Blocking is the term used to refer to the movement and relative positioning of actors.

The Stage

The Director and Cast need to be able to write down their moves in order to learn them, so a form of shorthand is needed to identify various positions of the stage. The typical stage is split up into areas as shown below. Left and right always refer to the point of view of the actor. Upstage refers to the stage farthest away from the audience, and is so called because in large theatres the stage gently slopes upwards to the back. This gradient makes it easier for the audience in the stalls to see action further away from them. So if an actor is going to enter through a door on the directors left at the back of the stage, it would be Upstage Right or UR.

Traditional Stage Areas

Upstage Right

Upstage Centre

Upstage Left




Downstage Right

Downstage Centre

Downstage Left




If the actor enters UR and then moves to a position close to the audience in the middle of the stage (Downstage Centre) the actor could annotate his script like this. Enter UR >> DC, the arrows are to convey movement. To make the direction more precise further refinements can be added, for example DLC would be a position between DL and DC. Of course if the stage is populated with furniture and other actors you can refer to these to make the directions more useful.


Too much activity on stage may confuse the situation and too little could make the play slow and uninteresting. Consider what motivates the actor to move, possibly something that has been said or done by another character. Select the best route for the move, avoiding two actors' paths crossing whilst making the move appear to be natural.

When a character is about to enter it is usually beneficial to make sure no one is standing in the way, so if another actor is likely to mask their entrance give them a move to put them in a better position. The audience has not seen the script so will accept that this is a natural movement and not something contrived just to make the play run smoothly.