How to Set a Stage Backdrop for the 1940s

Written by michelle barry
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How to Set a Stage Backdrop for the 1940s
War scenes are common imagery from the 1940s. ( Images)

Certain, recognisable pop culture and historical elements make the 1940s a memorable era. You can construct a stage backdrop to reflect the 1940s era by incorporating the themes and events with which it is widely associated. For example, the 1940s are known as the big band era, during which large-scale bands consisting of trombones, saxophones and pianos played for parties and events. The 1940s were also marked by the second World War, references to which could be incorporated into the stage design.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paper
  • Staple gun
  • Blown-up photos
  • Construction paper
  • Letter stencils
  • Paint

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  1. 1

    Select a theme for the stage backdrop, taking your cue from the scenes from the play being performed. Examples of potential themes could include a lighthearted big band theme, a joyous scene of soldiers coming home to their sweethearts or a more solemn war scene.

  2. 2

    Cover the backdrop of the stage with paper to give it a uniform colour. Select the colour by the theme you intend to assign to the backdrop. For example, war scenes would work well with a newspaper-themed backdrop, in which case a grey background would be fitting. For a more lighthearted backdrop of soldiers coming home or a big band theme, a photo album would work well, dictating cream- or white-coloured backdrops. Use a staple gun to quickly and easily apply the paper.

  3. 3

    Blow up photographs from the 1940s to poster size and mount them on the back of the stage. The layout of the photos will depend on the theme. For a newspaper theme, blow up war photos or photos of soldiers and place one or two large ones to serve as the focal point, and place a few smaller ones as on the stage's backdrop. For a scrapbook or photo album theme, scatter the photos across the backdrop as though mounted in the pages of an album.

  4. 4

    Format the area surrounding the photos to mimic the layout of a newspaper or the pages of a photo album or scrapbook. For a newspaper theme, cut out letters and form stories and headlines around the photos by mounting the words. For a scrapbook theme, create borders for the photos. Hand write notes, messages and dates on the paper surrounding the photos.

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