While reading this post on the Politics SE, I saw an answer that mentioned something which the poster referred to as a "crowd warmer:"

There are crowd warmers (*) that tell people when and how to cheer (clap after each sentence, cheer after the "highlight", cheer some more when politician talks about his opponent).

(*)I don't know the exact translation of the french term "Animateur de foule".

I tried looking up translations for the French phrase and had no joy. I looked up "crowd warmer," but it seems to mean "opening act."

I think I've seen something like an old-fashioned light-up sign that says "Applause" to tell live studio audiences to applaud, but the device I'm asking about could signal other actions as well. I've also seen supertitles at operas, but that's not the right word either. Is there a word or phrase for a modern device that does what the user described?


The ______ instructed the audience to cheer when the speaker raised both hands, but to boo when he shook his head.

  • The Trumpometer?
    – WS2
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 0:21
  • 2
    It's called an "audience prompter" and it can refer to a device (screen with simple instructions to clap, cheer, laugh, etc.) or a human making gestures and/or holding up signs with instructions.
    – pyobum
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 0:42
  • 3
    The one time I was in a live studio audience for a game show it was a live human "production assistant"
    – user662852
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 1:18
  • 3
    I think the original context was referring to live performers as crowd warmers, not machines. Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 2:20
  • In French, it's also called a "chauffeur de salle". Apparently it could be translated as a "warm up act". However warm up act seems to be an opening only act, not something that goes on throughout the whole show. Can any native speaker confirm that this expression is used ? Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 10:03

1 Answer 1


It is usually called "an applause sign".

When an "applause sign" begins to flash, it's time for the audience to clap hands and whistle and cheer. At least those who feel like doing it.

  • This device could do more than a light-up applause sign. I've edited the question and the example to clarify. Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 0:50
  • 3
    I suspect that, in spite of the fact that the signs are now digital and can display any text, they are still referred to in many studios as "the applause sign".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 0:52

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