Image courtesy of Eyelights Ltd / Vision Studios.
A green room is a room located behind or near the main stage in a studio or concert venue. The green room is provided for artists and guests (the "talent") to wait before being called for their appearance, or to wait between appearances. Performers may use the green room for warm-up exercises and "psyching up".
The green room may also be available after the show for gatherings with talent, crew, invited guests and/or audience members. It often doubles as a general social room.
Green rooms are often decorated green but it is by no means standard. Many green rooms adopt a theme which helps relax talent and keep them occupied. Themes often include memorabilia, posters, etc.
Origin of the term "Green Room"
This is something of a mystery — no one knows for sure where the term originated from. It is known to be centuries old with the first recorded reference in a 1678 play by Thomas Shadwell called The True Widow. The reference was: “No, Madam: Selfish, this Evening, in a green Room, behind the Scenes, was before-hand with me”.
Another, more explicit reference was made in the 1701 book Love Makes Man by Colley Cibber: “I do know London pretty well, and the Side-box, Sir, and behind the Scenes; ay, and the Green-Room, and all the Girls and Women Actresses there”. This is believed to refer to the Drury Lane theatre.
A few possibilities have been suggested for the origin, including:
- The colour green has long been associated with the theatre; in fact "the green" is a term sometimes used to describe the stage. The green room could be an extension of this.
- Green is a good choice because it is a relaxing colour.
Some suggestions relate to the use of stage lights. These are plausible until you consider the age of the term and the fact that stage lights were not around when it was coined:
- The room is painted green to rest actors’ eyes after working under bright lights.
- Stage lights are often slightly green-tinged so it makes sense for actors to put on their makeup under a similar colour.