S*P*M logo with cream-colored letters S, P, and M in red diamonds, with cream-colored starbursts between them

Society of Props Managers

S*P*M logo with cream-colored letters S, P, and M in red diamonds, with cream-colored starbursts between them

Society of Props Managers

The Society of Props Managers

S*P*M (The Society of Props Managers) is an association of professional Prop Managers and Educators. The purpose of S*P*M is to serve as an educational vehicle and resource for the managers and to create fellowship among property professionals to address issues of common importance to its members.

The goals of S*P*M are to

Membership Criteria

S*P*M, The Society of Props Managers, is an association of professional prop managers and educators.  We manage prop shops in theatres, colleges, and universities in the United States, Canada, and Ireland.

The basic requirements for membership in the Society of Props Managers are that you be a full time Prop Master/Director/Manager (a rose is a rose) or Assistant Manager forprofessional not-for-profit theatre or opera company, or a full-time educator whose primary duty is the management of a Prop Department and who teaches courses in theatrical properties and/or mentors students in preparation for a career in props.

Benefits of membership include participation in the national conference (hosted each year by a member’s home theatre), access to the members’ section of the S*P*M website, which provides product resources, inventory links, past season histories, member contact information and annual conference information and notes, plus full access to the members’ e-mail group, the S*P*Mnet, on which members share sources, resources, vendor recommendations, technical, legal, organizational and research information, stock photos and inter-theatre loans, brainstorming on the challenges we all face each season, operating instructions for directors and designers with whom  we’ve worked and the collected knowledge and experience of professional prop people from major producing organizations and educational institutions across the country and around the world.

Anti-Oppression Committee

The Society of Props Managers promotes Anti-Oppression, Anti-Racism, and anti-ablest work with radical equity, diversity and inclusion of marginalized persons within our profession and our producing organizations, including but not limited to: Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, gender non-conforming, and queer (LGBTQ+) communities, and persons with disabilities and neurodiversity. We will actively work to dismantle structural “privileges” within our profession and institutions to affect change.

If you would like to see some of the work our committee has been doing, you can download samples of the Anti-Oppression Newsletters we have built for our membership: Code Switching, Disability, Land Acknowledgement, and LGBTQ+ Pride.

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee strives for consistent messaging about S*P*M’s mission.  To do this the Communications Committee manages S*P*M’s internal and external communications, publications, and publicity in support of S*P*M’s mission.   We help to demonstrate and illuminate the S*P*M members’ leadership in the Properties profession.  The Communications Committee supports the goals and work of the other S*P*M committees by managing all outgoing social media and website channels and by representing S*P*M at industry conferences to promote growth in the field of props.

The Communications Committee supports other S*P*M committees through publication of news and information including member surveys, member welcome packets, job postings, member events (AMA, podcasts, etc), grant related information, and through support of other ongoing programming such as S*P*Minar and the Anti-Oppression newsletters.

The Communications Committee oversees, administers, manages, and moderates all official S*P*M social media channels which currently includes:

This committee also manages and supports the S*P*M website, which is currently under re-development.

The Communications Committee publishes all brochures and other media required for industry conferences.  Members attend the annual USITT conference to set up and staff the S*P*M table on the expo floor.  There they engage and educate all interested attendees on careers in props, our outward facing programs, and membership perks and qualifications.  USITT attendance also involves supporting the Education Committee in the execution of the props game for the Skills Challenge (formerly known as Tech Olympics).

Education Committee

The members of S*P*M believe that one of our most important missions is to provide guidance to those wishing to begin or advance their career in properties.  S*P*M will try to link  interested parties with a member from our group in their surrounding area to act as a mentor.  This is a free service open to any person interested in a career in props.  Additionally you will find information compiled by our members regarding available intern programs throughout the country under the link titled “Internship List”.  If you are interested in receiving more information regarding an intern or mentoring position simply go to the “Contact Us” page, fill in personal information, select intern opportunities from the drop down list, and send us a message.

S*P*M is also proud to feature blogs written by properties professionals that we believe are helpful to all levels of properties management and production. These can be found on the Internet Resources Page.

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee Is charged with receiving applications for membership and determining whether the applicant meets the Society’s membership requirements. On receipt of an application a response is sent to every applicant acknowledging their inquiry and informing them of the next steps in the process. Qualified applicants are sent a membership form to fill out and return to the Treasurer along with their dues. Those not qualified are contacted and informed of the reason for our decision and directed to public resources such as our Props for the Stage and Beyond Powered By S*P*M Facebook page. The Committee also seeks to identify members of the professional and educational community who are qualified for membership but may not be aware of the organization and advantages of membership. Future Membership Committee initiatives include the development of an onboarding “Welcome Package” for all incoming members which would contain documents, lists and links as well as instructions on accessing organizational internet resources useful to members.

Our Work

Our members represent theatres and schools across the USA, Canada, and Ireland.  We produce plays, musicals, opera, and dance throughout the year and to audiences of all ages, starting with newborns.  Want stats?  Here are our most recent Airtable reports!

Society of Props Managers annual stats
We are 339 professionals who serve 563 venues, producing 3542 shows annually in collaboration with 1243 designers
Graph showing the names of Shakespeare shows SPM members work on every year.
We work on 451 Shakespeare shows a year
Graph showing the names of Shakespeare shows SPM members work on every year.
153 Christmas Carols - that's a lot of pudding!

Our History

S*P*M, The Society of Props Managers, began life as S*P*A*M, the Society of Properties Artisan Managers, in 1992 with a meeting of six regional properties managers in Cincinnati for a day to chat, share resources and to exchange information and stories. The time together was so exhilarating, we felt this meeting should become a regularly scheduled event.

The second meeting took place in Cleveland for a two-day conference. Word had gotten around about the first meeting and the next conference had 15 participants, not just local folks, but properties managers from all across the United States. During these two days, we didn’t stop talking. The wealth of props knowledge, information and resources kept flowing from breakfast, throughout lunch and dinner, long after the bar closed and throughout the next day. When we parted on Sunday afternoon, we were all so excited to learn that there are others out there who share our frustrations and joys.

So often we think we feel isolated in our props world, and this gave us an avenue to express these feelings and, for many, to renew the love of the art. Today, the group has grown to include managers internationally. The driving motivation of the group is to share sources, vendors and materials, solutions and techniques, schedules, budgeting, safety issues, research, anecdotes, and all of the other arcane and mysterious components that go into running and working in a professional Prop Shop.

Below is a listing of our conferences to date, with enormous thanks to our hosts, who extended not only their hospitality, but worked long hours to organize our ever-growing annual event.

S*P*M Annual Conferences

2023 Cleveland Playhouse – our first in-person conference since 2019!  Hosted by Jessica Rosenlieb.

2022 Virtual Online Conference – Liz Baehr of Resident Ensemble Players at the University of Delaware, Marielle Boneau of Utah Shakespeare Festival, Helen Stratakes of the Barter Theatre, Stacy Bartell of The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

2021 Virtual Online Conference –Jessica Rosenlieb of Cleveland Playhouse, Chris Haig of the Arden Theatre Company, and Erin Prather of Hartford Stage

2020 Virtual Online Conference – Sarah Gullickson of Guthrie Theater, Mara Rich of Syracuse Stage, and Karin Rabe Vance of SD Arts Co., hosts

2019 Utah Shakespeare Festival – Ben Hohman and Marielle Boneau, hosts

2018 Goodman, Steppenwolf, DePaul Univ, Chicago Shakespeare, Chicago, IL

2017 Alley Theater, Houston, Texas – Karin Rabe Vance, host

2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, Oregon – Jim Clark & PJ, hosts

2015 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at University of Maryland, Washington, DC – Tim Jones, host

2014 Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee, WI – Jim Guy, Sandy Strawn, Lisa Schlenker, hosts

2013 Kansas City Rep, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Kansas City, MO – Michael Schall, Nancy Wagner, Sean Dane, Deb Morgan, hosts

2011 Childsplay Theatre, Tempe, AZ – Jim Luther, host

2012 Denver Theatre Center – Robin Payne, host

2010 Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco, CA – Ashley Dawn, host

2009 Actors Theatre of Louisville, Louisville, KY – Mark Walston & Doc Manning, hosts

2008 Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Seattle, WA – Jolene Obertin, Elizabeth A. Friedrich, Edie Whitsett, and Marne Cohen-Vance, hosts

2007 Guthrie Theatre, Minnesota Opera, Children’s Theatre, Minneapolis, MN – Patricia Olive, Dean Hawthorne, and Sue Brockman, hosts

2006 Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cedar City, UT & Las Vegas, NV – Ben Hohman, host

2005 North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC – Bland Wade, host

2004 Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO – John Roslevich, host

2003 Alley Theatre, Houston, TX – Randy Ingram, host

2002 Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA – Ed Haynes, host

2001 Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL – Alice Maguire, host

2000 Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee, WI – Jim Guy, Sandy Strawn, Lisa Schlenker, hosts

1999 Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis, IN – Alice George, host

1998 Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR – PJ Martin, host

1997 Denver Theatre Center, Denver, CO – Jaylene Wallace, host

1996 Missouri Repertory Theatre, Kansas City, MO – Deb Morgan, host

1995 Actors Theatre of Louisville, Louisville, KY – Ron Riall & Mark Bisonette, hosts

1994 Cleveland Playhouse, Cleveland, OH – Monique Walker, host

1992 Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, OH – Mary Kay Stone, host

A bit of fun at our 2023 Annual Conference in Cleveland

How about some S*P*M swag?

Our shops are up and running

SPM Logo - Society of Props Managers