Tag Archives: resource

Careers in Technical Theater

If you looked closely at my previous post on Milwaukee Rep’s prop shop, you will have noticed a link to Mike Lawler’s webpage. Mike is the author of Careers in Technical Theater, a book I have not gotten around to reading yet, unfortunately. The reviews are fairly praiseworthy, though, and it does have information about props.

The rest of the website has a lot of useful resources as well. He has put together a list of U.S. academic programs in technical theatre, a survey of technical theatre earnings in 2006, a collection of links relevant to technical theatre and all its branches, and a list of the various publications devoted to backstage work.

Mike also runs EcoTheatre, a blog about creating theatre without sacrificing the environment.

Happy Friday 13th!

I wanted to talk about Halloween today. It’s a long ways off, but since Friday the 13th is kind of like mini-Halloween, I figured I can get away with it. What does Halloween have to do with props? It’s the most DIY holiday; every year, millions of people make their own costumes and decorations. It’s probably the biggest season for amateur prop-building. With the internet, there is all sorts of pages filled with photographs, tutorials, guides, inspiration, and discussions.

This is not just useful to the props artisan who needs advice on how to build a skeleton for a show; with enough creativity, you can adapt many of these props for non-Halloween challenges. A how-to guide for building a vampire who rises out of a coffin can be altered to make flowers rise out of the ground; a tutorial for a homemade fog machine can be used for any number of effects onstage.

So here are some links to keep you busy for awhile:

The Monster Page of Halloween Links – This is a huge list of links, some of them good, some of them, not so much. It’s divided into sections, so be sure to scroll past the long list of individual projects at the beginning. The last section links to some more general tutorials.

Instructables – They do a good job of promoting Halloween-related material, so there’s quite a good deal of tutorials here. The DIY Halloween 2008 and DIY Halloween 2007 contest pages are some good jumping-off points for delving into what’s available here, or you can just search for everything tagged with “Halloween“.

Halloween Prop Building For The DIY Home Handyman and Beginners Alike – A much smaller and more selective list of links to tutorials and resources around the internet. The descriptions of the sites are a great help too.

Books – I haven’t read any books on Halloween prop building, so I can’t really recommend any. However, you can head over to Amazon, and do your own research; their recommendation engine is pretty top-notch, and checking out a user-made list, such as So you’d like to… Have Great Halloween Festivities, will give you a quick introduction to some of the more popular books on this subject.

I know this list seems short, but these links are merely gateways to much larger lists of tutorials and resources throughout the web. I hope these prove useful; at the very least, I hope it has gotten you thinking about alternative sources for information about building props.

The Properties Directors Handbook

Anna Warren just pointed me to this incredible resource:

The Properties Directors Handbook: Props for the Theater, written by Sandra J. Strawn.

There’s a lot of information here. It’s more like a book than a website. Everything you wanted to know to get started as a properties director is here. It’s also one of the most up-to-date resources on props, and it’s extensively illustrated as well. She includes photographs from a number of professional theatres across the country, such as Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, and the Seattle Repertory Theatre.

It’s so good, I’ve added it as a permanent link on the sidebar.