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the role of the PROPS designer

If you chose to serve on the  PROPS DESIGN TEAM for this semester's Advanced Acting show, you are responsible for participating in design team meetings as well as growing as a designer during the rehearsal and performance process.


If serving on the Props Design Team, you are ALSO responsible for independently learning about the role of a props designer as outlined below. 


Please be sure to use your  Google Classroom Process JOURNAL (to reflect on your process/journey).

learning about PROPS design




complete before CLASS-time ON FRIDAY, 11/20:

Do (Formative Grade):  Create your own Props "Needs" spreadsheet (by carefully reading the script for prop needs). 

Be sure you've listed on your spreadsheet all stated props needed, the implied props needs, and any set dressing items needed.  (You may also need to consider if/when props needs affect other teams, such as set.)  Once your Props List is complete, turn it in to KP for a grade.  See IAWL - Design Spreadsheet in Google Classroom.  (Note:  This assignment was given on 11/11/20 and won't be accepted past 11/20/20.)

complete before CLASS-time ON tuesday, 11/24:

Understand: All design begins with reading the SCRIPT

From there, designers INTERPRET the script (and also meet with the director to understand her/his vision), do RESEARCH for their designs (i.e. time period, style, etc.), come up with an overall DESIGN CONCEPT (to make all designs cohesive), create preliminary SKETCHES, and then create PROTOTYPES, DESIGN BOARDS, RENDERINGS and/or MODELS (so that others will understand what the final product will look like and how it will function).  This is the DESIGN PROCESS that we will also be using in Advanced Acting for our show - regardless of the design area you chose.

WatchProps Design (2:05)

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:  What is the main role of a Properties Designer?  (week 13)

  1. What is the main role of a props designer?  (as stated at the beginning of the video)

  2. In what specific ways can designers accomplish this?  (give specific examples from video)

  3. In what ways can YOU better accomplish this goal while working on OUR play?  (give specific examples using script as guide)

ReadReading a Script for PROPS

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:   How to Read a Script for Props

Describe the things you should/shouldn't do when reading a script in search of props needed. 

WatchProps Manager (7:13)

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:  The PROCESS & SKILLS of a Props Manager  (week 13)

1. While listening, jot down the PROCESS of props management as described in the video.

2. While listening, jot down SKILLS needed for a props manager.

3. What new and/or important things did you learn about or hadn't previously thought about when it comes to props?

ReadProps for the Theatre

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:  How can props support the story of the play?  (week 13)

  1. Name 4 things that prop designers DO to support the story of the play (1st paragraph)

  2. What was the analogy shared to define "what is a prop"?

  3. How can the props in OUR show give "clues" about WHO the characters ARE or about the TIME PERIOD in which the show is set?  (Spend some time with script and in design reflection and list at least 5 specific prop examples from OUR show.)

  4. Observe closely the photos provided.  Notice the differences between the set after load-in, and the set after it's "dressed".  (No need to write a response.)

  5. What are the 3 types of props a designer must gather/create for a production?  (see blue band across the webpage)


complete before CLASS-time ON WEDNESDAY, 12/2:

ReadHand Props

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:  Hand Props (week 14)

  1. What is a "hand prop"?

  2. What are "adds" and "cuts" and how might you, as a props designer, be best prepared to handle these?

  3. Consider the pros & cons to using the "real" prop vs. the "rehearsal" prop in rehearsal.  (Create a pros/cons chart in your journal for use of real vs. rehearsal props)

  4. What is important to consider when making a preliminary props list?

  5. What is an example of at least one "support prop" in YOUR script?


Read: Set Props

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:   Set Props  (week 14)

  1. What is a "set prop"?

  2.  Who generally communicates the needs of "set props" to the Prop Designer?

  3. What are the biggest challenges with set props?  (see paragraph after the pictured groundplan)


ReadStage Dressing

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:   Stage Dressing  (week 14)

  1. What does "stage dressing" encompass and what does it help to convey?

  2. For decor such as curtains and furniture pieces, designers often utilize photos or drawings to show what they intend.  Observe closely the photo collages provided on this page, since you will be making your own Props Design Board (collage).

Begin:  Create a Props Design Board for our show. 

Your design board should include RESEARCH and INSPIRATION images for our show's difficult props (such as the vintage microphones, etc.).  You MUST find a way to communicate clearly what YOU'D want the final props to look like/include, and how your research guided you in finding or MAKING our props.  Be sure to use the script as guide, and also be sure to research props in the context of the time period of the show.   

  • Note:  Your design "board" can be physical (such as a collage) or digital, (such as Google Slides). Either way, you must share your props research/inspiration with Ms. Price via Google Classroom - see assignment entitled Props Design Board - week 14.)  Your Props Design Boards are due 12/9.

  • Note:  Following your research (and inspiration), you must work to find all the props needed for our show.  Be sure you search for period-specific props and that you also communicate with the Sound Effects team about which props your team will be handling, and which the SFX team will be handling.

complete before CLASS-time ON friday, 12/4:


ReadProps Shop Skills

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:  Prop Skills  (week 14)

  1. What are some different "names" for the head of a props team?  

  2. List as many SKILLS as you can find in this reading that are mentioned as helpful for any props designer.  

  3. What does Jim Guy  consider to be the best "technology use" on stage?  Why do you think that is?

Continue:  Work to complete your design boards and also ​continue searching for and/or making all needed props for the show.  (Design Boards are due on Wednesday 12/9.)


(This means that if you need to find or order anything, that must be done long before this due date. See Ms. Price if you need money or any other resources in order to complete this task on time.)

complete before CLASS-time ON wednesday, 12/9:

WatchBehind the Scenes at Disney's Aladdin

(Google Classroom) Process Journal Entry Title:  Calltime​ / Pre-Show Checklist  (week 15)

1. In professional theatre, as shown in this video, what are the (specific) tasks performed by YOUR assigned role prior to a show?  

2.  What are some of the things that YOU could put on YOUR Pre-Show checklist to be sure our show runs smoothly?  (Think of ALL the things necessary from the time you enter the black box until the show starts, including things like "Where do I put my personal belongings?" or "Where should this prop be pre-set?" or "What's the best place for this quick change to happen?" Etc.  Don't forget to include "sign in" on your checklist.)

Do (Formative Grade):  You will create YOUR Pre-Show Checklist with ALL tasks to consider prior to the show.  This MUST be well-thought out and completed/hung up PRIOR to the FIRST dress/tech rehearsal.  (You will also create a copy in Google Classroom - "Pre-Show Personal Checklist - will be uploaded by Friday 11/20" Type and print your checklist (with your name in large font at the top) and hang in a designated area backstage.  (Keep in mind that you will most likely need to add to this list from things you learn or are reminded of in dress/tech rehearsals.


(This list will be added to over time.  Let KP know if you find any helpful information that could be useful to future Advanced Acting students.)

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