Stage Drapes


Specialist knowledge is required to advise upon, accurately measure and put through for manufacture new or replacement stage drapes. CCT Lighting (UK) Limited has that specialist knowledge and many years of experience in this field. We offer a free of charge site visit to discuss your requirements, obtain the necessary details and submit our no obligation quotation. It may be that you require only cleaning and re-proofing. We are also able to price for and carry out this work

 All fabrics quoted would meet BS.5867 Part 2:B for flame retardancy


We can offer installation of stage drapes but that’s not all. Our highly trained engineers will make any height adjustments to the stage curtain tracks where necessary to suit your new curtains but before that, supply and install new ropes if required and fully clean and lubricate the tracks, leaving in fully working order


CCT Lighting also stock and supply MSL ‘Firecheck’ flame retarding solution in 0.75 litre spray bottle, 5 & and 25 litre containers along with empty spray bottles, to be used on basically any material that is able to absorb water to enable it to be flame- retardant when dry. Useful for many applications including curtains, soft furnishings and perhaps more importantly in this industry, stage scenery and props. For untreated wood, we offer MSL ‘Timbercheck’


Stage Drapes & Fabrics


 The appearance of the stage from the audience viewpoint is extremely important and of considerable help to the artistes. A well- proportioned proscenium opening with attractive drapes and effective masking will put an audience in a contented frame of mind to accept the performers, while the opposite effect will occur through bad presentation. Atmosphere is important to both artistes and audience to obtain maximum benefit from any performance. In this respect, visual impact is first centred on the closed drapes and therefore selection of the right type of material and design for these drapes is very important. Materials must be acceptable to lighting effects and at the same time blend with the décor. They must contrast or harmonise. Velour has long been a popular fabric in theatre design with the result that is has been associated by the general public with ‘theatre’. Plain colours enable drapes to enhance the setting, sometimes provided with a contrasting band of colour of applique design imposed on the face side of the fabric. However other fabrics are available incorporating man-made fibres with a range of patterns and contrasting shades, even self-lined fabrics are available which can also be considered, particularly when a more contemporary style is intended

 In view of the variety of different qualities and types of material now available, we recommend that advice be taken when considering stage drapes to ensure that the right choice is made. It must be borne in mind that to conform to licencing and Fire Regulations, all curtain fabrics must be treated with a flame retarding solution or be inherently flame retarding in themselves, factors which cannot apply to certain types of material

 The drapes used to mask off the actual acting area of the stage fall into two categories, (a) drapes to blend with the stage setting, usually made up in a neutral grey or black colour in Bolton twill, (b) drapes to enhance or create a highly decorative effect, usually made up in silver or gold satin material, whose shiny surface enables the light to be reflected

 To create a decorative backdrop and not often seen nowadays, this satin material can be arranged in swages to form a festoon, the loops and folds in the material collecting and reflecting the light.

 For Arena and Drama Studio areas, drapes can be made up in sections from either Bolton Twill or Wool Serge material, with Velcro fasteners sewn along the leading and trailing edges so that a single wall or separate sections of curtain can be arranged. Although usually one colour, the curtains can be made up in two contrasting shades, e.g. black and grey reversible. It is also possible to have an inter bump lining sewn in between to enable greater sound and echo control, if desired

 Drapes should be regularly cleaned and flame-proofed every two or three years. Velour materials should always be made up with the ‘pile down’. If cleaning with a brush, always work down the curtain with the pile, never upwards. Under no circumstances should a vacuum cleaner be used as this will cause creasing and puckering of the pile

 On stage drapes, no attempt should be made to remove marks with a water based solution as this will only cause white spots to appear due to the flame-proofing treatment crystallising on the surface of the cloth. If stored away folds must be kept to a minimum and the storage place should be well ventilated

 When in position, drapes should hang just clear of the stage floor to avoid wear along the bottom edge. Professionally designed tracks for use with stage drapes, when fitted correctly are always provided with a suspension bracket and clamp arrangement to allow adjustment on height, so that the drape drop can be varied according to stretch in the curtain material when new, or shrinkage after cleaning and flame- proofing. However, when making up drapes they should always be given generous hems so that any shrinkage that may occur at a later date through cleaning can be compensated for. Curtain materials are specially dyed to suit the total metreage run and a repeat of the same colour (or dye batch) can never be guaranteed. There will always be a slight variation in shade

 Making up stage drapes is a specialised process and entirely different to that associated with normal domestic curtains. Fullness is pre-pleated and sewn in at the heading with spring loaded tab hooks also sewn along the heading at regular centres. Chain weighting is often sewn in along the bottom hem to keep the curtains taut and to go some way to prevent them moving in a draught and settle them quickly after opening or closing. Fullness varies between 20% and 100% according to application and curtains are always webbed at the heading with wide hessian tape (or similar material) to ensure that they hang properly and provide strength. Allowance must be incorporated in the initial making up for shrinkage and adjustment that may be necessary over the years, due to the need for flame-proofing which should be carried out every two or three years, on fabrics not inherently flame-proofed

Some other types of Stage Drapes/fabrics

 Cyclorama Cloths

 Cyclorama cloths provide a backing to the stage set and are important for large scale presentations.

 1. Roller type

 Scenic canvas cloth, flame-proofed, webbed across the heading with tie tapes to fasten to a top fixed steel support tube and provided with a bottom roller A pulley system is fitted complete with hauling ropes so the cloth can be rolled or unrolled. Care must be taken to ensure load tested suspensions are available for the top tube and a firm fixing point for the tie off cleats (or hand winch, depending on the weight) to which the hauling ropes are made off

 2. Fixed type

 Scenic canvas cloth, flame-proofed, webbed across the heading with tie tapes to fasten to a top steel support tube and provided with a bottom pocket hem. A further steel tube is provided for insertion in the bottom pocket hem so that when the cloth is suspended it hangs taut. The top steel support tube is fitted with suspension clamps that can easily be attached for raising and lowering or permanently fixed in position

 Note: Cyclorama cloths can be made up with horizontal seams (or even seamless) to minimise shadow. The material is flame-proofed but need priming before painting

 3. Stage Floor Cloths

 There are a lot of different stage floor covering available now but the traditional way was to fit a stage floor cloth

 To minimise noise, protect floors and reduce reflection of light from polished surfaces, a stage floor cloth may be fitted. Typically a heavy duty flax canvas, double seamed and designed to cover the acting area. Cloths can be eyeleted and supplied with pins and sockets, the latter fitted into the floor so the cloth is firmly secured. Alternatively cloths can be provided for loosely laying over the stage area

 4. Stage Gauzes

 A theatre Sharkestooth gauze (mosquito type netting) has the facility of appearing solid when lit from the front, but vanishing altogether when lighting is brought up from behind, thus enabling dissolve sequences to be introduced onto a stage. Sometimes the gauze is painted with a scene, perhaps an exterior view, so that the dissolve to the interior setting becomes more effective

 From the lighting point of view, success depends upon the front lighting being so positioned that it does not pass through the gauze and the best way of achieving this is to use individual spots and floodlights where the beams can be angled clear of the cloth. Aniline type dyes should always be used for painting the gauze as opposed to normal scenic paints which, when dry would tend to clog the net and spoil the dissolve. Common colours for Sharkestooth gauze material are black, white or grey are available in various very wide widths to minimise seaming and again, as with cyclorama cloths, seams should be kept in the horizontal plain and be arranged either at the top or the bottom of the cloth to be clear of the major part of the picture.

 Due to the light weight of the material, gauze curtains should be weighted to hang taut and kept wrinkle free, as again these would obstruct the dissolve, Grey material, when hung behind a window backing, can be used to simulate fog or mist

 5. Star Cloths

 To provide an effective static backdrop and are usually made up using a flame-retardant Black Wool Serge fabric with no fullness, webbed with tie tapes at the heading to attach to a top tube and chain weighting in the bottom hem. There would also be a flame retardant loose black cotton lining with Velcro. A pre-determined number of small light points (so many per metre) are made up in a loom leading back to a controller or light source. The small light points can be all the same size or various sizes and all the same or different colours and are pushed through from behind, randomly positioned and anchored into the cloth so as not to pull out. These can then twinkle and glow, fast or slow depending on the programmed sequence. Traditionally made up using wired pea light or fibre optic looms, L.E.D. light sources are now the cheapest and most economical way of creating the desired effect. The black cotton lining would help contain the wiring loom when fastened to the back of the face cloth

 Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information or to arrange an appointment






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