The props master is responsible for safely and effectively producing all the properties for a departmental production. The props master’s duties will include: developing a props list; budgeting for all props; assisting the designer in researching props; developing any needed technical drawings; providing all necessary rehearsal props; attending production meetings and other meetings as needed; shopping as necessary; building props as necessary; providing, organizing, and running of all props for all technical rehearsals, dress rehearsals, previews, and all performances; the dismantling and returning of all the properties at the end of the run of the production. The props master is also responsible for the supervising, scheduling, and assigning of tasks for the props build/run crew. They are also responsible for the tracking and accounting of the budget for the props for the production. The props master will work closely with the scene designer and the stage manager to fully and successfully complete the properties as designed for the production.
The props master process generally moves through the following events/periods: the pre-rehearsal period, the rehearsal/build period, the pre-technical rehearsal period, the technical/dress/preview rehearsal period, the running of the production period, and the strike/dismantling period. All due dates, build dates, and rehearsal and performances dates are specified in the departmental and show production calendars. Meeting all deadlines is essential.
The props master will work with the scene designer, director, and stage manager to develop a full list of all props for the production. This will include all hand props, set props, furniture (both functional and dressing), consumable props (food, cigarettes, etc.) and set dressing (including curtains, pictures, lighting fixtures, plants, etc.). It is the props masters responsibility to compile, organize, publish and distribute the completed list.
The props master will meet with the scene designer (and possibly the faculty scene designer) to go through all items on the props list to determine what each item will be and determine what further drawings and research the designer must provide and due dates for these items.
The props master will:
- Meet with the faculty props designer to go over the props list.
- Fill out a props worksheet (provided by department).
- Meet with the faculty props designer to determine budget and schedule.
- Organize the props lockers for rehearsals and shows.
- Gather necessary rehearsal props for first rehearsals.
- Contact all props crew and organize training and build schedules.
- Train props crew as necessary.
During the period of time in which the props are built, the props master will:
- Keep in communication with stage managers about ongoing rehearsal needs and continuing changes to the props list.
- Keep in communication with the scene designer about ongoing changes in the props list
- Schedule props crew as needed for research, building, refurbishing, shopping, painting, etc. for the props for the production.
- Acquire/ build/paint and make functional all props on the props list.
- Go to production meetings and be prepared to discuss progress.
Pre-technical rehearsal process
Prior to the first technical rehearsal, the props master will:
- With the stage management team, organize the backstage props spaces and tables.
- With the stage management team, organize a tracking list of props movements and needs for the running of the production.
- Organize, from the props crew, a props running crew and develop a clear and precise schedule for them for the run of the production.
Technical/Dress/Preview Rehearsal Process
During the technical rehearsal phase of production, the props master will:
- Be prepared with all show props for first and subsequent technical and dress rehearsals (all props in place and prepared to begin at each rehearsal’s start time).
- Be backstage in charge of the props running crew. The props master and crew should be prepared to run props as necessary for production.
- At the end of the day’s rehearsal the props master should organize the crew to put away props as needed.
- At the end of the day’s rehearsal the props master should go to the post-rehearsal production meeting and receive notes from the director and designer and then develop a priority list for the completion of the props.
Run of Production Process
During the run of the show, the props master is:
- In charge of maintaining all props.
- In charge of scheduling props crew for the run of the production (call times should be done in conjunction with the stage manager, master carpenter, master electrician and all other pertinent parties.)
- Backstage in charge of the props running crew. The props master and crew should run props as necessary for production
For the strike of a production, the props master is:
- In charge of calling all props crew for the strike call.
- In charge of directing the props crew during strike call.
- Is responsible for removing all props from the stage and storing, dismantling, cleaning and returning all props for the production.
- Is responsible for filling out crew evaluation sheets and returning the forms to the faculty technical director.
Before the end of the semester the props master must turn in their paperwork package as defined and discussed with the faculty props designer.