Set Design and Theater Props

If your school has a theater-production coming up, consider adding a residency with the students to create their own backdrops and cardboard props. I have many years of experience working in professional set design, as well as informal productions. Materials include refrigerator boxes, cloth, plywood panels, paper-mache, and plenty of paint. I work closely with the show director to ensure portability, storage, preset and size options. My residencies are student-centered; as much as possible, I let them do the design and imagination-work behind what each scene looks like. Usually they can come up with more fantastic and original images than an adult, and it adds a level of authentic pride for student-artists to know “I did it myself!” For this residency, it is highly preferable to have a core design-group of students, who work closely with me in making a plan. This core group practices direction and leadership skills, as other students come into the process to help them complete their design.