By Amanda Caraway
The stage is an important place in any Christian school, whether you have a space dedicated to theatre performance, a small stage at the back of the gym, or a large stage in an auditorium. There is typically a place where all students gather to receive valuable information and enjoy performances.
However, even if your school only has a small stage, that doesn’t mean you can’t present impressive performances for your students and the community. With these helpful tips, you can maximize your stage no matter the size and resources available.
It comes down to understanding uses for backdrops, PVC piping, window screens, corrugated plastic, wood pallets, and lighting basics.
Creative backdrops can give your stage depth no matter the size. Avoid flat colored backgrounds and go for ones that have more visual interest. Expertly placed, colored backgrounds can create the mood, theme, and tone of a performance and even open up the space.
These offer a great visual effect prop that is also affordable. PVC pipes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. You can use the pipes to create many different shapes and designs, and you can get your students and teachers to help as part of an event or craft project. For an interesting effect, place white pipes horizontally a few inches apart from each other on a wall and then project images on to the surface.
A window screen is cheap and can be made into several cool designs. You can crinkle it up, paint it, warp it, and rip it—whatever you need. (It is best to wear protective gloves when handling window screens as they can cut your skin if you aren’t careful.)
Corrugated Plastic (Coroplast)
Coroplast is a heavy-duty tool that is durable and lightweight. In addition, it retains shapes. Coroplast is mainly available in opaque white, but it can also be found in transparent assortments. This can provide many opportunities to create color through lighting.
You can create a beautiful set using wood pallets by cutting them into cool designs and painting them various colors. You can also create typography, apply lights to the surface (in front or behind), or go for a natural look. (Use protective gloves to avoid splinters!)
With different lighting techniques, you can create designs, craft dramatic effects, and even change the mood of the entire room. Try setting stage lights in the corners and along the back barriers of your stage, shining upward along the wall, to make the room seem more spacious.
Knowing a few lighting basics can help you create more impactful events and performances for your school. Start by asking yourself a few questions.
- Do you need more equipment to effectively light the space and accommodate the type of events and services you plan to host?
- What features do you want from the lighting equipment? Should they provide color variety and dimming options?
- Do you want portable lights or installed lights for permanent positioning?
Here are the different types of lighting equipment you might need:
- A “par can”: A fixture that holds a variety of lamps in order to provide an assortment of lighting options
- Install bars: Permanent fixtures used to hang lights
- Light stands: Portable tools used to hold lights
- Light bulbs (consider using LED bulbs because they last longer, provide stronger light, and use less electricity)
Other equipment you might need:
- Lighting bars
- Lighting rigs
- Colored light gels or colored bulbs
You might also consider contacting members of a local theatre department at a university. Perhaps you’ll find a student who is willing to volunteer at your school to help you set up and learn more about lighting and equipment.
Amanda Caraway is the director of marketing communications for Bertolini, a top manufacturer of church chairs for the past 60 years. Based in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, all Bertolini chairs and carts are manufactured in the USA using only the best suppliers, all based in the United States, www.bertolinidirect.com.