One of the really fun things about working at Theatre Westminster is the opportunities to work in various areas around the shop.
I was named props supervisor for this year, and boy is that a handful of a department to work in. The properties department is a series of rooms that store every piece of furniture imaginable, as well as glass, silver, toys, and even a giant bag of Cheetos.
During this upcoming semester, I will work on creating a photo catalog of every piece that is stored in the department. The purpose of this process is to move into an online database. While this is the big project of the year, I also work with the individual props masters for the different shows to outfit the props and furniture to suit our purposes.
The primary purpose of our extensive collection is to repurpose or modify a piece to meet our needs as opposed to buying a new piece. In the same vein, we also do a lot of building and designing, especially when the show calls for a rare or specific prop that we wouldn’t normally have.
For example, in our current production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, we are in the process of building a gramophone that has a horn-shaped like a tulip.
This build is one of the largest props projects that we have done in recent years. As we create this piece, we photograph each of the steps to create a portfolio for job interviews.
Another significant responsibility of the props supervisor is the props check-out process for various other performances both on and off campus. In the last week, I checked out around thirty props for the opera performance here on campus. When the props are brought back to the department, I have to check each piece for damage and then clean them for storage.
For some reason, when I am done I am always covered in glitter.