Prop Internships

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  Prop Director     Prop Artisan   Prop Skills       Prop Training    Contracts/Salaries    





UWM student Loren Watson working in the prop shop.

         A beginning level position found in many organizations is the Properties Intern.  An internship in the prop shop of a regional theatre is one of the best ways to make the move from theatre training at a university to the professional theatre world.  Many educational institutions offer classes for credit in the final year of the training curriculum supporting an internship for either a full or partial semester. Professional theatre companies offer internships knowing they are preparing the next level of craftspersons to be hired into the profession.  In a recent SPAM (Society of Properties Artisans/Managers) survey of both regional and summer theatres, thirty-eight regional theatres offered some form of an internship with many offering a small stipend or other financial support.  Of the twenty-three summer theatres responding to the survey, most offered a stipend as well as housing.

    An internship exposes the student to  professional work processes and products building on whatever level of training was offered in the university.  By engaging with craftspeople, designers, and directors in the professional environment the student learns professional work standards and develops the professional contacts necessary for a successful career within the theatre industry.  

    Most interns are expected to work the same hours as paid staff and depending on the skills of the individual, may be assigned as an assistant to a full time staff member or even given individual projects to complete. Some theatres offer a hands-on training component in addition to just working in the shop.  As the intern demonstrates ability and learns the way of working in a particular organization, opportunities to work on larger projects usually are given.  Beyond learning professional technical skills the intern is also exposed to the communication, organization, and leadership qualities needed to be successful.  

    To find an internship, search the websites of the regional or summer theatres.  Many have links available describing the opportunities for employment.  On the theatre webpage look for a link under a header such as:  Opportunities, Employment, Jobs, Education, Training, or Internship.  Contacting the theatre in person or by phone is also a good way to discover what internship possibilities are available or who the contact person is for setting up an internship.  If a particular theatre does not have an internship program in place, it is always possible to  talk directly with the properties director about setting one up.  Few theatres will turn away free labor, especially someone with an interest in the technical field having some level of training and a passion for the work.  Theatres with Union contracts may be limited in offering contracts due to their particular agreement with the Local Stagehands contract.

    Accepting an internship carries with it the same responsibility of accepting a fully paid position.  The staff of the prop shop will expect the intern to be engaged, collaborative, and hard-working.  In exchange, they offer the start of a successful career.  An internship should not be viewed as a way to just see what goes on behind the scenes of a professional theatre but must be approached as an entry-level job with the same consequences of success dependent on assessment and review by supervising personnel.











Click here to view sub-topics:


  Prop Director     Prop Artisan   Prop Skills        Prop Training    Contracts/Salaries    

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