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10 Types of Props on Stage

Stage magic comes alive through the use of props. From the sword a knight wields to the diary a character secretly writes in, props are the unsung heroes of the theatre.  Let’s explore 10 different types of props that make theatre so enchanting (we’ve even included some examples to help!):

Hand Props

Objects actors hold and interact with, like a detective’s magnifying glass or a queen’s scepter.

Set Props

Bigger items that help set the scene. This category includes furniture like chairs, tables, and bookcases.

Set Dressing

Props that add ambiance but might not be central to the action. Consider items like paintings, vases, or decorative lamps.

Trim Props

Enhancing the overall look of the stage, these might include decorative pillows, rugs, or ornamental items.

Personal Props

Items specific to a character, often found in their pockets or bags. Think of a spy’s secret note or a singer’s cherished locket.

Costume Props

Props that are worn but aren’t traditional clothing. Examples include a sheriff’s badge or a mermaid’s crown.


Plants, trees, and flowers breathe life into a scene, from a single rose to an entire forest backdrop.


Props used up during the performance. This could be food items in a feast or letters that get burned.

Literal Props

These props have a deeper symbolic meaning in the story. A wilting plant might represent fading hope, or an hourglass could signify time running out.

Special Effects Props

Props that create magical or unexpected effects. This could be a cauldron that smokes or a sword that “lights up” during a battle.

The world of theatre is rich with details, and props are essential elements that weave these intricate stories. Next time you’re immersed in a play, take a moment to appreciate the silent storytelling of the props. Each one has its own tale to tell!

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