THEA 406 Properties Studio                                                             12:35-1:50 WF


Ron Naversen              Comm 2030                 453-3076           

Bob Holcombe Comm 2034                 453-7593            



To introduce the student to the basic materials, techniques, and creative processes used in the research, design and construction of stage properties.  The class will help the student achieve a basic competence and appreciation by working on specific properties problems. The class is repeatable so students with a special interest in props can progress with increasingly difficult projects, materials and processes.



1) Attendance is mandatory  (see Departmental Attendance Policy in student handbooks). You cannot learn if you are not here and your fellow students are deprived of your insights and contributions.  

2) Readings and research as assigned

3) The Departmental Attendance Policy will be followed (see Student Handbook). Attendance at McLeod & C. H.  Moe Theater productions as we will discuss the properties aspects of each show.

4) A laboratory fee has been accessed to purchase materials and supplies. Advanced projects may require purchasing other materials dependent on your project selection and design.

5) You are responsible for taking notes in class. 

6) Quizzes will be given if we see that you are not paying attention & learning.

7) The Department is increasing its safety instruction and at some time in the semester students may be required to take a pulmonary test at Health Services to determine if they can use a respirator. The cost of this test is $5.00.



10%     Prop List/Research Book                     

The student will select a play with significant properties, develop a props list research the period providing pictures/ sketches, and determining what should be bought (listing approximate price), built, pulled from stock (providing sketch or picture), to create a props portfolio.

15%     Research Project/Presentation  

The student will research a particular problem related to stage properties and present a demonstration of this solution to the class (approx. 20 minutes). A handout documenting the materials, sources, etc. is required for each member of the class. Suggestions: Jewelry, Stage Weaponry, Pyrotechnics, Advanced Techniques & Materials, Printing, Basket Weaving, Electric Props, Book Binding, etc.

15%     Mask Project

Each student will design and construct a mask.  Several techniques and materials will be demonstrated and the student may use any of these processes or experiment with other materials and techniques.  The mask must be wearable, comfortable, allow the wearer to see clearly and well constructed.  

60% Prop Projects

Students will select 3 projects (20% each) from the list below

and create these props.  Students must submit pictures of their projects and have them approved by the instructors before beginning the project.  Closeness to these pictures along with construction integrity will be used as the basis for evaluating the projects. Projects may include:

Furniture Construction/Alteration.


Electric props (wiring of practical lighting, & sound props) 

Food Props

Weapons & armor                   


Casting and Molding

Floral props and arrangements                         

Special Effects (breakaways, electronics, motorized props)



Students will be evaluated on their growing craftsmanship in the construction of their various prop projects, the thoroughness of their research, and the creativity that they bring to the completion of their prop projects.  Students must submit pictures of their projects and have them approved by the instructors before beginning the project.  The pictures will serve as the basis for evaluation the projects in conjunction with the construction integrity of the finished prop.


Lecture Topics:

What is a Prop?

Types of Properties & Prop Organization

            Soft      Hard    Hand    Costume           Dressing           Food

Property Research and Resource Materials

History of Stage Properties

The Working Professional Prop Master

Job Markets, Portfolios, Duties and Responsibilities

Materials including

Papers & Fabrics         Wood              Plastics             Metals



Paper Props & Documents

Floral Arrangements and Materials

Furniture Repair & Construction

Wood Turning


Weaponry care and construction

Special effects, inc: Pyro-Techniques, Breakaways, Breakaway Glass


Suggested Bibliography:

Stage Properties.  Warren Kenton

Theatre Props.  Motley

The Theatre Props Handbook.  Thurston James

The Prop Builder's Molding and Casting Handbook.  Thurston James

The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of Stage Properties. Thurston James

Scene Design & Construction. Welby Woolfe


Individuals who have any disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect their ability to execute projects in this class are encouraged to inform the instructors at the beginning of the semester.  The instructors will adapt the class for these individuals as necessary.  The instructors reserve the right to alter the course content to benefit the class.