The History Of The Red Curtain

5th May 2016

The curtain is drawn, and the show is about to start. I sit anxiously in my theatre seat, awaiting the next showing of the local play. Being that I love selling curtains online, my mind wanders to the history of the red curtain that hangs in front of me. It always seems like there is a large red curtain on every stage. Why is this? Where did it come from? Is it always red? These questions caused my mind to wander aimlessly before the show began, and now that I’m home, it’s time to do some quick research and share with you!

The History Of The Red Curtain

Why Is There A Large Curtain?

This answer is quite simple: the big curtain allows the audience to sit in anticipation and awe. Prior to the start of the show, the audience sits and waits, wondering what the opening set will look like. The curtain provides a simple barrier between those on stage and those in the audience. Moreover, the lowering of the curtain at the end of the show signals that it is finished.

Where Did The Curtain Come From?

It’s hard to find the history of the theatre curtain, but from what I’ve read so far, it appears to have been around for many moons. The curtain closing is a widely used metaphor for something coming to an end, but I haven’t found any significant stories of the history. Have you had any luck? What do you know about the history of the theatre curtain?

Is It Always Red?

While red is one of the most popular colours for theatre curtains, it is not alone. Some curtains, especially today, are black or of many different colours. The red theatre curtain is typically remembered and used because it best allows a spotlight to show on stage. Different coloured curtains would absorb the light, making it difficult for the speaker to be shown. Moreover, in previous years, red fabric showed fire retardants the least. Today, there are many different clear applications of fire retardant chemicals to protect curtains of any colour, but red remains traditional.

There you have it, folks, a quick bout of red curtain history. Do you have any other good theatre stories to tell? While Quickfit doesn’t sell any massive theatre curtains, you can hang some modest red curtains in your home to house a bit of the theatre tradition yourself. Shop for red curtains online now.