Not every theater operates like a well-oiled machine. Smaller shows relying on techs and players of various experience levels can quickly see the backstage descend into chaos. The prop table is one of the most critical areas to maintain throughout the hectic weeks leading to the show. Let’s go over some reasons why theater prop tables need to stay organized and the steps you can take to ensure they do!
To Improve the Process
While the prop table doesn’t appear until later rehearsals, it’s important to create a consistent prop table location and organization system. This consistency allows actors to know exactly where to look for their items and avoid backstage panic as they try to grab props and make it back in time for the next scene. Creating an effective procedure for removing and returning items to the prop table early on ensures that the live performances go smoothly and even contributes to easier clean-up in the end.
To Spot Any Missing Items
One practical reason theater prop tables need to stay organized is that they let the assistant stage manager and techs keep an eye on the show’s props throughout production. Companies often use some props in multiple productions, so the need to maintain them extends beyond one performance or a single show’s run. Organizing a prop table using a system makes it blatantly obvious when one prop has walked off and allows the stage managers to tackle the issue before it interrupts a performance.
How To Keep Prop Tables Organized
With organization being so key to success onstage and offstage, it’s no surprise that many companies have devised a similar way to organize their prop tables. Marking off sections and adding labels to each makes it clear for techs and actors alike where everything needs to go. Arranging the items according to when they’re used or which characters need them also helps create a more efficient prop flow.
One thing to always keep in mind is the prop table’s visibility during the performance. While some lighting is available backstage, it may not be enough to make the sections or their labels clear. Brightly colored tape and labels are a great way to improve visibility without breaking out a flashlight mid-show.
Chromalabel offers a wide variety of tools to help your theater company stay organized. From stage marking to storage management, our color-coding tape is an incredibly versatile product to keep backstage. We also carry inkjet printable labels so that you can create custom adhesives for every unique show. Shop our large online selection today to discover the organizational tools your theater needs!