How to Use a Theater Scrim

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How to Use a Theater Scrim
Use a Theater Scrim

A theater scrim is a panel or back drop used in theatrical performances. The scrim allows one scene to be going on in front of the scrim while a silhouette or other scene happens behind the scrim. Most scrims are used in dream sequences or for violent imagery. A theater scrim is made from scrim fabric that is painted over to create the desired effect.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Place the scrim on the stage. The scrim needs to be positioned so the scenes take place in front as well as behind the fabric. If you are using a panel, make sure it is large enough for the scene taking place behind the scrim.

  2. 2

    Put a light behind and in front of the scrim. When the stage light is shined in front of the scrim, the scrim appears opaque. When the light is shined behind the scrim, the action and props are seen from the audience in the theater. The amount of transparency depends on the amount of light behind the scrim.

  3. 3

    Block your scene to create silhouettes. Place your actors and props against the back of the scrim and shine the light directly on the actors and props. To see full objects behind the scrim, move the objects 1 to 2 feet away from the scrim and shine the light onto the scrim itself.

  4. 4

    Time the scenes with the lighting crew to insure the scrim is transparent exactly when the actors and director need it to be.

Tips and warnings

  • Use screen doors and windows in theater sets just like a scrim.

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