I am making a program for the school musical coming up. On the inside of it, I have the left-hand part of the page as the cast. On the right-hand side, I have the technicians and the ensemble (people who only sing in the background, not actual characters) I am at a loss for what should go in place of ????:

Some actor as Blah                           |  TECHNICIANS
Foo as Some Character                        |  Me
Another guy as Teacher                       |  Myself
Random person as Student                     |  I
And so on...                                 | --------------------------------------------
                                             |  ENSEMBLE
                                             |  Not me
                                             |  A singer
                                             |  Another singer
                                             |  I only sing

The word has to be fairly well known, but most of all short. Originally, I had "Technicians and Ensemble", but that was way too long. I couldn't think of any good word to put here.


The musical has around 20 actors, 5 technicians, and 15 singers. Therefore, to divide the columns evenly, I want the actors (which I called cast) to be on one side, and the technicians and singers to be on the other. However, I don't have a word for this grouping.


Insofar as this is a question about English language and usage, it poses the question, "What is a categorical term that encompasses 'Technicians' and 'Ensemble' but not 'Cast'?"

Your question amounts to this because you are looking for a word that works in connection with a layout that incorporates two levels of subheads—level 1 consisting of "Cast" and "????" (the mystery term you're looking for), and level 2 consisting of "Technicians" and "Ensemble," both of which must appear as subcategories within the level-1 category "????'

But given that cast and ensemble are subspecies of on-stage performers, whereas technicians are offstage workers, "Cast" and "Ensemble" make more sense as functional subcategories of a similar idea (such as "Performers") than "Ensemble" and "Technicians" do. The only way to characterize the latter two groups as subcategories that have something essential in common and stand in contradistinction to "Cast" is to identify them as something like "In the Background" or "Lesser Lights" or "The Little People"—and you wouldn't want to do that, I assume.

Fortunately, there is an easy way out of the problem you've created for yourself: Switch from two levels of subheads to one level. In practical terms, this involves reframing your program as follows:

Some actor as Blah                           |  Me
Foo as Some Character                        |  Myself
Another guy as Teacher                       |  I
Random person as Student                     |  
And so on...                                 | ---------ENSEMBLE-----------
                                             |  Not me
                                             |  A singer
                                             |  Another singer
                                             |  I only sing

I think it's odd to list participants in the order "cast," "technicians," "ensemble"—since ensemble and cast are closer in function to each other than technicians are to either one—but that's up to you.

A sound, broadly applicable general rule for handling subheads in programs, tables, or running text is, Don't create more levels of subheads than you actually need.


The reason you are struggling is your taxonomy is wrong. You have demoted the singers to beneath the crew. Nothing is beneath the crew. 😀

Your top classifications should be “Performers” and “Crew.” The subclassifications beneath “Performers” should be “Cast” and “Ensemble.” If there is a band, then add an additional “Band” classification beneath “Performers.” You might also split up the crew into subclassifications like “Lighting,” “Sound,” “Stagehands.”

Break a leg.

  • The problem is that the spacing needs to look good (i.e. the left column must be around the same height as the right one). The musical has around 20 actual characters, 5 technicians, and 15 singers, so it comes out nicely if I group the technicians and the singers. – AMACB Feb 9 '16 at 1:07

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