top of page

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 you use your  Process JOURNAL throughout the process (to reflect on your process/journey).

part I:  pre-production


(script needs & planning) 


Task #1 (Reading Task): PROPS NEEDS (Formative Grade):   Create your own Props List spreadsheet (Google Classroom) by carefully reading the script for both stated and implied prop needs. (Remember, there are different categories of props:  hand props, set/furniture props, and set dressing).  Once your Props List is complete, turn it in to KP for a grade. (This is an INDEPENDENT assignment.

Sub-Task (Collaborative) Discuss your Props List with your Design team.  As a team you will use everyone's list to compile one FINAL (Google sheets) props list that you will "share" with each group member as you build and revise it.  Use the  props list template from your Google Classroom Props List assignment, and don't forget to "share" with KP, also!


Sub-Task (Collaborative): Highlight all Hand Props & Costume Props on your digital Google spreadsheet in YELLOW. (These are the props you will need to get into the hands of actors ASAP.) Next, look closely at (and discuss) your Set Props & Stage Dressing and discuss both with the Director and Set Design team.

Task #2 (Research Task): RESEARCH  (Formative Grade):  Conduct costume RESEARCH relevant to your show.  Document your research and findings in Google Classroom (Research assignment).  DO NOT just save images - please save links (and descriptions) as well (to where you found your research). Your research is dependent on your script...YOU determine what needs to be researched.  (You don't know what you don't LEARN!)

Task #3 (Planning Task): DEADLINE CALENDAR (Formative Grade):   As a team, create a Deadline Calendar for all of your prop needs, including those you need to find, buy, or make.  Assign prop gathering/ordering/making tasks among your team.  Consider each other's strengths when assigning tasks, and be sure to update your Props List spreadsheet as you acquire each rehearsal & show prop.

Task #4 (Doing Task): START A PROPS TABLE (Formative Grade):   As a team, start creating your PROPS TABLE for all hand/small props.  Label each needed prop IN SHOW ORDER, leaving enough space for each prop.


Inspiration (On-going assignment during the next phase:  REHEARSAL PROCESS) 

Create a Design Board to visually display your research/inspiration.  This will become the springboard for your own designs.  Read about this task below.

Task: RESEARCH/DESIGN BOARD  (Summative Grade - IB: Thinking Creatively):  AFTER your team has discussed and created your FINAL props list, begin looking for INSPIRATION for the look and feel you'd like to achieve with your Props Design. (Note:  You MUST meet with the Director and Set team prior to this step.) 

  • The goal of this task is to research and find information and inspiring images that will assist you in acquiring, designing, or creating realistic and visually interesting props for our production. 

  • Each member of the props team is responsible for researching and/or looking for inspiration for at least 3 props/set pieces (there can be overlap between team members, or you can divide and conquer)

  • Be sure your research is from credible sources, and also allow yourself to be inspired by the world around you. 

  • Creativity thrives in community, so be sure to collaborate with others and your team along the way.

  • As you research, be sure to "collect" your research/inspiration in a location that you can easily access when it's time to create your team's Design Board.

  • After research, discussions, and narrowing of ideas is complete, CREATE A (GROUP) PROPS DESIGN BOARD

  • Note:  You will be graded on your individual contributions to your group's Design Board


execution: (On-going assignment during the next phase:  REHEARSAL PROCESS) 

In order to design anything, a new designer must become comfortable with failure, and leave plenty of time for it during the process.  All creative work involves multiple attempts before arriving at the best outcome.  If you "get it right" the first time, you're probably not involved in creative work, and should re-consider what you've created.  Failure is natural, accepted, and expected in this course.  However, waiting until the last minute to fail is not, so please watch your calendar closely and plan ahead!  Theatre is ALWAYS on a timeline.


Designing and creating anything that's original requires planning.  How this planning "looks" is up to you, but you need to make sure that you make your designing/planning visible.  You will do this planning in your Process Journal, and it may include sketches of your designs, photos of prototypes or models, or physical attempts at your design.  This documentation process could also include a catalog of tutorial videos on how you learned to make your prop (or how to make various aspects of your prop), interviews with experts, or documentation on mentoring you received in tool use or skill development in order to create your prop.  


Task:  PROCESS of Design  (Weekly Formative Grade):  

  • Track your process of design in your Process Journal, including any relevant research, images, sketches, pictures of prototypes, pictures of models, or further learning you did to create your prop (see above).  You must make your design process visible for this grade.  (See paragraph above.)


Task: FINAL PROPS/DESIGN & PROPS  (Summative Grade):  Collect and/or create all needed props for the show (hand props, set props, set dressing).  This Summative grade is based on your (and your group's) final product (cohesive costume design / final costumes) as well as your effective use of time/resources to complete the costumes/fittings on time and the skills you learned about and developed along the way in order to make a smart/creative costume design for this semester's show.


bottom of page