Tag Archives: SPAM

2015 SPAM Grant Winners

The Society of Properties Artisan Managers (S*P*A*M) has just announced the winners of their first grants. Congratulations to Jeffery Bazemore and Lucy Briggs, winners of the Jen Trieloff Grant and Edie Whitsett Grant respectively. I wrote about these grants previously on this blog; they 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.

Jen Trieloff Grant – Winner – Jeffery Bazemore

Jeffery Bazemore
Jeffery Bazemore

Jeffery Bazemore recently finished the second year of his MFA in Properties at Ohio University where he’s been studying with Tom Fiocchi, Properties Technologist. While at Ohio, Jeffery acted as the Graduate Assistant Properties Master on 2 shows, including As You Like It, and as Graduate Assistant Properties Artisan on 7 shows, including The 39 Steps, Cloud 9 and Metamorphosis. Prior to his time there, Jeffery accrued a wide range of properties experience after graduating in 2012 with his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Berea College, including working in a Properties Assistantship with S*P*A*M members Jim Clark, Properties Director at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Tim Hogan, Properties Director at Pacific Conservatory Theatre as a Properties Artisan. This summer he will be returning to PCPA to study with Tim Hogan once again, this time in a properties internship, after which he will be heading back to Ohio University to finish up his graduate degree.

Edie Whitsett Grant – Winner – Lucy Briggs

Lucy Briggs
Lucy Briggs

Lucy Briggs recently graduated the University of Michigan with a BFA in Theatre Design & Production – Set Design, where she studied with S*P*A*M member Patrick Drone, the Theatrical Properties Manager and Sarah Tanner, the Associate Theatrical Properties Manger. During her time at U of M she was a paid Properties Artisan on 20 shows over two years, and was able to learn and refine skills working with metal, soft goods, finish carpentry, set decoration and faux finishing. She spent the summers of 2012 and 2013 as a carpentry intern and then a carpenter for Williamstown Theatre Festival and then she took her carpenter skills to the Spoleto Festival for the 2014 season where she worked as a Carpenter Apprentice. Lucy can currently be found at the Guthrie Theater as the Properties Intern working with S*P*A*M members Patricia Olive, Sarah Gullickson and Seán McArdle. From there she will move to Louisville to be the Properties Journeyman at Actors Theatre with S*P*A*M members Mark Walston and Joe Cunningham.

Interview with Monique Walker

The following is one of several interviews conducted by students of Ron DeMarco’s properties class at Emerson College.

Interview with Monique Walker: Prop Master of Village Theatre

by Coco Nakase

Monique Walker
Monique Walker

Monique Walker, the current props master for the Village Theatre in Washington, answered the phone one February afternoon with encouraging enthusiasm, eager to speak about her rich history of work and the art of props. Monique began in theatre as a high school student, primarily acting in plays and working on the sets in her small town Iowan high school. She had always had an interest in drawing and painting, so when she went to college at University of Northern Iowa, she first majored in Interior Design. “It was in the Home Ec department. And I was like, really? This is awful! It was just decoration, it had nothing to do with architecture or anything like that.” Continue reading Interview with Monique Walker

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.

Childsplay Theatre

I am back from the 18th (or 19th?) official S*P*A*M conference. This year’s host was Jim Luther, the Prop Director at Childsplay Theatre in Arizona. On the Saturday of the conference, he led us on a tour of his props shop and their facilities.

Welcome to the props shop

The front room of the shop is the “clean” room, which also had a number of props out for display. Jim showed us some pieces as we looked around. Continue reading Childsplay Theatre

Leaving Arizona

I am flying out of Arizona today after a fun and learning adventure at this year’s S*P*A*M conference. I have a lot of notes to go through and photographs to share from this years conference of propmasters, but I have to get to my computer first. Until then, enjoy this piece from PBS NewsHour on the Maker Movement. It’s an hour-long video exploring the DIY and maker movement, including things like Maker Faires and training in public schools.