The wonderful reason this woman is selling bags made from retired theater backdrops.

Turns out plays can create more than one type of art.

What happens to those massive gorgeous painted theater backdrops when a show ends?

Jen Kahn who has been a stage manager on and off Broadway for years, never gave a second thought to what happened to the stage scenery when a show ended until a road trip in 2015. She and her friend wandered into a store selling bags made from old sails from sailboats when inspiration struck.

They could do the same thing with discarded theater backdrops.


Just like that Scenery Bags was born.

The gorgeous backdrop from this production is one of the backdrops Scenery Bags used. All photos via Jen Kahn unless otherwise noted.

Kahn collects discarded backdrops from theaters and set rental companies who would've thrown them away.

Jen Kahn in her car laden with backdrops.

The massive backdrops are then cut up and stitched into simple, super cute, rectangular clutches.

Bags are made at a factory in Florida.

Depending on which part of the backdrop they're cut from, the bags come in entirely unique patterns and colors.

"Desert Song" drop (left), "Desert Song" bags.

Each bag also comes with a label inside identifying which show it came from.

Scenery Bags!

There's a label inside each bag.

Kahn didn't just want to repurpose backdrops, though. She wanted to help make theater more accessible to everyone.

A portion of proceeds from the bags goes to the Theater Development Fund's Stage Door program, which takes middle school and high school kids to see Broadway shows.

Photo via TDF.

Scenery Bags went live on July 5, 2017, and sold out in just 48 hours, making enough money to send 10 kids through Stage Door to see shows.

Kahn credits much of the company's early success to the support she's received from the theater community.

“We have been given such an amazing opportunity to create less waste, keep a part of theatre history forever, and introduce a new generation of story tellers to theatre,” Kahn writes in an email.

They also had help from one particularly notable theater fan: "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's" Rachel Bloom.

These @scenerybags are made from retired theatre backdrops and a portion of the profits go to taking kids to see theatre!

A post shared by Rachel Bloom (@racheldoesstuff) on

Bloom found out about Scenery Bags through actress Krysta Rodriguez on Instagram. Rodriguez and Kahn became friends when they both worked on the Deaf West Revival of "Spring Awakening." Rodriguez was a supporter of Kahn's bags from the beginning and was one of the first people to get one.

When Bloom saw Rodriguez post about them, she immediately reached out to reserve her own, and when she received it, posted an unprompted photo on Instagram. Within 24 hours, Scenery Bags' followers jumped up by 1,400.

The next batch of bags are coming soon, from well-known musicals like "Hairspray," and "Oklahoma!" and from the looks of these backdrops, they'll be super cool.

"Hairspray" (top left and right), "Oklahoma!" (bottom left), and "Oz" (bottom right).

“We may be giving [kids] an introduction to theatre, but I strongly believe they will be giving us back so much more,” Kahn writes.

Arts programs in America are endangered. These bags aren't just cute; they're a reminder of theater's significance and will help ensure kids still have opportunities to see live shows.

If arts programs are cut from schools, a generation of kids won't be encouraged to express themselves creatively, and the art world will suffer as a result. Kahn's contribution is just one theater-lover's attempt to turn that around.

Most Shared
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular