How to Make Scrim Work for Stage Ideas

Written by noelle carver
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How to Make Scrim Work for Stage Ideas
A scrim is like a transclucent stage curtain. (Stage Curtains image by Darragh Tobin from

On stage, a scrim is hardly noticed. A thin, lightweight mesh curtain, a scrim stands in for a wall, a pastoral backdrop and other illusions. Scrims are widely used in theatre productions to create depth, special effects or other illusions. Because a scrim can be made out of eclectic materials, scrims are often manipulated for intriguing onstage effects that can be quickly changed when changing scenes or acts.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Choose one mesh scrim and one black scrim. Keep both screen scrims in stage storage so that you can access the different materials for scenes and productions. Note that most scrims are between 18 and 30 feet wide.

  2. 2

    Light the scrim. Use a white or silver fine-mesh fabric scrim to filter natural or artificial light. This creates a silvery effect. Use flood lights or other large lamps to create the effect.

  3. 3

    Paint the scrim. Use the scrim on stage to create the look of a stone or brick wall, a rolling pasture, a winter city scene or a waterfall.

  4. 4

    Place the scrim at the front or back of the stage, depending on your taste. Project images onto the scrim using a digital projector at the front or back of the stage.

  5. 5

    Incorporate shadows. Keep dancers or actors behind the scrim before they enter the stage. Shine lights so that the shadows of the performers loom large on the scrim before they enter the stage.

  6. 6

    Use the scrim as a separator. Leave the audience wondering where certain voices or songs are coming from. Let actors and performers stay behind the scrim before they step into a scene.

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