The title says it all really. If you were wondering what I have been doing for the past three weeks, it’s been that. The school I work at put on a big musical production every two years, involving all the children in KS2 (that’s equivelent to 2nd Grade through 5th Grade in America) and this year I landed the role of being in charge of all the props. What I failed to fully comprehend when I agreed to take the responsibility was the sheer volume of (bizarre and wonderul) props required for Alice in Wonderland. The characters, the scenes, the wierd and wonderful things… I had to make lists, and then make lists of lists, just to keep track of everything. Luckily I had a great team of people to help me, and everyone worked really hard together. And a theatre wardrobe company lent us most of the costumes, so we didn’t have to make those too!
If anyone out there ever needs to make props for a stage production of Alice, I hope the following photos and descriptions will be of some help!
Dodo mask, made out of papier mache (using balloons) and masking tape. More of a headpiece really, the boy had has face painted the smae blue as the mask, and then wore a blue cape with feathers all over it.
The Lory Bird headpeice, made out of papier mache and covered in feathers. The child had his face painted orange and wore a cape of green fabric with feathers covering it.
Three crowns (one a spare) made for the Queen of Hearts and King of Hearts
Fake sandwiches (jam and cheese), for the picnic in the opening scene, made with dreid brown bread, yellow paper or red paint, and covered in PVA glue.
Dried out scones covered in PVA glue to preserve them and stop them crumbling or breaking during the performances.
Giant mushroom for the caterpillar, made, quite obviously, out of a big red umbrella and white circles of card!
Caucus race masks made by the children for their Caucus race dance. They used lovely pearlescant paint and pipe cleaners and feathers attached with a glue gun.
Eat Me cake, made from air-drying foam clay. Looks a bit like a burger but it did the trick!
Lobster masks for the Lobster Dance.
Hedgehog masks for the croquet scene
Flamingo croquet bats made using hockey sticks, papier mache balloons and lots of crepe paper! We had ten of them. One of the parents made them for us, aren’t they brilliant!
Axes for the executioners
18 axes, to be precise!
The tree/rose bush that stayed on stage the entire time, with different things hanging from it depending on the scene. Here are the pocket watches for the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter.
A clock for the tree. We made the tree out of cardboard, newspaper, papier mache, mod rock and lots and lots of duck tape!
Tears on the tree, for the scenes where Alice is crying
Pigs and pepper pots on the tree
Red and white roses on the rose bush for the scene in the garden when the cards are painting the white roses red.
Red rose made of crepe paper
Mock Turtle costume and lots of hats
A selection of teapots for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party scene (yes, we changed a watering can into a giant tea pot!
A selection of different sized bottles for Alice to drink from, from my own bottle collection.
Some of the costumes we borrowed
Unfortunately I don’t have photos of a few of the props, including a giant teapot that the doormouse fit into, cardboard doors in a selection of sizes, and all the t-shirts that were painted to look like cards and took hours and hours of work to make by dedicated members of staff.
The performances were amazing, the children did two performances, on one day, at our local independent theatre, and they were all brilliant! I would say that for at least three weeks prior to the performance the children had rehearsals and practices almost all day every day, and it really paid off. The quality of the production was increadible. Even The Boy, who doesn’t like performing to an audience, did really well and came home buzzing and excited, talking about joining the drama club at school next term. Brilliant!
I really enjoyed being a part of this, as I have never worked on a theatre production before, and it certainly made me a lot more emotional and proud of all the children when I got to watch them on stage. I can’t wait for the next one now!