For the newbies in industry or those performing as a hobby, it can be quite confusing when a director, choreography or even a stage manager says “go down stage”, “go upstage right”, “come more centre left” and you have no idea what is going on.
I have simplified the basics, to make it easier to understand and remember that way you’ll know terminology and will be able to apply it before the director finishes their sentence.
Upstage: the part of the stage which further from the audience, typically towards the back
Downstage: The part of the stage which is closet to the audience.
Centre stage: the middle portion of the stage. Being centre stage allows the audience to have a great sightline from no matter where they are seated. However, centre stage splits into different section:
When a director gives directions in terms of left and right, it is always the actors left or right, so its from the point of view of the performer. For example, if a choreography tells you to go downstage left, you’d come forward but also go left, remembering it’s your left not the audiences’.
Take the theatre terminology Quiz and see how well you know the stage and theatrical terminology