Effects (Theatrical)



Reading / History

Stage Effects - How To Make and Work Them (1928)
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Drop Bags / Petal Drops

Used to drop lightweight material onto the stage. Can be released electrically (via a solenoid) or via a string. 

Flying Effects

See Performer Flying page 

Lighting Effects


  • Burning Logs / Campfire 
    The method depends on the distance the audience is from the effect, and the size of the campfire. 
    Option 1: Real logs that have been treated with flameproofing solution over a metal frame (e.g. inverted hanging basket for plants) below which are 3 light bulbs (maximum 40 Watts) surrounded by lighting gel, which are connected to dimmers which are controlled by a lighting desk running a flicker effect. The brightness and rate of the effect can easily be varied. A small smoke machine can be added into the mix to provide a smoke effect. 
    Option 2: The same logs and frame, but instead using a fan, light sources and silk flames (see video below) to produce the illusion of flames (works best over a long distance)
    Option 3: Use lanterns in various colours pointing at the actors to produce the light from the campfire, rather than focussing on the fire itself. 
    Option 4: Use reflective material (e.g. foil) under logs and then focus profile lanterns onto the camp fire from the rig – the foil will reflect the light into the audience without the danger of hot lamps. 

Trap Doors

See the Trap Doors and Lifts page for more information. 


See separate section

Smoke / Haze

Water Effects

See also

External Links


PRG Scenic Rigging & Automation [USA]
Unusual Rigging Rigging, suspension and automation [London, UK]


Chicago Flyhouse [Chicago, USA]
Fisher Technical Services 3D Flying [USA]
Flying by Foy [Las Vegas, USA]
Flying by Foy [Borehamwood, UK]
Hi-Fli [Manchester, UK]
North American Association of Flying Effects Directors (NAAFED) [USA]
On The Fly Productions LLC
The Fly Guy Paul Rubin [USA]
Vertigo Flying Effects formerly Hall Associates [Chicago, USA]
ZFX Flying [Louisville, USA]


Silicon Theatre Scenery Scenic automation and performer flying [The Netherlands]


Look Solutions [Germany, Europe]
LSG Low Smoke Generator from Le Maitre Carbon Dioxide input required
LSX Low Smoke Converter from Le Maitre
Martin (Jem)
Smoke Factory [Germany, Europe]
Theatre FX [USA]


Chabuki Kabuki Drop Mechanism [USA]
https://www.showtex.com/en/products/hardware/roll-reveal-systems/hispeed-reveal Hi-Speed Cloth Reveal [Belgium / International]
Special Effects Suppliers / SFX Supplies Hire and Sales [UK]
Strictly FX [IL, USA]
Theatre Effects [USA]

Keywords: stage effects, theatre effects, theatrical effects