Impressive visuals help to create memorable experiences, especially within a theatre setting.

Set design and stage backdrops work to convey messages, emphasise themes and transport audiences to different times and places. They also help to bring scripts to life and engage audiences, immersing them in the spectacle of theatre.

In foyers and box offices textile backdrops can also be used to decorate walls, divide rooms, cover rigging and tech equipment and add aesthetic appeal to create a fully immersive theatre experience.

Backdrops can be printed or painted; however, some backdrops work best when they’re left undecorated. Plain black backdrops, for example, can be used to create the illusion of a never-ending space, which will instantly provoke curiosity and unease in an audience.

With new technologies constantly emerging there are now many ways in which innovative stage and theatre backdrops can be created. Here are a few that we recommend at Whaleys Stages to create an immersive theatre experience:


Projected videos and images can really help to enhance theatre shows, concerts and other performance productions. By projecting videos or images onto a plain backdrop, it becomes possible to make imaginative transitions from one scene to another, create background scenery, simulate motion and add atmospheric effects.

Gauze (also known as scrim) backdrops make the best projection canvasses. Lit from the front, a gauze backdrop will be opaque, but when lit from behind, gauze becomes translucent and will project images to create a stunning light spectacle.

Painted backdrops

Whilst digitally printed backdrops are crisp and precise, painted backdrops deliver incomparable texture and expression, creating depth and helping to transport audience members to another place.

Commonly made out of natural painting canvas or matt white cotton canvas, these materials are highly versatile and durable so can withstand the addition of paint.

Star cloths

Star cloth backdrops can be used to create the illusion of a starry night. Star cloths are usually made from black wool serge, have a removable black cotton backing and feature fibre optic or LED bulbs that mimic stars. Dark star cloths help to engage audiences by setting the mood for night-time scenes.

Different coloured backdrops and lights can also be used to create different effects. For example, white star cloths have been used as a backdrop for wedding and prom scenes, whilst black star cloths have also been used to create the effect of having a large audience and as the backdrop for dance scenes.


A cyclorama is a large piece of fabric that’s situated at the very back of a stage and is usually lit to give the appearance of sky. The fabric is usually front-lit and held concave to create the illusion of depth and distance.

Cycloramas can also be lit from the side – simple colour changes in lighting are great for emphasising movement and style in dance shows.

In order to immerse audiences and achieve the effect of depth, cycloramas must be seamless, so filled cloth or seamless white canvas are usually the best material choices to go for.

At Whaleys Stages we offer an extensive collection of flame-retardant fabrics that can used to create the perfect stage and theatre backdrops. Our fabrics range from transparent to opaque, and from textured to smooth materials.

If you need help in creating an immersive theatre experience using backdrops and drapes, please contact a member of the Whaleys Stages team.