Traverse stage

A 'traverse stage' is a form of theatrical (theatre stage] in which the audience is predominantly on two sides of the stage, facing towards each other. The stage is also commonly known as an 'alley', 'corridor stage', 'tennis court,' or 'catwalk'.

In some traverse stages, one end of the stage space may also end in audience, making it similar to a thrust or three-quarter round stage. Other times, the ends of the stage are much larger than the traverse stage itself allowing for more space for actors, sets, and scenery. Although not commonly used for the production of plays, this form of staging is especially popular for catwalks.

There are many practical implications for the actor performing on a traverse stage, such as the need for greater projection of voice (when the actor faces one audience, he turns his back to the other) and to make sure that every action is visible to both sides of the audience. From a design perspective, staging is very limited so as not to block sight lines across the stage. This means that audiences on either side get two perspectives and might experience very different shows.[1] Furthermore, lighting the stage from one side only will cast a shadow over the actors' faces when viewed from the opposite side.

An advantage of this style of staging is that it is intimate staging and allows the actors to use the audience for effect.

A stage where the audience sits on two sides is called a traverse stage. Again, this type of stage is good for creating an intimate atmosphere as the audience are close to the action. It's an unusual form of staging but you will often see the format used for fashion shows since it is, effectively, a catwalk


  1. ^ "BBC Bitesize - GCSE Drama - Creating and staging a devised performance - Revision 7". BBC Bitesize. Retrieved 2018-03-15.