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Working in the Theatre: Specialty Props


What do fake dead bodies, a carve-able turkey, and the physical puppet of Donkey in Shrek: the Musical have in common? They are all examples of what makes the world of Specialty Props so fascinating. This very special field in the theatre requires an expertise in fine art, but also one with knowledge of the dramatic structure. These designers have the challenge to both dazzle and inspire audiences, without interrupting the show or movement, a skill that requires collaboration with the creative team of the show.

Watch Mary Creede, Zoë Morsette, and John Jerard sculpt, sew, hammer, power, design, and ultimately create iconic specialty props.

Special Note: Many of the props that Zoë Morsette discussed working on including Les Misérables were built during her time working at McHugh-Rollins studio.

American Theatre Wing’s Working in the Theatre documentary series features the most fascinating people on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience. From Tony Awards® and Obie Awards® winning artists to the next generation of theatre makers, we capture theatre’s inner-workings, industry luminaries, and unique stories that surround important work.

American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards® and home of and the Obie Awards®: for more information visit

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Help us continue to freely distribute Working in the Theatre by becoming a Patreon member! We’ll take you behind the scenes with some of your favorite theatre artists, onto the red carpet at the Tony and OBIE Awards, and give you opportunities to interact with industry luminaries. The proceeds from your Patreon membership will be invested in grants, scholarships, and content that supports the theatre community across the country.

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