Semester of Graduation



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Document Type



This study is intended to provide resources for those looking at becoming a prop artisan in the theatre industry. It is meant to provide aspiring artists with everything they need on their journey to becoming a competitive hire in the field, to aid in increasing one’s chances of finding work in the theatre industry, and to have a successful career as a prop artisan by compiling the multiple types of skills that prop artisans use and how they attain those different types of skills. The central research question of this study examines the myriad of skills prop artisans utilize and how they are attained. Previous research has shown routes people can take in order to gain these skills; however, the research is limited to a few credible sources. The goal for this thesis is to provide resources and to review data that suggests what skills are and are not being used in the theatre industry and how those skills were attained with the help of an anonymous survey.

The anonymous survey in this study collected data from those already in the props field, questioning how those who have been in this career for years or decades have attained the skills they utilize in their day to day work. The methods used for this survey were a Likert scale, a multiple-choice question, and a few short answer questions. The main results showed that skills such as carpentry, furniture construction, furniture repair, reupholstery, fabric manipulation, MIG welding, soldering, faux painting, distressing & aging, faux fine art, foam carving, drafting/sketching/rendering, puppetry, faux food, molding/casting, the various sewing skills, and paper props are frequently being used in the industry. The data suggests that the most common way to attain these skills are through academics, through a professional setting, through books, self-learning, and the internet. The significance of the data and the results suggests that there are a number of confounding variables as to why these skills and attainment of skills are used in the industry today.

Committee Chair

Murphy, James