Education and Outreach
Sharing Knowledge is our Foundation
We believe that when we share what we have learned, we all grow stronger. Need a blood recipe that will wash out of a white carpet? Need to know where to find a wooden ladder? What’s the best upholstery stapler? Who sold those casters, again? Where did you find those 3’ tall daisies?
Through our Facebook Pages, YouTube channel, Instagram posts, and participation in USITT and KCACTF we interact regularly with others in our field to share what we know and to learn from each other. We aim to reach an even wider audience of prop builders with brochures and our monthly S*P*A*Minar video series about prop building, and we have several other new initiatives in the works. If you’re an aspiring professional prop builder, a cosplay enthusiast, or you just want to kill it at the Halloween party, we want to be part of it and see what you’re up to, so join our Facebook community at Props for the Stage and Beyond. There you can ask us questions and share your experiences.
And when the prop is finished post pictures!
Want to know how to make your paper props shine? How to add texture to your next project? Tips and tricks on making puppets, button tufting, or molding and casting?
You can watch our members share their best prop secrets on a variety of subjects in our monthly live S*P*Minar series, which occur at 8pm EST on the 3rd Sunday of each month. All S*P*Minar registrations are shared across our social media channels 2 weeks in advance of each event. Follow our official Facebook page, or our Instagram profile for the most up-to-date info on current programming. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, where you’ll find all our S*P*Minars.
The United States Institute of Theatre Technology, Inc.
The United States Institute of Theatre Technology, Inc.
The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) connects performing arts design and technology communities to ensure a vibrant dialog among practitioners, educators, and students.
S*P*M attends and supports the annual USITT conference by exhibiting at USITT’s stage expo. We’ve been there yearly since 2005, engaging all interested attendees in conversations about props, career possibilities, S*P*M programming and membership, and offering the the occasional impromptu portfolio review.
In addition to participation on the Expo Floor, S*P*M members are actively engaged within the leadership structure of USITT to develop and present sessions for the USITT conferences.
S*P*M’s Education Committee created and executes the prop challenge during the “USITT Skills Challenge”, the event formerly known as “Tech Olympics”. You can learn more about USITT on their website, here.
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the country which S*P*M partners with during their annual festivals.
KCACTF hosts 8 Regional Festivals every year in January and February as well as a National Festival in April. S*P*M supports these festivals by providing members local to each region who respond to the design presentations and help select the award winners for Excellence in Properties Design. These S*P*M members often present prop specific workshops at these festivals as well.
You can learn more about KCACTF on their website, here.
S*P*M Annual Grants
S*P*M’s commitment to prop education was cemented when we established annual grants awards to early career prop professionals in 2015. These grants are awarded to individuals furthering their career in theatrical properties and are intended to assist with transportation, housing, and other necessities while completing an internship or apprenticeship in the field of properties.
The grants are awarded in memorial of Jen Trieloff, Edie Whitsett, and Herb Camburn; 3 exceptional prop professionals who were dedicated to progressing the field of props and educating future prop professionals.
Jen Trieloff was Properties Director for American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Forward Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin and has served as Prop Master and Prop Designer for Madison Rep and Madison Opera and Ballet among others. He was an accomplished craftsman and scene designer whose work was seen on stages inside and outside of Wisconsin.
Edie Whitsett was the longtime property shop manager and a frequent designer at Seattle Children’s Theatre. She also created sets for Village Theatre, Seattle Opera, ACT Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet and other arts entities. Whitsett’s honors included an Artist Trust fellowship, a commission for an art installation at the Seattle Public Library’s central branch and two Seattle Times Footlight Awards.
Herb Camburn was an ardent supporter of S*P*M and we’re honoring his commitment to us by awarding a grant in his name. With a theatrical career that spanned more than 65 years, Herb Camburn was a talented artist, actor, designer, and director, who had a passion for teaching. Herb started his arts career by spending 4 years with the Air Force Art and Motion Picture departments. Following that he spent years designing for various regional theatres in the U.S. and London, including The Missouri Repertory Theatre. His design work extended to corporate events and even Disneyland Parades. He spent 30 years teaching in the CSU, Long Beach, Theatre Arts Department including a length of time as the Head of Design. Following retirement, Herb reincarnated himself and started “Mother Camburn’s Paper Props”, a series of digital property CDs which have been a staple of many S*P*M members toolboxes for years.
To apply for these grants visit our Properties Grants page.
Downloadable PDF brochures
Want to be able to share some information about S*P*M with others offline? S*P*M has created the following brochures which are available for download and printing.
S*P*A*M About Us Brochure – a general introduction to who we are, and what we do.
Grant Brochure – to be updated soon with current application information
Weapons brochure – This brochure is intended to be a starting point for the best practices for the safe operation, care, storage, and use of weapons on the stage. Please consult with your prop professional, fight choreographer, or movement professional for more detailed information.
Careers brochure – This brochure gives an overview of Prop Job Titles and Skills and a brief overview on how to obtain Education and Training to become a prop professional.
There are properties internship opportunities across the United States, and we strive to maintain an updated database here. If you know of an internship we don’t have listed here, please let us know with an email to our Education Committee.