Traverse stage

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This article is about the form of theatrical staging. For the theatre company and building in Houston, Texas, see Alley Theatre.

A traverse stage is a form of theatrical 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 or corridor stage.

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 fashion shows.

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. 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.

While not strictly a traverse stage, the hanamichi of a kabuki stage, which is basically a wide catwalk that extended outward from the main stage to the rear, can be compared to one.