Drop. Tech week. Strike. How to speak like a set designer

Charge scenic artist

The person responsible for making sure everything on the set that's seen by the audience is painted. As a result, the things will look old or like brick or like wood. A combination of painting and sculpting skills is required.


A large, painted cloth —- often the width and height of the stage —- that contains a setting or scene that establishes where the action in the play takes place.


Canvas stretched on a frame, then painted. It's any piece of stage scenery that stands up. Used to create walls, buildings, doors.

Wing and drop

A term that describes a specific type of set design used to make the playing area onstage smaller. Portals are used to narrow the width of the stage and drops are used to make it less deep. A strategy often seen in the Alliance's second Theatre for Young Audiences show each season ("Go Dog Go!" "Seussical the Musical") because those shows tour to other Georgia cities and are easy to transport.


A detailed sketch of the set design showing its dimensions and other requirements. The technical crew uses it to build the set.

Gridding it out

A process done on the raw material of sets (drops, flats) to show crew members how and where to paint, and what color. Conley uses a 2-foot grid.


The process during which all scenery is moved from the shop to the stage and set up the way it's supposed to appear to the audience.

Tech week

The days-long or weeklong process during which all the technical elements of the show come together —- scenery, lights, sounds. Last-minute adjustments, such as reconfiguring walls, changing angles, deciding something can't be used, aren't uncommon. It can be long and tedious.


The show's over. The last performance has come down, and the stage crew spends many hours or the entire night taking the set apart stick by stick, wall by wall. It is recycled, stored if it can be used again, or trashed.

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