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Scenic Flats

  Flat Terminology:

( Its good to be reminded)

  • Book Flat
    Two flats hinged together on the vertical edge, to be free standing, and normally used as a backing for a doorway or window. They should always be ‘run’ with the hinged edge leading, to prevent them opening up. Book flats are free-standing when angled open, allowing quick setting and compact storage. Braces and weights should always be used if they’re used where they could get knocked, or where children or young people are around, or if the book flat is open more than 90 degrees. ‘Booking’ describes the action of opening or closing a book flat.

  • Theatre Flat (Broadway) A canvas flat commonly used on theatre shows. Much more lightweight and compact in storage, compared to a Studio Flat (see below).

  • Exhibition / Studio Flat  (Hollywood) is a timber flat (using 3″ x 1″ timber on edge to frame it, with a plywood skin) with a much wider edge than normal. Studio flats are mainly used in the events and exhibition industries The thicker edge gives the flat extra stability, can be easily clamped to adjacent flats.

  • Flipper
    Narrow flat hinged to a wider one.

  • French Flat
    A scenic flat which is flown into position, usually with French braces. Consists of a number of flats fixed together with battens. Also known as a Frenchman.

  • Studio Flat / TV Flat
    A Studio is a timber flat (using 3″ x 1″ timber on edge to frame it, with a plywood skin) with a much wider edge than normal. Studio flats are mainly used in the film/tv  The thicker edge gives the flat extra stability, can be easily clamped to adjacent flats, and looks more like a real wall on camera.

  • Masking Flat
    A piece of solid scenery used to prevent audiences seeing backstage (or unwanted) areas.

  • Portal
    An archway made by combining wings/legs and border. Also a decorative framing, columns and pediments or filigree or other that frames the stage.

  • Profile
    Shaped piece of scenery added to the edge of a flat instead of a straight edge. Also known as a cutout.

  • Return
    Flats joined to the DS edge of flats of a set or unit that ‘return’ into the wings. They help mask and also keep the DS edge of a set from looking raw.

  • Reveal
    A return which is at right angles to a flat, and suggests the thickness of a window, wall, doorway etc.

  • Sill Iron
    A piece of flat iron screwed to the bottom rail of a door flat which holds it together, and ensures that the flat doesn’t warp. Invisible to the audience.

  • Teaser
    Border, usually black, set behind the proscenium and linked with tormentors to form an inner frame to the stage, and to mask lighting bars and the upper parts of the fly tower.

  • Tormentors
    Narrow masking flats adjacent and usually at right angles to the proscenium arch. So named because they stop people in the boxes being able to peep beyond, into the secrets of the wings, where there may be dancers (for example) warming up or actors doing costume changes. Used in addition to a teaser, the first border behind the proscenium arch.

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