What’s It Like Being a Theatre Prompter? – A Story

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Ms Višnja Kiš tells the story about her life as a theatre prompter at the Croatian National Theatre

It’s difficult for individuals with rare professions to make it in a time of mass production, mass media, mass market, but some are doing it, and we’re always in awe that they do.

We wrote about some inspiring stories, such as the oldest millinery shop in Zagreb, and now 100 posto brings another great story – about a theatre prompter.

Ms Višnja Kiš has been a theatre prompter at the Croatian National Theatre for 34 years. She saw the add in Vjesnik newspapers, decided to apply, and got the job.

A prompter’s job, she says, is to monitor closely everything that happens on the stage, what the actors do; he or she needs to listen carefully so that the text can be whispered to the actors at the right moment.

How does a prompter know when to whisper the text to the actor on stage? Ms Kiš says that it’s an individual arrangement with the actor – sometimes there is a cue, such as finger snapping, sometimes she just follows the text and monitors the stage. There was one interesting case when an actor who had a long monologue with a lot of text, upon realising he had forgotten his lines, threw himself on the floor, looked at her in panic, and then she realised what needs to be done.

She says it’s all very normal because the amount of text is sometimes enormous, but normally, she only whispers a single word to the actor and then they remember the rest.

How loud does the prompter actually whisper the words in order for the actor to hear them? Ms Kiš says it depends on the situation on the scene – sometimes she really does whisper, but sometimes she has to say it louder. She is not sure whether the audience hears it or not, but she thinks that they normally don’t.

Prompters used to have their own boxes onstage, but they are not used anymore. Instead, prompters normally stand in the prompt corner, traditionally located at stage left.


Some theatres don’t hire prompters, while some theatre companies which produce their own plays normally can’t afford them.

In conclusion, Ms Kiš says that she feels that, due to modern technology, her profession is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Still, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for this interesting profession to stick around for years to come.

Watch the video below:


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