Working alongside a designer and Production Manager, the Props Supervisor is responsible for managing the making, purchasing, altering and hiring of all ‘properties’ for the production. A prop is not only an object that is handled by an actor, it can be anything that is on stage, including: furniture, set dressing, soft furnishings, light fittings and essentially anything that is not the physical set or worn as an item of costume.
- An understanding of art history and periods of design.
- Wide range of artistic and technical skills, including painting and finishing skills.
- Ability to visualise and realise a drawing/design into a 3D object.
- Fabrication skills: upholstery and sewing skills, wood and metal work, fibreglass, sculpting, casting, in addition to maintenance skills.
- An understanding of how items are used on stage and ensuring that they are fit-for-purpose.
- Maths is an essential part of the job. Whether it's mixing the right proportions of catalyst to resin, working out a compound angle whilst cutting a piece of wood, calculating the proportion of shrinkage whilst dying fabric, or allowing enough spare fabric for a seam allowance whilst making curtains.
- Attention to detail.
- An ability to work well under pressure and to strict deadlines.
- Good communication.
- BA (Hons) Theatre Practice - Prop Making – Central School of Speech and Drama Click Here
- BA (Hons) Scenic Arts – Construction, Props and Painting – Rose Bruford College Click Here
- Foundation Degree in Theatre Arts: Prop Making & Special Effects – Northbrook College Sussex Click Here
- BA Production Arts and Design – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Click Here
Other courses are available. Those above represent a sample from various drama schools and universities.
- Ensuring props are appropriate to the overall production design, both in appearance as well as functionality.
- Creating a costing and managing expenditure to ensure the cost of making and purchasing the props is within the agreed budget.
- Supervising Props Team, which could include Props Maker, assistant and buyer and ensuring that all deadlines are met.
Various Prop Making courses and degree programmes are available within drama schools. People often study one-year post A-level Art Foundation prior to studying Props, which gives the learner a wide range of art skills. Courses such as Stage Management and Technical Theatre Arts that have Prop Making as a core subject provide an invaluable overview to the theatre industry as a whole. People without formal training can create a portfolio showcasing props and models they’ve made, which they show to prospective employers. Existing skills can be developed and new ones acquired on-the-job, working alongside more experienced Prop Makers.
- The Prop Builders Molding and Casting Handbook by Thurston James, 1989
- Making Stage Props - A Practical Guide by Andy Wilson, 2003
- Scenic Art and Construction: A Practical Guide by Tim Blaikie and Emma Troubridge, 2002
- Stage Design: A Practical Guide by Gary Thorne, 1999
- Stage Design and Properties by Michael Holt, 1993