The Props Master is responsible for the supervision of the prop shop personnel in the acquisition and construction of the various decorative and functional props in a collaborative design process with the scenic designer. The props master closely coordinates with the scenic, lighting, sound, and costuming departments when any technical needs overlap among those departments. (Based on the description in J. Michael Gillette’s Theatrical Design and Production, 6th ed.)
- Read the script and create a prop list.
- Get preliminary prop list from the stage management team. Compare with your own. Combine into a master list.
- Attend all production meetings. Make sure the stage manager has all of your current contact information. Check rehearsal reports and email daily. Respond promptly to questions and requests.
- Consult the departmental production calendar and note your due dates.
- Arrange to pull rehearsal props (or “do-fers”) with your mentor. Pull rehearsal furniture at the same time. Props should be stored and locked in the props cabinet at all times.
- Always sign out any props taken from prop storage on the inventory log.
- A meeting should be scheduled early in the process with the director, stage management team, scenic designer, and your mentor to discuss all props. During this meeting you should ask questions about size, color, special qualities or characteristics, and how it will be used and/or abused. Also be sure to find out which items are consumed or destroyed nightly. The scenic designer may give you specific designs for some of these items.
- Discuss furniture and set dressing needs with the scenic designer. Get a list of set dressing props. Depending on your skills you may also be responsible for upholstery, picture framing, and the like.
- Look through prop storage to see what we have in stock. Pull these and get approval from the scenic designer before they go into rehearsal.
- Determine what needs to be built or found. Ask the scenic designer for any sketches or drawings needed and confirm with the technical director what the shop will build and what is your responsibility to build. Also determine and list what should be purchased, rented, or borrowed.
- Prepare shopping lists and call before you go to make sure they have what you need. Keep a list of places you have called and/or looked. Organize your list to make the most efficient use of time.
- Speak with your mentor or the technical director about your budget and purchasing procedures and make sure you have approval on all purchases before making them. You will not be reimbursed for unapproved purchases.
- Update the prop list by reading the daily rehearsal reports. At least once every two weeks you should publish your new list and verify it with the stage management team. Date each revision and make sure your designer, mentor, and technical director have updated copies of the list. Pay special attention to deleted items so money and time are not expended on cut items. Attend rehearsals regularly to see how props are used and that they are still on the list. Question the stage manager and/or director about any rehearsal props you have provided that you don’t see used to make sure they are still needed.
- Build and procure props. Do not hesitate to ask for help from your mentor, the scenic designer, or the technical director. Have replacement props for all breakables and paper items. Use a departmental loan form for all borrowed and rented items, make sure to list the value as stated by the owner. Make a list of borrowed and rented items and give to your mentor and the stage manager.
- The day before first tech, prepare offstage props tables with a member of the stage management team who will tell you where everything needs to be placed offstage.
- Create a pre and post-show check-in sheet for all props and post it on the props cabinet. Show this to the stage management team. Make sure it is updated during tech week if needed. Discuss how to report/repair/replace breakable and consumable items. Arrange refrigerator storage space with the technical director if needed. Create a detailed list of where consumables and breakables were purchased and give a copy to stage management. Be sure to notify your mentor and the technical director immediately if anything that is borrowed or of high value is damaged or missing.
- Attend strike to coordinate the removal of props and set dressings. Inventory to make sure nothing is missing. Separate into disposable, stock, and borrowed/rented items.
- After strike return all borrowed or rented props first. Have all loan forms signed and dated when returning items. Deliver signed forms to the technical director and discuss storage or stock items. Clean and then store hand props and set dressings.
Online application for this position.