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Creative Storage Solutions for Theatre Programs: The Time and Cost of All Those Props

Phipps, Timothy J. and Dickinson, Joan and Cline, Holly and Sullivan, Kathleen (2019) Creative Storage Solutions for Theatre Programs: The Time and Cost of All Those Props. Masters thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

Technical theatre is not a field commonly researched. Even within the world of academic theatre, there is limited scholarly work taking place. In most cases, contributions to the body of knowledge occur through design work or innovations despite the fact that there are challenges affecting many small theatre groups. This causes the individual theatre groups to develop solutions independently. One of the primary problems faced by small theatre groups is the acquisition and storage of props. Props are acquired in various ways including purchasing, renting, building, or pulling from an internal collection (Gillette, 2013). Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses. With limited resources, this process can be time consuming and expensive. Because of this, many theatres maintain an internal collection of pieces acquired over time (Strawn, 2013). These collections of properties can help in addressing some of the financial and time-related issues posed by the other methods, but create additional logistical problems, primarily related to storage space requirements and costs. In addition to these challenges, there is a heightened sense of environmental consciousness, calling for increased conservation efforts within the theatre community. The purpose of this study is to use design-thinking methods to understand how small theatre programs acquire and store props for productions and to propose innovative solutions. Three theatre professionals completed a stakeholder map in order to determine those positions most involved in the storage and acquisition of theatre set props. They identified six key stakeholders: director, designer, technical director, producer, properties master, and theatre program director. In stage two, six individuals representing each of the key stakeholders were interviewed and their typical experiences were diagrammed. The individuals echoed the challenges from the research. They had a desire to develop a more efficient system to find and store their properties. Stage three included 14 participants from a variety of industries that inform acquisition and storage solutions participating in a design-thinking workshop including three strategies: alternative worlds, round robin, and visualize the vote. Alternative worlds led the group to explore libraries, warehouse automation systems, and multi-site churches further. The participants then completed a round robin session, where they developed potential solutions including improved inventory and networking options. Finally, visualize the vote led the group to focus on supporting the individual programs and developing a system to provide inventory creation solutions and opportunities to rent or sell props. Discussion following the voting focused the group on the concept of standardizing inventory systems. Stage four used a system of schematic diagrams with stakeholder critiques to refine the ideas which developed out of the stage three workshop. After two rounds of critiques and revisions, the concept was refined into the proposed solution. This solution involves a web/mobile application to help theatres standardize their inventories as well as open up channels between theatres for rentals and sales. Finally, for stage five a video scenario was created to communicate the proposed solution to future stakeholders. This included the creating of a five-minute narrated presentation explaining the key elements of the proposed solution. Timothy J. Phipps, M.F.A. Department of Design Thinking, 2019 Radford University

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Radford University > College of Graduate and Professional Studies
Depositing User: Timothy J. Phipps
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2020 20:16
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2020 20:16
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/562

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