What they do
Prop and scenery makers construct the sets, backdrops, furniture and props for film, television and stage productions, and exhibitions and events. They work closely with set designers and stage managers to ensure that all props and scenery meet production and design specifications.
In Western Australia, prop and scenery makers may work on productions for organisations such as His Majesty’s Theatre, smaller local theatre companies, events such as Perth Artrage Festival, or educational exhibits.
Prop and scenery makers usually work in construction workshops and may work independently or as part of a team. They use a wide range of carpentry, joinery and metalwork skills and may be required to wear protective clothing.
They generally work construction industry hours, starting early in the morning. Occasional weekend and night work may be required.
Tools and technologies
Prop and scenery makers may use a range of tools including standard carpentry and metalwork power tools and machinery. They may use timber, steel, plastic, leather, clay, plaster and resins to construct props and furniture, and may make stunt double props such as fake knifes and baseball bats. They also read technical drawings to plan the construction of props.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a prop and scenery maker without any formal qualifications. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in live production and technical services, performing arts, theatre arts or a related area.
The Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services and the Advanced Diploma of Live Production and Management Services are offered at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).
Edith Cowan University offers a Bachelor of Performing Arts, majoring in Production and Design. This is the only undergraduate degree specialising in prop and scenery making available in Western Australia. Contact Edith Cowan University for more information.
Some other universities in Western Australia offer degrees with majors in theatre. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
To work as a prop and scenery maker in Western Australia, you may need to obtain a High Risk Work Licence from WorkSafe if you are working at heights.
If you are engaging in construction work, you will need to undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Training Card (commonly known as a white card). In Western Australia, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by WorkSafe.