Tag Archives: internships

New Grants for Props Interns

The Society of Properties Artisan Managers is pleased to announce two new grants: the Jen Trieloff Grant for theatrical properties and the Edie Whitsett Grant for theatrical properties.

The Jen Trieloff Grant for Theatrical Properties

The Jen Trieloff Grant is an annual award given to an individual wishing to further their career in theatrical properties. This grant is intended to assist with transportation, housing, or necessities while completing an internship in the field of properties.

Jen Trieloff was Properties Director for American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Forward Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin and has served as Prop Master and Prop Designer for Madison Rep and Madison Opera and Ballet among others. He was an accomplished craftsman and scene designer whose work was seen on stages inside and outside of Wisconsin.

The Jen Trieloff Grant is overseen and awarded by the The Society of Properties Artisan Managers. Individuals who have accepted an internship and who wish to apply for the Jen Trieloff Grant should submit the following:

  • Cover Letter including:
    • Details on the Internship; when and where.
    • Any additional compensation you might be receiving during that time.
    • An estimate of anticipated expenses.
  • Resume
  • Digital portfolio of recent properties work

Please submit items to: Jim Guy, SPAM President at jguy@milwaukeerep.com

All items must be received by April 15, 2015. Scholarship will be awarded May 1, 2015.

The Edie Whitsett Grant for Theatrical Properties

The Edie Whitsett Grant is an annual award given to an individual wishing to further their career in theatrical properties, especially but not limited to theatrical props in children’s theater. This grant is intended to assist with transportation, housing, or necessities while completing an internship in the field of properties.

Edie Whitsett was the longtime property shop manager and a frequent designer at Seattle Children’s Theatre. She also created sets for Village Theatre, Seattle Opera, ACT Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet and other arts entities. Whitsett’s honors included an Artist Trust fellowship, a commission for an art installation at the Seattle Public Library’s central branch and two Seattle Times Footlight Awards.

The Edie Whitsett Grant is overseen and awarded by the The Society of Properties Artisan Managers. Individuals wishing to apply for the Edie Whitsett Grant should submit the following:

  • Cover Letter including:
    • Details on the Internship; when and where.
    • Any additional compensation you might be receiving during that time.
    • An estimate of anticipated expenses.
  • Resume
  • Digital portfolio of recent properties work

Please submit items to: Jim Guy, SPAM President at jguy@milwaukeerep.com.

All items must be received by April 15, 2015. Scholarship will be awarded May 1, 2015.

Summer Jobs Already?

For those of you in school for theatre, it is not too early to start thinking about summer employment. Even though snow is still on the ground and it gets dark at 4 pm, this is the time of year that many summer festivals, theatres and operas begin recruiting for their production positions and internships. To my international readers, I am sorry this post only deals with US jobs and internships.

Whether looking for summer work or for immediate work, Backstage Jobs should be one of the sites you check daily. By now, most of the major and legitimate theatres have learned to post any and all technical and production-related jobs to this site. It is completely free to view every job posting. The site admin also does a bang-up job of keeping spam and unrelated postings from appearing.

Speaking of spam, the Society of Properties Artisan Managers maintains a list of which of their member theatres offer props internships. This is a comprehensive list of all internships, not just summer ones, so be sure to check the commitment dates for the theatres you are interested in.

Artsearch is another big mainstay of technical theatre job postings. Though you should avoid job posting sites which require you to pay to view listings, this is the one exception. If you are currently in school, your school will probably have login information you can use (this is often true if you are an alumni as well).

In addition to job listings online, you may wish to think about applying and interviewing for jobs during one of the two big conferences. Though these are held in March, now is the time that you should be registering for the conferences, booking your hotel and making your travel arrangements. The two major conferences for theatre technicians are USITT and SETC.

This year, USITT is held March 20-23 in Milwaukee. The conference is meant for technicians and designers for all aspects of live performance. Part of the conference includes a massive stage expo, where companies and employers have booths to show off what they do. This is where you can meet and greet with the people in charge of these companies; many of them use USITT to do some of their recruiting for summer internships and apprenticeships.

The SETC conference will be held March 6-10 in Louisville, KY. SETC is meant for all aspects of theatre, including acting and directing, so it is not focused on just the production side. While the exposition hall is much smaller than USITT’s, it does have a job fair you can sign up for. Companies have small tables where they list the job openings they have, and you sign up for times to interview. You then spend the rest of your time meeting with employers all over the convention center to interview for these jobs. You can interview for as many or as few jobs as you have time for. I actually got hired at the Santa Fe Opera for the first time at the SETC job fair.

These websites and conferences have jobs at all skill and pay levels; even the internships can vary widely in how much you are paid. While it may seem your acting friends are constantly taking low-to-no paid internships, as a technical theatre person, you should always be paid for your work. Plenty of paid opportunities exist at all skill levels if you look for them.

S*P*A*M website relaunches

S*P*A*M (The Society of Properties Artisan Managers) is a group of theatrical prop managers, directors, and educators throughout the United States. If there is a larger prop shop in a regional, non-profit, or university theater, chances are the prop master is a member of S*P*A*M.

Over the weekend, they relaunched their S*P*A*M website to include a lot of useful information about who they are and what they do. Readers of this site will be familiar with the Properties Director Handbook, which was written by Sandra Strawn (a member of S*P*A*M) and includes information and photographs from a variety of other S*P*A*M members. The PropPeople discussion forum is another resource that was initially set up by S*P*A*M members. And of course, yours truly is a member.

Of greatest interest for now is the list of props internships they provide. If you were interested in learning how to work in props through an internship, this is where you will find a shop. While there may be other companies who offer internships, you run the risk of working somewhere that uses interns as free labor and impart no educational value; working long hours for little pay in a theatrical setting is not the same as learning a craft. In addition, the companies in this list are the companies that are recognized throughout the country and will help you with future employment.

Finding a job in Props

I wanted to share some of the websites I use or have used to find jobs as a props artisan in theatre.

ArtSearch – ArtSearch has the most jobs listings for educational, regional, and non-profit theatres across the United States. You need a subscription to access it. If you attend school, they might have a subscription you can use. Otherwise, it’s well worth it to buy your own.

BackstageJobs – BackstageJobs has similar postings as ArtSearch, but also more commercial, temporary, and overhire gigs. They have sections for Chicago, LA, and NYC, but their job postings are from all over the country.

Playbill – Playbill’s listings can be more show-specific, meaning short-term employment for a single show, but they also list internships and full-time positions. It’s also fairly NYC-centric, but a small percentage of their listings are from elsewhere.

Craigslist – The helpfulness of using Craigslist to find work depends on where you live. While searching for prop jobs in Guam may be fairly fruitless, the New York City Craigslist is so active you can spend your entire year finding short-term gigs from it. Note that almost all the job listings are for immediate or near-immediate positions, and a large percentage are freelance or temporary work. Still, it can do a good job helping you pay the bills in between larger gigs, and you may even find other industries where your skills come in handy.

USITT – Their job listings can be annoyingly meager at times. For the most part, they advertise positions in educational theatre. More helpful is actually attending the annual USITT conference, which just ended this last weekend. They also have local chapters throughout the country, which may have more frequent events and networking opportunities.

SETC – The South Eastern Theatre Conference’s job listings are also focused primarily on positions in educational theatre and internships. Like USITT, their yearly conference, which has also passed for this year, is a great place to find jobs. They hold a job fair, which is a major recruiting ground for summer work in many theatres, large and small.

I’ve found work from most of these sites, as both a young beginner, and as a more experienced artisan. I should also mention that job listings are only a portion of the job search experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if over half of my jobs and gigs were from word-of-mouth, or through someone I know.

There are a number of more local sites as well. When I was living in Philadelphia, I checked the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia for job listings. Your town, city, or region may have something similar.

If anyone knows of any other sites for finding prop job listings, feel free to share.