How to Hang Stage Curtains

By Contributing Writer

Stage curtains are an essential part of theater. Each stage has at least two or three sets of curtains — the main curtain, or grand drape, several sets of side or border curtains and a back curtain, or cyclorama. Nearly all stage curtains are hung on tracks that today are for the most part controlled by mechanized switches. These switches pull the curtains open and shut when told to move. It is fairly easy to hang these curtains on their tracks with some arm strength and a little help.

Make sure your tracks are installed properly and ready for curtains. See the Resources below for some retailers that offer theater tracks.

Decide if you need hooks and if so, what kind of hooks you will need. This should be explained in your track's instructions. Some curtains will have grommets, while others will have clips already installed. If your curtain has grommets, you can use an S-hook and hook one end to the grommet and another to the clips provided on the tracks. See Resources for more information on the different kinds of top finishes your curtain may have.

Set up your ladder under the stage's tracks. You will want a friend down below to help feed curtains to you. If your theater has the set up, you may also be able to hang the curtain while you are positioned on the catwalk.

Keep your hooks with you on the ladder and place them on the top hem of your curtain. You can also do this while on the ground. If using this method, you may wish to tape hooks onto the grommets, using strips of masking tape, to ensure they don't slip off as you go up the ladder. If dealing with clips, take the width of your curtain and divide it by the number of clips you have. This will be the number of inches between two clips.

Carefully begin clipping the curtain to each clip as to your manufacturer's instructions. If using clips, measure out the inches calculated in Step 4 before putting on the next clip.

If you are hanging your curtains up from a pipe instead of a track, tie the curtains onto the pipe using twill ties. Run the twill ties through the grommet and tie it securely and tightly with a double knot above the pipe.

Tip

If you have any doubts about installing your stage curtains, call a professional.

Warning

Have your rigging inspected regularly, especially if hanging stage curtains yourself. You want to ensure that no one gets hurt on stage.