From the prop list the Properties Director plans what might be built, pulled from stock and possibly modified, borrowed from another theatre or from a store, or bought in whole or in part. Part of this process is the consideration of what has to happen to complete each prop.  Armed with whatever information is available the properties director must ask:

•    What does it want to look like?

•    What does it look like now?

•    What does it need to do? (satisfying script/ actor function/        designer look/ other production area interaction)

•    How much/ many are needed?

•    Who handles it or makes it work?

•    When does it need to be done?

•    What talent is available to do it?

•    What materials are available or can be obtained in the time allotted?    

•    What can be negotiated to change?

•    How much money is it going to cost?

•    How much time will it take to do it?

Not all of these questions can be answered at first review and input from artisans on materials or time estimates may be needed.  The properties director needs to make a "best guess" on what will work to begin the process of building or finding all the props and making process lists.

Often times the list is broken down into process lists with all the items that are to be built, borrowed, pulled, or bought on separate lists.  As the viability of those options change, the lists change.  For example, to build a table for the show, the buy list must reflect the materials needed such as wood, fasteners, specialty router bits, finishing stains, etc.  But if a table that will work is found in the stock of a furniture company willing to rent or lend it out, then all the lists change.  The builder no longer has to build the table and the shopper no longer needs to buy materials but must instead arrange for the transportation of the lent table.  Or, the designer might find a table in stock that would work but he wants a table covering to disguise the top.  This takes it off the build list for the carpenter artisan but the buy list gets fabric and trim added to it and the soft-goods artisan gets the add to build the table covering.  

This is where the mighty juggle against the budget of time and personnel begins and the consummate skill of the Properties Director is needed most.  The closer to tech and opening the more complicated the juggle becomes. 

Keeping the prop list up to date is mandatory and communicating between all the involved partners any changes that occur is essential.  Utilizing the prop list to coordinate the show build is covered in more depth under THE BUILD PROCESS.


Click HERE to go to Organizational album for photos of prop bible pages.


Using the prop list as an organizational tool:

Click here to view sub-topics:


Tracking numbers                          Prop Bible

Click here to view sub-topics:


Tracking numbers          Prop Bible

Prop List

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