Creating a Mood on the Stage

Mood is a key element in any performance whether it is: a musical or dramatic performance, on a high school stage or under the big lights of Broadway. The audience can sense the mood and atmosphere through the lighting, music, set design, props, clothing and the tone given off by the actors. The performers can add to the mood by using specific dialogue, facial gestures and movement. Here at Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart, we know the importance of setting the tone, atmosphere and mood from the moment the curtain rises. Let’s take a look at ways to set mood during a performance and through set design.


  • Lighting – Lighting is probably one of the most straight-forward ways to set a mood on stage. From full stage illumination to a single spotlight, the mood can change from wild, happy and energetic to somber and quiet. The intensity, coloring and direction of the lighting can help set a mood that will be mirrored by the actors on stage.
  • Backdrops – Backdrops and drapes come in all sorts of scenic designs and colors. Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart can enhance your production by allowing for dramatic shifts with the use of different backgrounds.
  • Music – The music or score of any production works with the plot, acting, lighting and dialogue to create a mood that is unique to the action on the stage. In addition to the score, sound effects such as doors opening, floorboards squeaking and bells ringing can increase the dramatic effect.
  • Costumes and Props – While every play/musical has its own set and costume design, these items can also play into the atmosphere that the director wants to portray. Whether the play is set in the 18th Century or the 1980s, the clothing and props worn and used by the actors is just one more component that adds to the overall mood of the performance.


Need help creating a mood for your set design? Call Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart for more information on the wide range of backdrops we offer. The possibilities are endless.


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