Cue Sheet for Kenneth MacMillan's ballet Romeo and Juliet

Cue sheet for the ballet Romeo and Juliet (large photo)

Fly operators used cue sheets to record the order in which to move the flying bars holding the scenic cloths and lighting bars, together with how much weight needed to be attached in order to act as a counterweight. Each production had its own cue sheet, with cues written in a shorthand showing the bar number and the necessary weight, as the weight of scenic cloths could vary. These sheets were used in the Royal Opera House, and other theatres, for decades.

At the Royal Opera House, the cue sheets would be kept for as long as the production was in the repertory, with notes added as changes were made to the production. The cues would be written in large letters so that the sheet could be propped up at one end of the fly floor and read by the fly operators working the ropes from several feet away. Now that the fly floors are operated mechanically, cues are entered into a computer programme which prints out a daily cue sheet for each fly operator.

Image © ROH Collections