Home / News / How to specify the stage curtain to get a cost estimate

How to specify the stage curtain to get a cost estimate

The curtains on a stage play many roles, mostly IFR Stage Curtain Fabric to create illusions. Cycloramas bounce light and projections. Scrims bounce light, create depth and then become invisible to allow the upstage scene to "bleed through" for the audience see our blog article on Scrim. Legs, Borders, Tabs, Blackout Drops, Mid and Rear Travelers are called the Masking. Their role is to block and absorb light and disappear.The Main Curtain, sometimes called the Grand Drape, is intended to create an impression, not an illusion. First impressions are important, and when an audience enters the theatre all eyes go to the Main Curtain.Main Curtains are usually made of heavyweight Velour, a pile fabric which creates a plush rich look when lit.


For many years the standard stage curtains have been Cotton Velour. If the budget will allow, it's best to use25 oz Memorable or 25 oz Majestic. The Memorable has a deeper pile; the Majestic has a shorter but denser pile oz velour could be used for the main curtain, but the savings are not substantial enough to warrant diminishing the look and durability of this star of the stage curtain show. Savings can be made elsewhere in the specification as we'll see when we look at the trade-offs involved with lined vs. unlined, fullness, and masking fabric choices.The most popular colors are deep reds, plums, wines, through purples and dark blues. Wine is the single most popular color.


Light colors are not advisable for permanent curtains because of the expense and difficulty of cleaning, as well as the lighting challenges they present for incoming productions.In the past decade, the quality of synthetic velour has steadily improved, making it a reasonable and sometimes preferable choice for a Main Curtain. Some synthetic velour is more expensive than natural velour. So why use a synthetic? The synthetics are IFR Inherently Flame Retardant or DFR Durably Flame Retardant, meaning that that they are permanently flame retardant. Cotton velour must be tested for Flame Retardancy every five years or so and could possibly require retreatment. The cottons are treated with a FR compound that is water soluble. If the cotton curtains get wet or are subject to fluctuations in humidity and condensation, the compounds could come out of solution causing discoloration.


Usually when a cotton velour curtain gets wet it cannot be salvaged.In general, the larger the curtain dimensions, the greater the cost of the curtain. However, how you specify the "fullness" of a curtain can also significantly change the amount of fabric that’s needed. Fullness is the extra fabric used to create the folds in a curtain. In the theatrical field, we speak of fullness as the added percentage of width pleated into the curtain. A flat curtain is 0% fullness. 50% fullness is half again as much added. For example a 30’ wide curtain with 50% fullness, would start out at 45’ wide and be pleated into the finished width. When specifying fullness, always refer to the finished width of the curtain. How much fabric needs to be added will be understood from the fullness percentage.