Winners of Central's Prop Doughnut Competition Attend Special Prop Making Workshop | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Monday, 19 August 2019

On Monday 12 August, Central was delighted to welcome the winners of its Prop Doughnut Competition to the School for a special prop making workshop.

As a part of the competition, participants were encouraged to create their own prop doughnut by following the ‘recipe card’ and instructional video on Central’s website.  Winners were invited to the School for a prop making masterclass.

The winners spent the day having their hands cast in alginate and pouring plaster casts. They also took part in a colour theory session and learned how to paint realistic flesh tones on the hand casts. Distressed metallic finishes were applied to architectural mouldings and, for added fun, casts were pulled from the soft fruit moulds of strawberries and blackberries.  The day ended with a photography session and the day’s creations being carefully packed away so that they could be taken home.   

Leading the workshop was Central’s Visiting Lecturer Tracy Lilley, who said:

“Spending the day with the #MyPropDoughnut competition winners was wonderful! The day was very productive and we were able to try out a number of paint techniques and skills.  Similar to the BA (Hons) Prop Making course, I was able to tailor the session to the group, meaning we were able to place a greater focus on areas that were challenging such as painting skin tone.  The winners produced some fantastic pieces!”

Of the workshop, participant Jenny said:

“My day at Central was incredibly interesting.  I learnt many new skills and techniques for making props.  I had previously struggled with painting skin coloured tones to make them look real, but Tracy showed me some great techniques to be able to achieve this.  Overall, I had an amazing time and will use the skills I learnt in the future.”

Prop Making reaches into all areas of the entertainment industry – theatre, film, television, window display, model animation, community arts, museum installation and replication work.  Prop Makers work with designers and directors to produce bespoke items for individual requirements.  It is rare to make the same thing twice, so Prop Makers have to be ingenious, quick-thinking, explorative, dexterous, enjoy problem solving and have a love of materials and all things three-dimensional.

Work in Prop Making can range from small, intricate, hand-held reproduction items to large scale, articulated structures, but it always requires excellent artistic and creative skills. 

Central’s Prop Makers develop into highly technically skilled, creatively inventive, collaborative and informed individuals who are able to contribute effectively and professionally to any production and its team.  Students are offered a range of opportunities to develop excellent and comprehensive prop making skills as a part of wider teams, including on public productions at the School, and working closely with students of other theatre disciplines in order to develop an overall understanding of performance and theatre production.  They also undertake professional placements in the industry to develop a full CV and further extend their skills.  At the end of their studies, they participate in a public exhibition to present their work to invited industry employers and others.   

The course has extensive industry links including the English National Opera, Madame Tussauds, Elstree Studios, Asylum Models & Effects and Neil Corbould Special Effects.  Recent graduates have gone on to work at major cultural and entertainment organisations such as the Barbican, Pinewood Studios, the National Theatre, Madame Tussauds, Warner Brothers, the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne Festival Opera to name just a few.

To find out more about Central’s BA (Hons) Prop Making, please visit the course page.

My day at Central was incredibly interesting.  I learnt many new skills and techniques for making props.  I had previously struggled with painting skin coloured tones to make them look real, but Tracy showed me some great techniques to be able to achieve this.  Overall, I had an amazing time and will use the skills I learnt in the future.

Jenny, #MyPropDoughnut competition winner and workshop participant