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Let's Talk About Props!

Ready to take your act to the next level? Liane Barker of Brush and Pen Studio shares her tips for creating the perfect prop!

Props are a great way to enhance an act. A simple prop can set a scene, support costume changes or convey the story of your act. Just be sure to avoid ‘prop-a-geddon’ - Make sure when adding a prop to your act it serves a purpose and supports your act.

Things to consider about your prop:

1.Will it hold elements of your costume?

Props are a great way to hide elements of your costume to be revealed during your act - think how easily you can remove or add items whilst on stage.

2.Will it relate to your act and be versatile?

A prop can be created to look like a particular item then revealed as another element of your act that you can use. eg. suitcase to tapdance on. (The following photos show a prop created for Ruby Corvette. Her act started at a train station so the prop was built and painted to look

like a suitcase, however it turns into a platform where she tap dances on top. The prop had to be built sturdy enough for her to tap dance as well as carry it on stage and off herself, without the addition of an expensive tap floor.)

3.Is it specific to your story?

Your prop is a good way of setting a scene or story so make sure the graphics and colours relate to your act, it is era specific or does it have continuity.

4. Will the audience understand the reasoning behind the prop?

Sometimes it’s easy to have an idea in your head but it may not necessarily translate across in your act. Plan carefully each element you wish to portray in your act and make your prop accordingly.

5.Can a Stage Kitten easily set it and remove it?

Make sure your prop is not oversized and heavy to lift or place which could cause injury to a stage kitten or yourself.

6.Are you able to easily transport it to and from venue?

Consider the weight and overall size of your prop. How easily will it be packaged for transport? Can you take it as carry on luggage on a flight or is it going to have to go as oversized luggage?

7.Is it versatile enough to fit on various sized stages?

Consider the fact you could be performing on various sized stages so your prop has to work in all situations.

8.Is your prop sturdy enough to use during your act?

This is very important! Make sure your prop is built well and sturdy enough to take your weight should you choose to sit, dance or lay on it. You also need to ensure it does not move during your performance which could cause you injury.

This prop is a solid timber box that is supported internally to allow the performer to tap dance on the top during the act. It was painted and lettered to look like a vintage suitcase with handle and catches added to give the aesthetic of old luggage that related to the act. The handle also allows for easy transportation of prop and the box alleviates the need for an expensive tap floor.

Photo & Design/Painting by Brush & Pen Design Studio

This prop was created to hold elements of smaller props used during the act as well as have a ‘special reveal’. Lettering was created to reflect the era and colour match costuming. Prop can also be packed down for transportation and has a smaller version for smaller stages.

Design, Fabrication and painting by Brush & Pen Design Studio Photo Credits: Cam Attree Photography

Pictured is a prop made for Miss Ruby Corvette.

The prop was created to be lightweight but give the illusion of an old heavy metal cauldron. The fire was added below and cauldron was mounted onto a sturdy timber platform for stability as the performer uses during the act it to sit and stand inside.

Photo top right: Brush & Pen Design Studio Photo top left: Raw Bones Photography Photo on left by: Joel Devereux

Need help creating your next prop?

Contact Liane - Brush & Pen Design Studio - to discuss how she can bring her creativity and craftsmanship to your next prop.

e-mail: website: Instagram: @brushandpenstudio Facebook: @brushandpenstudio

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