Prop “bibles- Milwaukee Repertory Theatre

The prop list is only one part of the information the properties director maintains.  The prop list is informed by all the drawings, photographs, research, fabric samples, sketches, director/designer discussions, and other information that is communicated during the initial design and production coordination process.  

To keep track of all the information the properties director often puts together a notebook that holds all the information from those preliminary meetings and is the gathering place for all the changes that occur during the building process.  This show book, or “bible” as some call it, keeps all the show information in one place for easy reference.

It may include: 

Contact information sheet-phone, fax, email, address

Time lines and designer deadlines

Program listing

    (Prop artists & personnel,  acknowledgements, special thanks, etc)

    Run crew listing

    Cast listing


Weekly work/build schedule 

Rehearsal schedule

Performance schedule

Communication/E-mail : (TO and FROM)


    Production personnel



    Stage Management

Rehearsal reports

Production meeting reports

Prop List 


Floor plans


Designer drawings

Shop/working drawings

Research documentation/photos/ sketches

Process plans

Budget sheets

Copies of borrowing forms relevant to show use


Performance reports

In-Run maintenance notes

Strike plan

Using this book as the basis for managing the build, all information is readily available for the properties director in meetings attended, while shopping with the designer, for an artisan who has questions, to track communications between the shop and rehearsal, to review drawings for specific information, and to resolve any questions that might arise. Artisans often make copies of the information for their use but the original stays with the notebook.

The shopper may have a similar "bible" to use while searching for the pieces needing to be bought or for information on items needing specific lengths or sizes of materials. This should duplicate the information needed from the shop "bible" insuring its security by remaining in the shop and available for use by the in-house staff.  

Usually, the properties director manages the "bible" and all changes are tracked and noted so the information is up to date creating a single source for all questions. Budgets and copies of receipts are usually only kept in the shop "bible".

Prop “bible” for Becky Shaw  Actors Theatre of Louisville  Mark Walston, Prop Director

Click here to view sub-topics:


Tracking numbers                          Prop Lists

Click here to view sub-topics:


Tracking numbers                          Prop Lists

Prop Bible

As laptop computers become a standard management tool, the "bible" is transitioning into a digital resource with images scanned in and calendars, budgets, rehearsal reports, prop lists, and such all being kept in secure files and available electronically. Since most of this information is now being communicated via the computer, keeping it as an electronic file makes sense.

Photo shows desktop image of stock photos and budget tracking- all kept in computer folder online “bible”.

It is easy to update and track changes on the computer and send responses to stage management, the production manager, or other production shops via e-mail. Receipts can be scanned in allowing originals to be processed to bookkeeping as necessary. Artisans can electronically review a drawing, study the designers notes or research, and read rehearsal report comments about how a prop is used to clarify their thought process as they work on the show.  This information can be printed off as necessary, saving paper and keeping the information safe and in a format that is easily updated.  The three-ring binder "bible" is quickly becoming a relic of the past. 

Click to move to next “chapter” :  The Build Process.