AskDefine | Define prompter

Dictionary Definition



1 someone who assists a performer by providing the next words of a forgotten speech [syn: theater prompter]
2 a device that displays words for people to read [syn: autocue]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The person who does the prompting.

Derived terms


person in a theater

Extensive Definition

The prompter in an opera house gives the singers the opening words of each phrase a few seconds early. Prompts are mouthed silently or hurled lyrically in a half-voice, audible (hopefully) only on stage. (This is in contrast to the prompt in a spoken-drama theater who aids actors who have forgotten their words or lines.)
Opera prompters are traditionally housed in a stuffy wooden box at the center-front edge of the stage, above the orchestra pit. They are visible to the performers and no one else. Technology has brought cool air and small display screens, among other advances, to support their work.
Effective prompting can be a challenge. The American prompter Philip Eisenberg recounts the story at a Maria Callas performance when she needed louder prompts. The famed diva swooped down in a curtsy right in front of the prompter’s box and — mid-curtsy, unnoticed by the audience — gave the Italian command “più forte!” (louder) to her boxed colleague.
Prompters attend all rehearsals, mark up any adjustments or clarifications to the score, and generally “prepare” singers for a role. Their profile is low, and opera program books often credit them only under “musical preparation” or some similar moniker.

See also

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

MC, abettor, actuator, aide-memoire, animator, auteur, ballyhoo man, barker, cajoler, callboy, coax, coaxer, costume designer, costumer, costumier, cue, director, emcee, encourager, energizer, equestrian director, exhibitor, firer, flapper, gadfly, galvanizer, hint, impeller, impresario, inducer, inspirer, jogger, makeup man, master of ceremonies, memorandum, mover, moving spirit, persuader, playreader, pleader, prime mover, producer, prompt, prompting, remembrance, remembrancer, reminder, ringmaster, scenewright, set designer, showman, spark, spark plug, sparker, spieler, stage director, stage manager, stimulator, tempter, theater man, theatrician, ticket collector, tickler, usher, usherer, usherette, wheedler
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