Category Archives: News

Props in the news

2019 SPAM Grant Winners

The Society of Properties Artisan Managers is proud to announce the winners of their fifth annual Jen Trieloff and Edie Whitsett Internship Grants. Congratulations to Emily Davis and Kenly Cox. These grants are awarded to individuals wanting financial assistance with transportation, housing or other necessities during an internship in theatrical properties. You can find out more about these grants and other resources at the S*P*A*M website. You can also “like” their Facebook page to stay up to date with news and announcements.

2019 Jen Trieloff Grant recipient: Emily Davis

Emily Davis
Emily Davis

Emily Davis graduated from Florida State University in May of 2019 with her BA degree in Theatre. Her time spent volunteering in the scenic and props shops were the most formative of her time at FSU and inspired her to pursue a career path in Props. She is currently working as a Properties Artisan Apprentice at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. Emily is incredibly honored to be chosen to receive this grant and would like to thank the S*P*A*M community for this wonderful opportunity.

You can see examples of Emily’s work at: www.emcdavis.com or @em.c.davis on Instagram.

2019 Edie Whitsett Grant recipient: Kenly Cox

Kenly Cox
Kenly Cox

Kenly Cox is a 2019 graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art, specializing in metal and ceramic sculpture. Shegraduated with a minor in Drama Arts in Theatrical Production, discovering her passion for Stage Properties as a work study student at PlayMakers Repertory Company at UNC. There she gained valuable skills and everlasting friendships. Kenly discovered that her talents as a fine artist could be applied to the theatrical world and serve as a plausible career path. She is now working for the summer as a Stage Properties Apprentice at Wolf Trap Opera in Vienna, Virginia, expanding her knowledge and skills as a Prop Artisan. After her work is done with Wolf Trap, Kenly will be returning to PlayMakers Repertory Company as a part time Properties Artisan for the 2019-2020 season.

You can see Kenly’s work on her website: https://kenlymcox.wixsite.com/kenlycoxart/theatre

2019 Grants for Early Career Prop Professionals

The Society of Properties Artisan Managers (S*P*A*M) is now accepting applications for its grants to help support early career props professionals. The deadline for each is May 15, 2019.

Edie Whitsett Grant

The Edie Whitsett Grant is an annual award given to an individual wishing to further their career in theatrical properties. This grant is to assist with expenses related to completing an internship, such as  transportation, housing, or other necessities.

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.

To honor Edie’s commitment to children’s theatre, this goal of this grant is to award it to someone who is interested in working with children’s theater, but it is not limited to only that.

This grant is overseen and awarded by the Society of Properties Artisan Managers and is for $1000 towards internship expenses. Individuals wishing to apply for should submit the following:

  • Cover Letter including details on your internship (where and when), any additional compensation that might be receiving during that time and an estimate of anticipated expenses.
  • Resume
  • Digital portfolio of recent properties work

Please submit application to: Jim Guy, SPAM President at jguy@milwaukeerep.com. All items must be received by May 15, 2019 and grants will be awarded June 15, 2019. For a full list of member theatres with internships, please see our website at www.propmasters.org.

Jen Trieloff Grant

The Jen Trieloff Grant is an annual award given to an individual wishing to further their career in theatrical properties. This grant is to assist with expenses related to completing an internship, such as transportation, housing, or other necessities.

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.

This grant is overseen and awarded by the Society of Properties Artisan Managers and is for $1000 towards internship expenses. Individuals wishing to apply for should submit the following:

  • Cover Letter including details on your internship (where and when), any additional compensation that might be receiving during that time and an estimate of anticipated expenses.
  • Resume
  • Digital portfolio of recent properties work

Please submit application to: Jim Guy, SPAM President at jguy@milwaukeerep.com. All items must be received by May 15, 2019 and grants will be awarded June 15, 2019. For a full list of member theatres with internships, please see our website at www.propmasters.org.

Top Prop Stories of 2018

With 2018 coming to an end and 2019 starting up, it’s a good time to look at the past year and see the biggest news in the world of props.

Reflections on the First USITT Props Lab – The prop department has long found itself lumped in with the Scenic Design Commission at USITT, which often gives us no representation at the conference. However, this past year saw the introduction of the first Props Lab, which gave us continuous demonstrations and hands-on workshops right on the Stage Expo floor for three straight days. I have also heard rumors that Props might attempt to become its own commission at some point in the future.

‘Props’ go to Wheaton: Exhibitions celebrate stage, movie, TV artistry that usually goes unnoticed – Elizabeth Keithline curated an amazing art exhibit this year that pulled together props from the worlds of film, television, opera, and live theater, and displayed them in a way that highlighted their own artistic merit. The show included work from Ross MacDonald (National Treasure, The Hateful Eight), Annie Atkins (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Carl Sprague (Isle of DogsLa La Land), Buist Bickley (Spongebob: The Musical), Randy Lutz (The Santa Fe Opera), Jay Duckworth (The Public Theater), and me (this blog).

Hong Kong Court Convicts Props Master for Possession of Fake Cash – In a strange turn of events, a props master in Hong Kong was convicted for the possession of fake cash while on the set of a film. This conviction threw the local film industry into a state of shock. Luckily for the props master, the conviction was overturned a few months later.  The appeal was won on a technicality, though, so props masters in Hong Kong continue to wonder how they can use fake money in films without falling on the wrong side of the law.

The First Annual Maker Faire Prop Contest – As the world of hobby prop making continues to explode, the original Maker Faire in the Bay Area held their first ever Prop Contest, with winners announced during the 2018 Faire.

The Prop Effects Guidebook – My second book was released this past year, covering all the different kinds of effects we use in props: lighting, pneumatics, blood, breakaways, sound, and much more.

Silk Flowers and Papier Mache Hearts – This year also saw the launch of an all-new podcast by Ashley Flowers and me. It may be the only podcast dedicated solely to props in the performing arts. We have already had a great array of guest stars, and have covered some wonderful topics, and are looking forward to having even more guest stars in the coming year.

Inside the one-ton, history-making King Kong Broadway musical – If I had to pick one prop from the past year that deserved a spot in this year-end wrap-up, it would definitely have to be the King Kong puppet from the new Broadway musical. Though the reviews on the musical itself have been mixed, everyone agrees that the one-ton semi-animatronic puppet is a work of staggering genius.

In Memoriam: John C. Taccone, IATSE Stagehand – The props world lost one of its long-time members this year. John Taccone was on the props crew at the New Amsterdam Theatre for over twenty years.

That’s the end of my list of the most important stories in props for 2018. What are yours?

2018 SPAM Grant Winners

The Society of Properties Artisan Managers is proud to announce the recipients of their fourth annual Edie Whitsett and Jen Trieloff Memorial Grants.

Congratulations to Danielle Wermedal, winner of the Jenn Trieloff Grant, and Kayla Carroll, winner of the Edie Whitsett Grant.

These grants are awarded to individuals wanting financial assistance with transportation, housing or other necessities during an internship in theatrical properties. You can find out more about these grants and other resources at the S*P*A*M website. You can also “like” their Facebook page to stay up to date with news and announcements.

2018 Edie Whitsett Grant recipient: Kayla Carroll

Kayla Carroll
Kayla Carroll

Kayla Carroll is a graduate of the University of Indianapolis where she received her Bachelor of Science in Theatrical Production and Design. During her time at the University she worked as Properties Designer for a total of ten productions including Eurydice, Urinetown, Out of Order, and Frankenstein. Her designs for King Lear and Move Over Mrs. Markham! each received a Certificate of Merit from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Before graduating she was able to complete an internship in the properties department of the Indiana Repertory Theatre where she worked with S*P*A*M member Geoffrey Ehrendreich. This July she will be joining the Professional Training Company at the Actors Theatre of Louisville where she will be an apprentice under S*P*A*M member Mark Walston. You can find her resume and examples of her work at https://kladcarroll.wixsite.com/kladdesigns.

2018 Jen Trieloff Grant recipient: Danielle Wermedal

Danielle Wermedal
Danielle Wermedal

Dani Wermedal is a proud alumna of State University Theatre, Prairie Repertory Theatre, and a graduate of South Dakota State University with a BS in Theatre. While with SUT and PRT she prop mastered shows such as Monty Python’s Spamalot, Shrek the Musical, and A Year with Frog and Toad. She is from Volga, SD, and is currently preparing to move cross country in August to be Hartford Stage’s next Properties Apprentice for the 2018-2019 season under the guidance of S*P*A*M member Erin Keller. She is honored to be the recipient of the 2018 S*P*A*M Jen Trieloff Memorial Grant and can’t wait to further her experience and education in the world of props. You can find examples of her work and resume at http://wermedalprops.weebly.com.

An All-New Props Podcast

Yesterday, Ashley Flowers and I published the first episode of our new podcast. Both of us have been wanting to start a props podcast for awhile, and we got the ball rolling on Facebook a few weeks ago. “Silk Flowers and Papier Mache Hearts” (get it?) is all about props for the stage, screen, and beyond. We will be discussing all sorts of topics relevant for the props person in performing arts, as well as interviewing other props people.

Our first episode is now available, and you can subscribe to us through iTunes or Google Play, with more options coming in the future. We plan on releasing a new episode every two weeks.

You can also check us out on Twitter.  If you have ideas or questions for future podcasts, send an email to propspodcast@gmail.com.