Props, Plays, Masters, Makers

Ask not for whom the bell tolls

I’m in the final push to complete my forthcoming monograph, Shakespeare’s Props: Memory and Cognition, out with Routledge in 2019. While writing this book, I’ve enjoyed talking to actors, propmakers, and prop masters about the props that have shaped their  careers. Some of this has been facilitated through Twitter – I’ve tended not to talk much about it here, although those of you who’ve heard me talk about the book will know I’ve had particular luck discussing prop babies with guest actors on the BBC’s Call The Midwife, or exploring severed heads, body parts and babies at the National Theatre workshop.

Even though the project’s (gulp) nearly over, I’m always looking for new contacts and interviews, and thought it might make sense to consolidate the Calls-For-Propmakers here, with the kinds of things in which I’ve asked people throughout the book, and which I still want to hear/think about now. Thus:

  • Have you made, sourced, or worked with a prop baby, either in theatre, television, or film? Would you be willing to talk about it?
  • Have you made, sourced, or performed with a prop that had to be broken onstage in the course of a live theatre performance? What was that like?
  • Are you a propmaker or do you run/work for a theatre or company with its own prop shop? Would you be willing to answer some questions about that, and/or send me an image of your workspace or storage system (or can I come and visit)?
  • Do you collect theatre, film, or television props, whether historical or contemporary? May I please ask you some questions about your collection?
  • Are you a performer who’s worked with props that have meant a lot to you? Actors – which props have you kept (bought/borrowed/forgotten to return…) over the course of your career? Total anonymity guaranteed!
  • Are you a theatregoer particularly wowed/disturbed/impressed by an example of prop use in theatre or on screen? Seen a great play with a baby or something that got broken onstage? Please get in touch!

All discussions can be anonymous or fully credited, as you wish. I’m very happy to provide credentials. Please get in touch below, or email me at sophievduncan [at] gmail [dot] com. Thank you!



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