Definition of proscenium in US English:



  • 1The part of a theater stage in front of the curtain.

    • ‘Its spacious stage does not have a pronounced proscenium or lip, but suspended above it is a catwalk that the dancers can access easily if they want the audience to look up at them rather than down.’
    • ‘No one dared intrude beyond the presidential seal woven into the center of the pale green rug that lay before the President's mahogany desk: the proscenium of the stage.’
    • ‘During an orchestra rehearsal for New York City Ballet, he rushes onto the stage from the audience, nimbly maneuvering over a narrow strip between the proscenium and the orchestra pit.’
    • ‘The fourteen dancers melted into patterns out of an old Golddiggers flick and at one point, all posed at the front of the proscenium and twittered their legs like a bevy of chorines from an old Movietone newsreel.’
    • ‘An exceptional feature of the theatre is the fact that a small stream was channelled through the space between the orchestra and the back of the proscenium.’
    1. 1.1 The stage of an ancient theater.
      • ‘The actors appeared to lend a bit too much of energy to their characters, leading to a proscenium full of characters shouting their hearts out.’
      • ‘The largest studio measures 1,952 square feet and in width approximates the size of the proscenium in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, where Ballet British Columbia performs locally.’
      • ‘It may seem a bit ironic that street theatre finds a place on the proscenium, but it nevertheless is the only time of the year when it gets its precious share of media as well as public attention.’
      • ‘In fact, the book seems dedicated to exploring the conflict within the heart as it peers at the action going down on the proscenium.’
      • ‘Before any appreciation of the performance, it should be noted that it is really a nice experience to watch those trained in theatre moving around the proscenium.’
    2. 1.2
      short for proscenium arch
      • ‘Or, detractors will suggest, the finished product feels too stagy and hasn't managed to pull itself away successfully from the proscenium.’
      • ‘The theatre is now equipped with full lighting banks, there is a false proscenium and trapdoors in the stage, the audience seating has been much improved and better access has been arranged.’
      • ‘When they return home, they again cross the proscenium, leaving the exotic behind and returning to the normality of their home world.’
      • ‘Using the window like a movie screen or a theatrical proscenium, he constructs a scenario familiar from all visual narrative forms: the characters look at each other while we look at them.’
      • ‘But, I struggled a bit to find suitable actors and create the proscenium.’
      • ‘There is a drama in each photograph; edges are used as the perimeters of a proscenium, with subjects strategically sited within those boundaries and caught at a moment of absolute stasis.’
      • ‘It is oriented so that the American and Canadian falls serve as backdrops to the proscenium.’
      • ‘The main entrance is a double-height proscenium on the north facade that connects with the central lightwell, offering a clear view through the building.’
      • ‘Although the foyer is irregular and asymmetrical in response to site and route, the stage and 1500-seat auditorium are conventionally axial, with radial seating and an orthodox proscenium.’
      • ‘Multiple hinged flaps on each side of the stage can create many different proscenia.’
      • ‘The ubiquitous face as well as the proscenium are the lingering elements that integrate with still life, largely reinventing this concept with different perception.’
      • ‘Long takes that highlight the film's interconnected physical spaces are the rule, and many shots are viewed through a door or window frame, suggesting a proscenium.’
      • ‘Conceding the point, many opera houses nowadays always flash surtitles above the proscenium.’
      • ‘He originally specified either ornamental plaster or terra cotta for the proscenium and plaster (optimal for acoustics) for the hung ceiling vaults, as at the Chicago Auditorium.’
      • ‘It will also promote a healthy exchange between performing artists of different countries, facilitating not merely a proscenium, but also a process of interaction.’
      • ‘The acoustical requirement of 50 percent absorptive and 50 percent reflective surfaces led to a proscenium that exploits the depth and lightness offered by flat panels.’
      • ‘To the left, an orthogonal void cut like a proscenium or picture frame is clearly a signal of something important deep in the interior.’
      • ‘Later, a version of Walking on the Wall resurfaced in Set and Reset, when five dancers hoisted one woman so that, perfectly horizontal, she walked on the proscenium and walls of the stage.’
      • ‘The coloured lights surrounding the proscenium were washed away and had no effect.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, inside, of course, a bunch of pantomime fools are stumbling around under a proscenium, talking loudly and avoiding the furniture.’


Early 17th century: via Latin from Greek proskēnion, from pro ‘before’ + skēnē ‘stage’.