Every year when we announce our next show, an army of people turn out to take part. Along with those who perform on stage, there is much hard work which goes on behind the scenes to bring a show together. Key to this effort are props as they bring the show to life and help to set the scene.
Creating all the props needed for a show often takes longer than the production rehearsals. The journey to gathering and creating all of the required props, starts with the production meeting.
During the production meeting the director shares key documents like stage plans and the props plot, and talks through the production noting the requirements for each scene. The various back stage teams, ask questions and take notes ready to begin getting everything together.
For props, this starts with a sort through our props store – looking for any props we already have which can be used or altered for the current show. Below is a tour of our extensive props store!
Items like suitcases, various types of chairs and tables feature in most shows. So they are often sorted first. Sometimes items require alterations to make them suitable for the show – our props team have lost count on how many times they have painted these tables!
After over 100 years of producing musicals, we have gathered quite a collection of props and this sorting process often makes requirements for sustenance for all involved!
Once the prop store has been raided, the props team assign themselves homework to create the specific props required for the current show. This is often a painstaking process, with some props taking many weeks to build. The images below show the creation of the protest banners used in our production of Evita.
And here is the fundraising thermometer used in Evita taking shape.
Once all the props are ready and the show is upon us, the props team pack everything up in to boxes for each scene – this is a props secret which makes it easier once the props arrive at the theatre. The process of moving in to the theatre is known as the ‘get in’.
Once the props arrive at the theatre, they are setup in the props dressing room and the wings ready for the final rehearsals.
Following the technical and dress rehearsals the props team make final alterations and repairs to the props ready for opening night!
But, the work isn’t finished there! The props team are vital during the run of the show, making sure that props are set and struck on cue and ensuring that everything is in place for each scene. The props team are often the first to arrive at the theatre each night to get setup – as the videos below show!
And here they are! Our props team has been led for many years by Denise and Mel, who have created props for countless shows, including our current smash hit – Evita.
From everyone at the company we thank you for the amazing work you do to create props that make our shows look spectacular! The effort, energy and talent you employ each year is truly remarkable. Here’s to many, many more!