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Specifying A Tab Curtain

What To Consider When You Are Designing Your Curtain

When using a Tab Curtain on stage you not only introduce a dramatic main drape for your show, but you introduce a piece of gear that will affect the blocking (movements) of your performance.  Even when a tab is fully open, audience sight lines are diminished. Practically speaking, this can be very effective in theaters whose layouts create sightlines that would otherwise allow audiences to see into the wings of the stage.

Tab Curtain (IFR Empress Synthetic Velour), Broadway Musical:WICKED, Designer:Eugene Lee, Scene Shop:F&D Scene Changes.

When designing your Tab Curtain there are two design paradigms to consider:

  1. Taller Than Wider The cleanest most elegant swags on a Tab curtain are going to occur when the tab is built on a large scale. Tabs look best when the height of the panels used is greater than the width. So each half of the curtain should be taller than it is wide.

  2. Belly + Tail = Height of Drape To determine how tall your drape needs to be, you'll first want to obtain a sense of what the curtain will look like when it's in the opened position. You'll want sufficient height to allow for dramatic swags and appropriate taildowns (see the image above). Calculate the height of the curtain by adding the length of the "belly" of the swag and the height of the taildown. The sum of these two values equals the height of the drape in its closed position.

For more information on specifying stage curtains, check our previous blog post titled "How to Specify a Stage Curtain to Obtain a Cost Estimate (Part 1)." If you would like to find out more about Rose Brand stage curtains for purchase or rent please visit, send us an email at, or give us a call at 800-223-1624.

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