Getting up to speed with our language

All industries and organisations have their own vocabulary and terminology. To help you have a better understanding of the theatre world. We’ve assembled some of the key words and terms that you are likely to come across if you are attending a show in our venues.

We hope this glossary helps and feel free to email any questions you have to:


AV — This term generally refers to the audio/visual department. It can also be used to refer to an audio/ visual technician. For example, AV Tech. 

Auditorium — The area of the theatre where the audience sits.

Balcony — Upper most level of the auditorium where the audience sits (above the stalls and the circle levels).

BOH — Back of House. Traditionally the area from the front edge of stage back. The behind-the-scenes parts of the theatre that are off-limits to the public.

Box Office — Physical location where tickets are sold.

CCO — Council Controlled Organisation. Regional Facilities Auckland is a CCO of Auckland Council.

Circle — Middle level of the auditorium where the audience sits (above the stalls, but below the balcony). Or in the case of The Civic, the circle level is the upper most level where the audience sits.

Concert Master (Orchestra) — The first violin player to the left of the conductor, facing the stage.

Conductor (Orchestra) — Person who leads the orchestra.

FOH — Front of house. All areas in front of the stage (including the auditorium and foyers). FOH is also a term used to describe the Auckland Live ushers and FOH Supervisor.

GA — General Admission. Patrons can choose their seats (if seated) on a first-come, first-served basis.

Gallery — Specific to the Concert Chamber. Upper most level of seating for the Concert Chamber.

Hosting — A cocktail function typically booked adjacent to a performance where clients can host guests before/ after the show and/or at interval. This typically includes serving food and beverage.

House — This term refers to the theatre/auditorium. Common use of the word is “the house is open” – meaning the auditorium is open for patrons to be seated. Another use of the term is “there is a large house in tonight” – meaning that there are a large number of patrons attending the event/performance.

House Lights — Standard lights inside the theatre that light the auditorium where audience members are sitting (not specialised stage lighting).

House Open — The theatre/auditorium is open for audience members to take their seats.

Jardine/Crying Room — Sound-proof viewing room (in the Kiri Te Kanawa and Herald Theatres only).

Lock Out — Time during which patrons cannot enter the theatre/auditorium after an event/performance has started (in order to prevent disruption). The lock out is set by the client and performers and enforced by FOH staff.

LX — This term generally refers to the Electrics/Lighting department. It can also be used to refer to a lighting technician. For example, LX Tech. Mechanist— A theatre technician who works backstage predominatly with scenic elements.

MX — Staging department. It can also be used to refer to a mechanist technician. For example, MX Tech.

Noise warning — Notice/advice that noise may be an issue due to events running in adjoining rooms or buildings.

On-sale — When tickets are released for general sale to the public.

Opening Night — The first official performance of a show. Usually attended by reviewers, industry members and celebrity guests who are invited to create ‘buzz’ and generate good word of mouth. There is often a hosting that accompanies an opening night performance.

Opposite Prompt (OP) — To the actor’s right when they are on stage and facing the audience. Also referred to as stage right. 

Pack In/Bump In/Load In — Setting up equipment and services in advance of the event/performance.

Pack Out/Bump Out/Load Out — Taking out or removing the event and associated equipment from the performance space.

Pick & Mix — A free Auckland Live programme that includes performances and workshops aimed at youth and families.

Preview Show — A public performance of a theatrical presentation that precedes the opening night.

Pre-sale — The period when tickets are available to purchase in advance of the general public on-sale. A pre-sale sometimes requires a password or a special link, which is distributed to exclusive members of clubs or groups as opposed to the general public. 

Prompt Side (PS) — To the actor’s left when they are on stage and facing the audience. Also referred to as stage left.

Reserved Seating — An allocated seat (not GA). Seat row and number will be noted on the ticket.

Stage Left — Left-hand side of the stage from the actor’s point of view when they are facing the audience.

Stage Manager — The stage manager (SM) is the person responsible for the production on the day and everyone onstage including all performers and crew.

Stage Right — Right-hand side of the stage from the actor’s point of view when they are facing the audience.

Stalls — Lower most level of the auditorium where the audience sits.

SX — This term generally refers to the sound department. It can also be used to refer to a sound technician. For example, SX Tech.

THE EDGE — The former name of Auckland Live.

Ticketmaster — The company that has the exclusive contract to sell all tickets to our events in our venues.

Turnaround — The time between two events or activities. Also used to describe the activity of transforming a space from one setup to another.

TX — This term generally refers to the technical department. It can also be used to refer to technical staff (technicians).

VT — Venue Technician. This person is responsible for overseeing all activities Back of House during the event/ performance. Their role is to look after the client, provide technical support and they are responsible for the health and safety of all personnel backstage.

AAF — Auckland Arts Festival.
APO — Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
AWF — Auckland Writers Festival.
CMNZ — Chamber Music New Zealand.
NZIFF — New Zealand International Film Festival.
NZSO — New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
RNZB — Royal New Zealand Ballet.