Our customers use masking fabrics in numerous ways, not the least of which is to absorb light and to hide walls, equipment and performers. Some additional uses are described below. In most cases, it's important that the masking fabric be opaque so that it acts as a good barrier to light and / or sound.
Masking fabric is often used to cover the walls of black box theatres. However, since walls are flat, hard and parallel to each other, sound waves can bounce back and forth, causing reverberation. To avoid this, use at least 2 layers of heavy flat masking fabric with several inches of space in between. The air space in between serves to trap the sound that goes through the first layer of fabric. Another method is to use curtains with fullness (instead of flat curtains) to cover the walls. A heavyweight fabric, such as Rose Brand 25oz Memorable Velour, with fullness hung in, works well. The irregular folds in the fabric disperse the sound waves and the mass of the material absorbs some of the energy.
Both of these solutions can be accomplished easily by tying the fabric to pipes mounted from the ceiling, or installing the fabric on a pair of parallel traveler tracks suspended in front of the walls of the theatre. Traveler tracks allow for adjustment and provide possible storage positions when the masking is not in use.
* Rose Brand recently tested the acoustical performance of eight of our most popular masking fabrics. Results for the medium weight 12oz Brava up to the heavy 32oz Royale are available in the Rose Brand Catalog and on the website.
Theatre / Arena Reduction Curtains
If a theatre has fixed seating areas that are not being used for a particular production, masking can be used to cordon off the area. Fabric panels can be hung from suspended pipes or tracks that are hung in front of the seats to be hidden. Pipe and Base 2.0 systems are also available and allow for very versatile placement of the masking. The Pipe and Base system is ground supported and can be set up and moved as needed.
Transforming Theatre Spaces
An ordinary black box space can be reconfigured to a theater in the round space with the use of masking fabrics. Let’s consider a rectangular black box space with galleries around the perimeter. When configured in the round, masking is generally used to cover the walls of the theatre and to provide passages for actors and crew. This can be done by tying the masking to the railing of the galleries or the masking can be hung from traveler tracks on the galleries. The traveler option provides more immediate flexibility when changing the space from a proscenium or thrust configuration, to a round setup.
A Selection of Masking Fabrics Available from Rose Brand
Most Requested: 22oz Encore IFR
Broadest Color Selection: 21oz Marvel FR
Best Overall Sound Absorption: 25oz Memorable FR
Most Economical Solutions: Commando Cloth FR and Duvetyn FR
Durability for Long Term Installations: 30oz Wool Serge IFR
Pipe and Base 2.0