Green room

For other uses, see Green room (disambiguation).

In show business, the green room is the space in a theatre or similar venue that functions as a waiting room and lounge for performers before and after a performance, and during the show when they are not engaged on stage.

The origin of the term is often ascribed to such rooms historically being painted green.[1][2] The modern "green room" is usually not green at all.[3][4][5]

Source of the term

Salón Verde ("Green Hall") at the Royal Theatre (Teatro Real) in Madrid (Spain). Note that the chairs, curtains and walls are predominantly green, from which the room takes its name.

The specific origin of the term is lost to history, which has led to many imaginative theories and claims. One story is that London's Blackfriars Theatre (1599) included a room behind the scenes, which happened to be painted green; here the actors waited to go on stage. It was called "the green room". Some English theatres contained several green rooms, each ranked according to the status and the salary of the actor: one could be fined for using a green room above one's station.[6][7]

Historical attributions of the term

Some theories have attempted to identify specific historical origins for the term. For example:

"Tiring house", "scene-room" and "green room"

QUINCE: Pat, pat; and here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal. This green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring-house; and we will do it in action as we will do it before the duke.
Midsummer Night's Dream (approx 1595) - Act 3 Scene 1
...she took us up into the Tireing-rooms and to the women's Shift, where Nell was dressing herself and...then below into the Scene-room, I read the Qu's (cues) to Knepp while she answered me, through all her part of Flora's Figarys...

Additional Citations

Folk etymology

In addition to the preceding, there are numerous alternative explanations for the origin of the term green room folk etymologies, including the following:

Other meanings

A view of Baku Crystal Hall where it can be seen that the Green Room (in the center slightly to the left) is not vested with predominant green color, but with other colors.
Green Room at the White House, named for its predominantly green color.


  1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, William Morris editor, 1971
  2. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Millennium Edition, revised by Adrian Room, 1999
  3. Academy Awards green room decor (not green) Architectural Digest March 2009
  4. Primetime Emmy greenroom Architectural Digest, November 2009
  5. Architectural Digest-June 2008-"A Winning Design for Oscar"
  6. 1 2 3 The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre, edited by Phyllis Hartnoll, Oxford University Press, 1972, pg 220
  7. Old theatre days and ways By William John Lawrence via Google Books quoting in turn An Actor's Notebook by George Vandenhoff
  8. Voices from the World of Samuel Pepys By Jonathan Bastable pg 111, David and Charles Limited (2007) via Google Books
  9. The life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. By James Boswell, Mowbray Morris, pg 122, via Google Books Boswell
  10. 1 2 3 4
  11. 1 2 "World Wide Words: Green room".
  12. 1 2 "".
  13. Brontë, Charlotte, Villette, Dover, 2007, pp. 112 and 119.
  14. On the Stage--and Off: the brief career of a would-be-actor, Jerome K. Jerome, pp 74-75, via Internet Archive
  15. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: Volume I, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, pg 191
  16. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Millennium Edition, Revised by Adrian Room
  17. "The Straight Dope: Why is the waiting room for talk-show guests called the "green room"?".
  18. "De Proverbio - Electronic Journal of International Proverb Studies. Proverbs, Quotations, Sayings, Wellerisms.".
  19. Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms at
  20. Ford, Chad (June 18, 2011). "NBA issues 'green room' invitations". Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  21. "Top Prospects Invited to Attend WNBA Draft" (Press release). Women's National Basketball Association. April 6, 2011. Retrieved June 23, 2011.
  22. WTO | Doha Development Agenda | The July 2008 package - How the meeting is organized
  23. Surfing glossary
  24. Green Room theatre website Archived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
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