Category Archives: Showcases

Showing off the prop portfolios of people, prop shop spaces, and props for shows.

Milwaukee Rep’s Prop Shop

Anna masters embroidery stitches
Anna masters embroidery stitches

Anna Warren pointed me to an article which goes behind the scenes at Milwaukee Repertory‘s prop shop. “Props Properly Placed“, by Susan Bence of WUVM, shows Anna and the other artisans, along with properties director Jim Guy, getting ready for a production of Pride and Prejudice.  There is an audio segment as well as a written one. Don’t miss the link to the photo slideshow as well.

For more information, Mike Lawler’s website has a profile on Jim Guy, including a short video.

A shelf of dinnerware from Martha's prop shop

Martha Stewart’s Prop Room

A shelf of dinnerware from Martha's prop shop
A shelf of dinnerware from Martha's prop shop

This is from last year, but I just came across it and found it interesting. Martha Stewart maintains a prop library for all her photo shoots and television segments. On her blog, she gives an inside look at this props library and how it is maintained. The place looks huge!

They use a bar code system to track and inventory all the props. I know the Santa Fe Opera also bar codes all their props kept in stock. What kind of inventory management system does your shop use?

Actors Theatre of Louisville

Humana Festival

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Actors Theatre of Louisville

I had the pleasure of working at the Actors Theatre of Louisville back in 2006-7. This time of year, they begin working on the Humana Festival, a festival of new plays. It’s a hectic time for the props shop, with six new plays, three short plays, and apprentice scenes all being fully produced within two or three months. That’s a lot of props.

This year, Mark Walston, the props supervisor at ATL, is writing a blog during this process. It looks pretty interesting so far, and really gives a good inside look at life in the props shop at one of America’s great regional theatres.

I’ve linked to Mark’s Flickr stream of photos from the production studio a while back, which gives another great look behind the scenes at ATL.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival on Video

Alabama Public Television has produced a video focusing on the production of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The video on props is pretty good, showing one of the fastest life-casting processes ever. The rest of the series, called “The Art of the Theatre“, isn’t bad either.

It’s videos like this that make me wish more theatres, especially prop shops, had their own video series. If your prop shop has any videos anywhere, or if you know of any that do, let me know.

Ross MacDonald

The Book of Secrets from National Treasure, made by Ross MacDonald
The Book of Secrets from National Treasure, made by Ross MacDonald

I came across the props portfolio for Ross MacDonald. He has done paper props for films such as National Treasure, Mr. Brooks, and Seabiscuit. His portfolio is not only well-illustrated, but contains a lot of information about how he went about creating his props. If you ever think you are over-researching your props, chances are, you haven’t been as obsessive as Mr. MacDonald. Have you ever submitted a Freedom of Information Act to obtain an FBI file from the Lincoln assassination to replicate John Wilkes Booth’s diary? Probably not.