CEDAR CITY — Every year at the Utah Shakespeare Festival countless chairs, clocks, thrones, tables, sofas, and other items appear on the stage. And all those props have to come from somewhere. The staff at the Utah Shakespeare Festival took UTBA on a tour of the workshop and storage facility where props are built from scratch, modified, redesigned, and stored. Take a look at the photos below to get a taste of this amazing facility and its eclectic contents.
Notice in the background is a candelabra, ornate chairs, kitchenware, a plastic bin full of plastic lobsters, and more. These are just a few of the thousands of objects in the facility run by Hohman.
Hohman told us that his staff hides monkeys in the props that his staff builds every season. Some years there are several monkeys in the items. This has become such a tradition that some regular Festival patrons arrive in Cedar City with the intent of looking for the monkeys.
In addition to rugs and chairs, we saw many tables and other pieces of furniture. Some of the furniture pieces have been reupholstered several times so that they can match a particular historical period or social class that the plays demand.
The prop workshop and storage facility is quite an amazing place where Hohman and other Festival employees quietly contribute to the magic of live theatre. It’s not the flashiest job in the theatre industry, but it is an important one. A well designed prop seamlessly blends with the set, costume, and lighting of a play to such an extent that audience members often don’t even think about the object. But a prop that looks poorly anachronistic, cheap, or shoddy distracts from the story. We were impressed with the effort and time that Hohman and his staff dedicate to every prop on the Festival stage every year.