One of the most versatile pieces of equipment used in theatre, TV, corporate events and fashion shows is the humble black drape. Usually made from velvet or wool, these drapes have the power to focus the eye, create intimacy, frame drama, delineate spaces and welcome guests.
Used in theatre for hundreds of years, they remain a staple of event production as they are safe (when fire-retarded), simple to set-up, quick to bump-out and can really make a statement.
We asked our experienced event production team how they use black drapes in events and some of the ways might surprise you!
1. Back-up band member
Use a black drape to create a stage presence for a band, and mask off any background visuals that might distract from the main event or diminish the impact of the lighting design.
2. Hide a multitude of sins
Have you ever looked behind a black drape? They can easily hide an element of a wall, signage, doorways or anything undesirable in a venue. This is a great temporary solution if you’re renting a venue and much quicker than stripping back wall decals or using flats to cover over.
3. Change a floorplan
Like all fabric, there is a front and back to a drape; by hanging two drapes, back-to-back, you can create a beautiful wall and demarcate spaces in a venue – creating break-out areas for conferences, pre-dinner drinks areas, rehearsal spaces and more. You can also use drapes to reduce the size of a room, ensuring it’s in proportion to your audience size and suitably intimate.
4. A dramatic ta-dah reveal
Drapes are the perfect way to make a dramatic reveal when paired with a kabuki. Kabukis are magnetic systems that hold the drape at the top with magnets, and then, at the press of a button the magnets release and the drape dramatically falls to the ground. A great device to use when unveiling a new product, dedicating a plaque, revealing an entertainment act or when your welcome drinks and dinner area are in the same space, but you want to reveal the dinner area with flair.
5. Create an entrance
Welcome guests to an event with an entrance that sets the right tone from the get-go. Not all venues are created with a VIP entrance in mind, but by hanging drapes either side and a shorter one across the top, you can create a threshold with a distinct entrance.
6. Hide staging equipment
On any event, trusses, cords, AV equipment, lighting and event gear can be unsightly and distract from the magic. By using truss borders (short length drapes) you can make your trusses (hung high or low) ‘disappear’, hide AV equipment’s lights and cover under stage areas creating clean lines, polished finishes and keep the magic alive for the audience.
7. Create dressing areas and green rooms
Backstage, use drapes to create dressing areas for models’ pre-catwalks, green rooms for talent prepping, and storage areas for crew. This is a great way to use valuable event space efficiently and cost effectively, and when needed, the spaces can be manipulated to meet the changing needs of your production.
Bonus information: Some hot tips our event production team thought you should know!
Let the stars shine.
Like the idea of elegant black drapes but looking for something a little more? Star drapes are a great way to make an ethereal statement. They are made of black wool and have tiny LED lights discretely sewn into them, perfect for backdrops, walkways, and theatre and TV sets.
Australia has strict standards when it comes to theatrical drapes being fire-retarded. Be sure to check your supplier has up-to-date documentation of their fire-retarding programs to ensure the safety of your team and guests, and protection of your event’s reputation.