewn seam. Useful for undoing alterations to a costume following a production.

WARDROBE
The general name for the costume department, its staff and the accommodation they occupy.
German: Kleiderschrank

WARDROBE PLOT
Actor-by-actor, scene-by-scene inventory of all the costumes in a production, with a detailed breakdown into every separate item in each costume.