Dramat Props Master

Props Master

The position of Props Master should be filled as early in the process as possible. This will allow them to attend some of the early design/planning meetings with the Director, Designers, and the rest of the production staff and to become familiar with the needs of the show and confident with the plan as it develops.  During this time the Props Master should begin to assemble a crew. While the needs of the show may/will change as rehearsals progress, the work should start as early in the schedule as possible. At times the list of props can be very long and the process of finding and collecting them can be involved and time consuming. Some props may need to be fabricated in the shop.

The Props Master will work closely with the Set Designer, Stage Manager, and Director in identifying and collecting the properties needed for a production. Once the Director and Designers have decided on the needed props, the Set Designer will work with the props crew in the process of choosing props for the production. It is understood that a props list will quite often change in response to a fluid rehearsal situation, and that while changes are quite often made up to the last minute when feasible, each production will set a date by which it is generally agreed that no more props shall be added by the Director.

The Props Master is required to file weekly written reports to the Producer, Production Officer, and UP Technical Advisor (TA) to keep them apprised of progress.  The Props Master is further required to supply a comprehensive list of items borrowed from the YSD warehouse, including additions/subtractions, to the Technical Advisor during tech week, to ensure the return of all prop items and avoid a late charge equal to the rental fee normally charged non-Dramat shows.

The required skill sets for this staff position will vary widely depending upon the needs of the production. Regardless, it should be assumed that some tool and painting skills are required.

The following is a timeline for the work on a main-stage production. An “Ex” production is generally allotted one or two weeks less time depending on the scope of the production but the work responsibilities are the same.

Six Weeks Out

Secure copy of the script and a complete set of design plans.

Determine what elements of the design fall under the category of properties.

Review the script and create a list of all props.

Work with the Stage Mgr to compile a props list that is as complete as possible.

Determine props that will be required in rehearsal.

Agree on a schedule for when props or rehearsal substitutes will be provided.

Recognize that these lists will change and plan on updating your list weekly.

Identify any items that will obviously need to be built.

Arrange for the Designer to provide drawings for built pieces.

Determine whether these pieces will be built by your crew or by the set crew.

Identify any items that fall under within the UP Weapons Policy.

Review UP weapons policy with the TA and begin planning accordingly.

Begin comparing your list to the budget allowance and notify the Producer of any obvious problems.

Continue to assemble a props crew as needed.

Attend production meetings.

Five - Four Weeks Out

Update lists with the Stage Mgr.

Reconcile any problems with budget and/or crew with the Producer.

Visit the YSD props warehouse to identify available items. Take pictures.

Visit warehouse again with Designer if/as needed.

Breakdown the remaining list into components and assign projects to crew.

Develop a projected work schedule for each week of build with deadlines for each project.

Determine items that need to be ordered ahead and place orders.

Check on the progress of drawings due from the Designer.

Meet with the Technical Advisor to review items that will need to be built.

Schedule a shop orientation for the crew with the Technical Advisor.

Work with the Technical Advisor to evaluate the skill level of the crewmembers available.

Coordinate any shop time needed with the Technical Advisor and the TD.

Update TA regarding stage weapons plans as needed.

Attend production meeting and provide update on progress and any difficulties encountered.

Arrange for clear space in tool room and/or greenroom cabinets to store props as they are acquired.

Arrange for secure locked storage for valuable borrowed items.

Three Weeks Out

Update lists with the Stage Mgr.

Evaluate previous week’s progress with Stage Mgr– adjust schedule as needed.

Meet with Designer to review acquired props for suitability.

Check budget. Alert Producer to any issues.

Work on built pieces must start by now.

Be sure to clean all work areas after each work call.

Continue to monitor crew progress.

Maintain acquired props in a neat and orderly manner.

Coordinate rehearsal use of collected props with Stage Mgr.

Confirm with TA the weapons handling and storage plan is in place.

Attend production meetings and keep staff up to date on progress.

Ask for help with any items that continue to be difficult to acquire.

Two Weeks Out

Evaluate progress of built props to date with the TA.

Continue to coordinate shop use as needed with TD.

Be sure to clean all work areas after each work call.

Schedule mtg w/ TA and Stage Mgr to review weapons policy before control of weapons is turned over to Stage Mgr.

Consider substitutes for any props still outstanding/difficult to find.

Attend production meetings and keep staff up to date on the build progress.

One Week Out

Evaluate progress of built and collected props.

Resolve issue of any outstanding props with Producer and other relevant staff members.

Attend load-in meeting to coordinate prop load-in with other staff/crew needs.

Create a layout plan for all props/prop tables, as well as between show storage, with Stage Mgr.

Confirm plan layout with TD and ME.

Confirm with TA that layout plan allows for appropriate safety aisles and clearance.

Create a complete checklist including location for return of prop.

Schedule pickup/return of props to YSD warehouse with appropriate staff.

Schedule return of all other borrowed/rented props.


Give an overview of the prop load-in process to prop crew.

Be sure that crew is aware of general safety guidelines as well as any issues specific to current production.

Coordinate work with other crews that may be in the production space.

Oversee crew work; be sure that all crewmembers adhere to all safety practices.

Monitor progress of crew work in relation to projected schedule.

Be sure work area is cleaned completely by end of each work call.

Discuss any load-in problems/delays with producer and other staff as needed/appropriate.

Review all prop locations with the TA as work is completed.

Inform the Producer when work is complete.

Technical Rehearsals

Walk Stage Mgr through the prop locations and confirm all elements of the installation.

Coordinate the training of backstage prop crew with the Stage Mgr.

Make note of any adjustments that may be required.

Note Calls

Call work sessions as needed to make required adjustments to props.

Supervise all work as during load-in.

Notify the Producer when work is complete.


Attend strike meeting to coordinate load-out process.

Coordinate crew work with other crew heads.

Pay special attention to all safety concerns.

Use prop checklist to confirm all props have been returned to YSD warehouse. YSD rep must sign off, as should TA.

Work with The Production Officer to ensure appropriate disposal of debris.

Coordinate with the Stage Mgr and Shop Mgr to ensure that all production spaces are clean and orderly.