Technical Blog – Old Kit & the Prompt Copy

Well with the recession seemingly going to be hanging around for a while more I decided that Spotlites could get rid of a few bits of tech that we didn’t use anymore.

So into the technical store we ventured with led torches and big hammers to combat the killer spiders we found a few things.

So we dusted them off, used some furniture polish to clean the gaffa tape marks and grime and popped them on ebay. Well straight away we have sold a couple of things and the other things are progressing ok with days still to go. This has reminded me of how important it is to keep a clean and updated prompt copy.

A Prompt Copy is the script that all shows are cued from, the master copy, sometimes called ‘the Bible’ or just ‘the Book’ and every lighting cue, sound cue, standby, backstage call to the dressing rooms, details of the actors movements on stage (known as blocking) and many other details that are used to run a show once curtain is up. I have seen some prompt copies run on just post it notes stuck on a script, some shows without scripts! and shows that are extremely detailed. When I was at the RSC I discovered that they kept 2 books, one for the running of the show and one for the blocking (movement of the actors around the stage) – this blocking script was used so understudies or replacement cast members could be rehearsed in a seperate building without the fear of loosing it and destroying the show! At Spotlites we use this 2 book principal and it makes life so much easier and cleaner. As someone who uses the cueing one a lot I can say I love the tidy and neatness of the script. I find it leaves my brain time to think and not be bombarded with details so I can concentrate on the task in hand.

So take it from me: clear out your old technical equipment, tidy you prompt copies and be more clear on where you are going or what you are doing. At Spotlites I am streamlining the equipment we use so we can produce better & clearer shows.


Picture of an old lighting desk from the Royal Court Theatre, used up until 1908s – wow!


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