Rose Brand Know-How Blog

Entertainment & event production tips, news & stories

Specifying A Tab 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.




The Tab Curtain...Explained

We receive a lot of phone calls from people who are curious about Tab curtains. Tab curtains are often used as grand drapes to provide both dramatic impact when revealing a stage and as a practical way to hide off-stage elements that would otherwise be seen in the wings.

The following video provides a sense of how a Tab Curtain looks and operates. For more information on different types of curtains please see the Custom Sewing section of our Web site. You'll find more curtain demonstrations as well as explanations of different curtain types, curtain fullness, curtain finishes and more. See the main body content of the page as well as the links along the left side.