Staging configuration: traverse

Staging Configuration: Traverse

Definition and Key Features

  • Traverse staging configuration, also known as alley staging, is an arrangement where the audience is placed on two opposite sides of the performance area.
  • This style of staging can create an intimate setting, as the audience is close to the performance, causing actors to engage more directly with the audience.


  • Traverse presents a unique challenge for actors in terms of blocking. Due to the audience being on two different sides, all actors need to ensure they are not hiding any other actors or key action points.
  • In a traverse setup, the set design must be minimalist to ensure visibility from both audience sides—extensive set design could obstruct views and distract from the performance.

Special Technical Considerations

  • Lighting becomes special in this style as lights can’t be only overhead or from the front. Side lighting is largely used, along with strategic use of foot-lights and back-lights.
  • Sound projection requires consideration in a traverse setting. Actors must project their voices evenly to reach both sides of the audience.

Dynamics and Utilization

  • The traverse configuration allows for interesting staging dynamics such as having actors enter and exit through the audience, using multiple points for entrances and exits, and creating effects of surprise or immediacy.
  • This style of staging is commonly used for contemporary and experimental theatre due to its versatility and potential for audience immersion.

Impact on Analysis

  • Analyzing performances or scripts developed for traverse staging can encourage consideration of spatial awareness, audience relation, and innovative approaches to design elements.