Prop Weapon and Stage Combat Policy for Live Productions


Stage Combat

Stage combat is defined as any physical confrontation, armed or unarmed, in which bodily harm is represented, with or without actual physical contact. Slapping and shoving can easily cause injury and are considered to be stage combat. Depictions of self-injury or sexual assault are also considered to be stage combat.    

Prop Weapon

Prop weapons include but are not limited to: guns (non-firing, rubber and toy), knives, swords, daggers, spears, bows and arrows, cross bows, slingshots, nooses, hand cuffs, shackles, restraints, and any other implements fashioned or used in a threatening manner, whether capable of inflicting actual bodily harm or not.

Acrobatics/Stunt work

Some types of non-violent physical activity also carry increased risk. Student productions planning to involve any type of heightened physical activity such as acrobatics, stunt work, pratfalls, etc. should contact Undergraduate Production as early in the process as possible, and must receive permission from Undergraduate Production before including these in their rehearsals or performances.

Banned Items and Actions

The following list of items, props, and staged action is prohibited:

  • Use of functional fire arms or live ammunition, including blanks, caps, or any other explosive device. The audio of all staged gunshots must be accomplished through the use of sound effects, either recorded or live foley.
  • Use of sharp blades, swords, knives, arrows, axes, etc. No cutting implements will be allowed unless they been dulled and rendered incapable of cutting or piercing by UP authorized individuals. No retractable knives or swords will be allowed.
  • Use of working bows, crossbows, or any other weapon capable of firing a projectile. All such weapons must be incapable of firing and used for visual effect only.
  • Use of nooses or the act of tying up or binding a person or confining anyone in a locked enclosure.
  • Use of any prop weapon not approved by or obtained from UP.

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Stage Combat/Weapons Request

No use of prop weapon or staged combat of any kind is allowed, in rehearsal or performance, without the express written permission of Undergraduate Production. Requests for the use of stage combat must be submitted to UP by the CPA deadline at the beginning of the semester in which the production will occur. Requests for the use of prop weapons must be made at least 6 weeks prior to the first performance date.  Both requests should be made using the UP Prop Weapon & Stage Combat Request webform. UP will determine whether a proposed stage combat, if approved, may be staged by the students in consultation with UP, or if the services of a professional fight director are required. In all cases, no consultant may be hired without the approval of UP. All fights involving weapon-to-weapon contact will require oversight by a professional fight director.  For productions requiring oversight by a professional fight director, UP and the fight director will determine the level of supervision required for fight rehearsals. Yale Police will be notified about any approved uses of prop weapons in undergraduate productions.

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Rental and Borrowing

UP Prop Weapon Inventory
UP has a small inventory of prop weapons, available by request (through the UP Prop Weapon & Stage Combat Request webform), free of charge, on a first-come-first-served basis.  Yale users may view the inventory here.  Please contact Kerry Cripe (, for more information about specific prop weapons.  Please note: Few of the UP prop weapons are appropriate for weapon-to-weapon contact. Please see this information in the prop weapon inventory and plan accordingly. UP prop weapons may not be taken off-campus.

The rental, borrowing, or purchase of prop weapons from any source other than UP must be arranged in consultation with UP.

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One designated student will be responsible for oversight of all prop weapons used in a production.  At least 24 hours prior to checking out prop weapons from UP, students must submit a written transportation plan which lists each date that a prop weapon will move between locations. Yale Police will be notified in advance of all transportation plans. The responsible student must pick up prop weapons at UP office, document transportation using the Prop Weapon Chain of Custody Form, and track prop weapons using the Prop Weapon Check In Log. These forms can be found here.  The responsible student must retain responsibility for the prop weapons until their return to Undergraduate Production.  Prop weapons must be transported in a locked transport case provided by UP, and must be secured in a locked cabinet or room when not in use. At no time may prop weapons be stored in a student’s room. Unsecured prop weapons will be eliminated from the production.

Off Broadway Theater

Arrangement for the use and secure storage of prop weapons in the OBT must be made with Justin DeLand (

Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies

Arrangement for the use and secure storage of prop weapons in the Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies theater must be made with Tom Delgado (

Yale Dramatic Association

Arrangement for the use and secure storage of prop weapons in Dramat productions must be made the UP Technical Director supervising the production. In all instances the stage manager must retain sole responsibility for the secure care and custody of any weapons in use.

Residential College Venues

Arrangement for the use and secure storage of prop weapons in residential college theaters must be made with Undergraduate Production and with the Head of College’s Office of the governing college.

Other Venues

Arrangement for the use and secure storage of prop weapons in other campus venues must be made with Undergraduate Production and with the manager of the venue (e.g., the Afro-American Cultural Center, Mary R. Harkness Auditorium).

Excerpt from Yale University Campus and Workplace Violence Prevention Policy

Complete policy may be found here.

“The University specifically prohibits the possession of weapons by any faculty or staff member, student, or visitor while on or in the vicinity of University-owned or controlled property, whether or not the owner is licensed to carry such weapon. This ban includes keeping a weapon or transporting it to another location… Weapons may include, but are not limited to, guns, ammunition, knives, explosives and the like, crossbows, swords, or similar items with the potential to inflict physical harm. Included are disarmed weapons and simulated weapons which could reasonably cause apprehension. Possession of unlicensed or illegal weapons at any location may be grounds for discipline. Appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination or expulsion in the case of a student, and/or criminal proceedings will be taken against persons who violate this policy.”

Exceptions: Prop or simulated weapons may be allowed for use in theatrical or film productions only with prior approval from Undergraduate Production for Yale College theatrical productions, the Director of the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media for Undergraduate film projects, or from the Yale School of Drama for School of Drama projects. Use of prop or simulated weapons in other Graduate and/or Professional school productions may be allowed with prior approval from the Dean of their school(s). Use of weapons for Club Sports activities may be allowed with prior approval of the Director of Athletics.

Protocols for the use of prop weapons in stage productions are found on this page, in the Undergraduate Production Prop Weapon and Stage Combat Policy.