How do I get into prop/scenic work?

Lois Karpel wants to get back into prop and scenic work after a long contract working as entertainment staff on a Disney Cruise.

​I was hoping for a little advice - I have worked as a professional sculptor/prop maker for 4 years for various TV shows, films and adverts. I took a break form this and just finished a long contract working as entertainment staff on Disney Cruise Line.

I am keen to get back into prop/scenic art work preferably in London theatres but have never worked in theatre.

I currently live in central London and don’t own a vehicle. I would love to get involved in backstage theatre work but don’t really have any idea where to begin with this.

Do you have any jobs in mind/available that might fit the bill?

— Lois Karpel

Expert answers

Jayne Lewis's reply:

​I would advise you to map out all the theatre venues and theatre companies within a reach that you can travel to. Note which theatres are producing houses and which are receiving; the producing houses will always need artists with your skills as they create most of their own theatre in house, so you could pop your CV in to the Theatre Managers at those venues or to the Technical/Production Manager.

For the receiving houses you could see which companies are touring theatre to those venues and post your CV to them.

All theatres (both producing and receiving) employ extra, stage crew staff on a casual basis over the festive period, to help with Panto. Although you won’t be using your artistic skills, this could be a great way of getting in and meeting the right people, showing that you work well in a team.

Also sign up for free Arts Jobs email alerts on the Arts Council England website, you can specify the sort of jobs you are looking for, in which area you prefer and you will receive details of how to apply. The Stage newspaper also has jobs in every week.

Equity the actors Union also have advice for back stage and technical artists, they might be able to advise on job searches. You have a great start with all the experience you have already so be bold and show them how they can benefit from your expertise.

Good Luck.

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