A backdrop is the scenery that hangs behind the actors in a play. You might help to paint the backdrop for your school's production of "The Sound of Music."

The backdrop is an important part of a theater production, since it provides a setting for a play or sets a mood for a musical performance. If you're watching a local version of "Oliver!" the backdrop might be designed to look like a London street scene, for example. The noun backdrop comes from US theater slang, from a combination of back and drop around 1913.

Definitions of backdrop

n scenery hung at back of stage

backcloth, background
Type of:
scene, scenery
the painted structures of a stage set that are intended to suggest a particular locale

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