A Deeper Look at the Backdrop Design Process
When our team sets out to design a backdrop, we take several things into account. The needs of theatrical directors, dance instructors, and event planners are priority number one. We survey the market and listen to our clients to identify areas that need more – or better – attention. Our Creative Team and Directors’ Roundtable then work to develop new scenery options, using top-notch artistry to fulfill those needs.
Taking Inspiration from Specific Shows and Scenes
In many cases our backdrop designs are not just inspired by specific shows, but by specific scenes in shows. For instance, one of our very well received drops, Emerald City Great Hall, came about as we saw a need for improved WIZARD OF OZ backdrops. There were already a ton of drops for this production. However, nothing really set the scene for Dorothy and company’s meeting with The Wizard himself. Considering that this is such an integral part of the show, this NEEDED to be changed. Our team brainstormed how best to portray the interior of The Wizard’s castle onstage. Obviously we needed a whole lot of emerald, but what else? Our team went with a combination of natural light, jewel encrusted lamps, and of course, some gold.
This backdrop provides the scenery needed for the Wizard’s Chambers, while still allowing for set pieces that match your vision. A curtained-off operating room is a popular addition in front of this drop. We’ve even seen clients get extra creative and project “the Wizard” onto the drop itself.
Taking Inspiration from Our Customers
Paris Opera House Grand Foyer
In other instances, we know that we may have a great backdrop, but that it just isn’t for everybody. Our Paris Opera House Grand Foyer has proven to be extremely popular with both event planners looking for an ornate setting and with directors who are planning their production of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Many other clients like the overall design but are searching for something a little less opulent.
Our Directors’ Roundtable weighed in and made some alterations to this popular interior, providing two different versions (Grand Theater Foyer and Grand Theater Foyer B) that deliver an elegant setting while toning down the overall feeling conveyed by the drop. This revision may appeal to event planners, who may not be fond of gold, and to directors seeking conservative elegance. (For settings such as Daddy Warbuck’s mansion in ANNIE.) While the alternative designs are inspired by theaters around the world, they do convey the feeling of wealth that is called for inside of a well-to-do estate. (And yes, we do have a traditional Mansion Foyer as well.)
This same design principle can be seen in our selection of cottage backdrops. Belle’s Cottage, designed with Belle from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in mind, conveys a lively, clean, and happy setting. In contrast, our Wood Cottage could work for BEAUTY, but, by design, it fits in better with scripts like SHREK THE MUSICAL or HANSEL AND GRETEL that call for more humble settings. We feel that putting an emphasis on tone and the message that on-stage imagery can provide is critical when building an innovative rental inventory for our clients.
Ultimately, we know that there are just some backdrops that must be readily available. Looking for the missing links in the backdrop world allows us to provide better imagery options for shows and events. Ensuring that we can provide backdrops that allow you the widest array of options for any given scene or event theme is also a must. While it may seem to be a bit mundane to some, it is a passion here at TheatreWorld.