Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club

by | 27 April 2024 | Gainsborough, Performing Arts

A piece from Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club’s props designer:

Theatre props (or more formally ‘theatrical properties’) are the things that add to a performance within a play, panto or musical.

They can be big, integral things (think Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang), they can be smaller things that are handled by the cast as part of the performance, such as a stage sword, plates etc, or they can be even smaller things, often things that the audience will never notice, such as letters or the cover of a book.

These are often my favourite things to make, adding to what the performer has to work with, but not necessarily seen by the audience. Some props are ‘normal’ objects – chairs, pictures, crockery etc, but my favourite props are the more unusual, bespoke, used-in-one-performance things.

I have been making props for Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club and Gainsborough Musical Theatre Society for a number of years now. My first venture was for SLTC’s performance of Blackadder Goes Forth; I was talking about making things for costumes to use as Cosplay or Steampunk and the director asked ‘Can you could make a Sopwith Camel?’!

I am not sure what response he expected but I said ‘Yes, I can give it a go,’ and after collecting a lot of cardboard boxes (it has to be light enough to be carried) and a brief from the Director I ended up make an 8ft x 4ft cardboard plane that two actors could stand inside and lift. I was very please that, with a few running repairs during the shows, it made it to the final curtain!

Since then, I have made smaller props; recently a map of New York’s Central Park for GMTS’s Addams Family (having an actual map gives a better feel that just having a folded piece of paper). For their next show Our House, set in the 80s, I am currently making business cards for the various companies mentioned.