Theatre Green Book PRODUCTIONS Toolkit – Designing and Making




• It can be worth asking how props would have been made before plastic-based materials became widespread.

Large sculptural shapes

• Large shapes are normally cut or carved from polystyrene, and textured or coated. Polystyrene is hard to use sustainably. The first step, therefore, is to be sure the item is absolutely required artistically.

• If it is, consider whether it can be made from organic materials such as timber. Alternatively, Jesmonite, a plaster and acrylic-based alternative, may be worth exploring.


• Foams for upholstery can be replaced by the use of capock, coir, or horse hair as traditional stuffings. Make sure the production team understand this will be a slower process requiring greater skills by the maker, and may cost more. Some further work is needed fully to review the sustainability of these alternatives.


• Some props or furniture may be able to be used directly in a new production. More often, items will need to be repaired or altered in some way. Soft furnishings may need to be replaced to fit a colour scheme or aesthetic. Props may need to be aged or reshaped. Make sure the production team are aware of the time and costs involved in reuse, in planning budgets and schedules.