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Hanging backcloths


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In our annual panto we use four or five 12m X 5m (ish) backcloths. For years these have been fastened to 6m lengths of 6x2 timber and hung with a rope at each end, over a pulley so we can raise and lower to suite. Ive been involved for the last 5 years and the wood was there then.

This year one of the stage hands tried to lift one of the cloths whilst it was down, and managed to break one of the timbers.

I would like to replace all the timbers but my question is;


Do I replace them with wood again, and if so who does wood to this length?

Should I look into using trusses or aluminium barrel?

Is two rigging points enough to support the cloth? (About 20 - 30kg)



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Any decent builders yard or timber mill will supply 6X2 because it is the base for decking. You may have to ring round for the length but I have had loads of it in the past.


Tube will deflect under it's own weight if suspended at each end over 6m, be it steel or aluminium. Trussing would be overkill in most instances and bring problems with depth. Lightweight truss would also deflect though not as much as tube.


Based on what you write I think replacement the best for the present. If it is for next year then considering proper bars with multiple suspension points is a possibility, dependent on your budget. I am aware of where you perform and assume there could be limitations to what is achievable. Don't rush into anything new.

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Our venue has quite low masking but a decent height to the grid, but still needs work when people have tall cloths. As a result we use timber battens to roll the top of tall cloths and then use batten clips to attach the batten to the bars. These timbers are damn heavy. I'd suggest maybe some lightweight two chord ladder truss. Very light, but ideal to hang a cloth from when used vertically. If you must lift from the ends, I'd suggest this could be a less heavy solution, and not too expensive?
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