The Prop Shop is part of the Production Department. The Prop Shop is responsible for bringing to life the visual elements imagined by the Scenic Designer that establish the setting of a play. A simple analogy that defines a prop is to imagine you are moving to a new house. Everything you pack up and put in the moving van; furniture, dishes, books, posters, pictures, rugs, etc. are props. Everything that is left, the walls, doors, windows floors, stairs and ceiling are scenery.
Prop is short for the word property. There are three general types of props: set props, hand props, and set dressing. Set props are usually pieces of furniture like sofas, dining room tables, pianos, chairs, benches or a beds. Hand props are items an actor picks up or carries like a tea cup, cigar, wine bottle, book or newspaper. Set dressing are items that finish the look of the set like curtains on the windows, a wall clock, a painting or mirror, books on a shelf, a plant or flower arrangement. Under hand props there is often a subset of props called perishables. Perishables are things that get used up and need to be replaced. For example; food and beverages that an actor eats or drinks, a newspaper that gets wadded up and thrown out or a contract or picture that gets torn in half at every show.
The Prop Shop and Prop Storage are located at the CPH Production Center about 5 miles from the Allen Theatre Complex. There is a large format printer on site for printing off large pictures or posters or making our own period newspaper. There is a 2,500 square foot construction area with work tables, standard power tools including a SawStop table saw, 14” band saw, combination disk and belt sander, drill press, welder, planer, lathe and a collection of hand tools. There is also a separate 1,250 square foot “clean room” with two industrial sewing machines for working on fabric projects including upholstering furniture, making curtains, bedding, table clothes, etc. Adjacent to the “clean room” is a dye room with dye vat and a washer and dryer. CPH houses an extensive stock of furniture, hand props and set dressing in our 14,000 square foot Prop Storage area. These props are used by the Scenic Designers in all of our original productions and available for rental to theatres, film companies, opera companies, dance companies, schools and other organizations in the community. All Prop Shop staff are responsible for the upkeep, organization and cataloguing of stock items.
The Prop Master is responsible for overseeing the Prop Shop and making sure that it functions efficiently, attending all meetings regarding the production and attending the technical rehearsals. The Prop Master maintains the budget for the production, manages rentals of props to outside companies and supervises the other members of the prop shop.
The Props Artisan is responsible for pulling rehearsal and final show props from storage as well as completing any notes that come up during the rehearsal process. They also are in charge of crafting unique hand props for shows such as fake food, toys, trick props and special effects, weapons, musical instruments, flower arrangements, paper props or any other specialty prop the show may require. The Prop Artisan works together with the Scenic Designer to aid in dressing the set.
The Soft Goods Artisan is responsible for sourcing different types of textiles suitable for the designed style, function and time period of the show. They are in charge of all upholstery, window treatments, tablecloths, bedding, specialized theatrical masking and fabric decorations found on the set. They may also alter, paint or dye existing fabric props to suit the current show.
The Props Carpenter is responsible for constructing, maintaining or altering large-scale projects. These projects generally include furniture, large custom pieces, platforms and carts. Special skills needed for the job often include knowledge of basic to advanced woodworking, welding and rigging. They also typically install large specialty items in the space during load in.
The Allen, Helen and Outcalt theatres are located at Playhouse Square
1407 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115
Administrative Offices and Education Center
1901 E. 13th Street, Suite 200 Cleveland, OH 44114 (216) 400-7000
7401 Detour Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44103