Stage Decorations & Backdrops

By Emily Weller ; Updated September 15, 2017

The backdrop, props and other stage decorations can often make or break a theatrical production. A well done backdrop will properly establish the setting and tone of the play. Stage decorations and props bring the backdrop to life by providing actors with three dimensional objects to act with.

Function

Stage decorations and backdrops perform several functions during a show. They are responsible for setting the mood of the show and create a visual world for the play. The set of a play helps to fulfill a director's or playwright's vision for the production.

Importance

The set and backdrop can also determine the way in which actors move about the stage. For instance, the set may consist of elevated platforms that the actors can climb upon or benches and seats for them to sit on. A wall set on stage can give actors a place to hide behind. Realistic props can increase the verisimilitude of a production.

Features

Stage backdrops are usually made from muslin and are either painted on or digitally printed. The backdrops are designed to be hung from a rail. Stage flats are usually made of a wood frame with plywood on top or muslin stretched across the frame. Scenic artists usually use tempera paint on flats and backdrops.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.