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Mask of the Greek theater, which depicts a peasant (Louvre, approx. 300–250 BC)
The fictional book Necronomicon from horror and fantasy literature
Drafts for props for La bohème by Adolfo Hohenstein (1854–1928)

A prop is used to furnish scenes in theatrical performances , in film and television productions or as studio decoration for photographs . In addition to moving props are in the theater, the stage , in the film, the scene image .

The expression comes from the Latin requisita : "need, need", actually "requirements, necessities". Since the beginning of the 19th century, it has been used in the sense of "equipment for the theater".


The first known props were masks, which were held in front of the face with the hand. They were used in the theater of ancient Greece .

scope of application

In a theatrical performance, props, set , costume , mask and lighting make up the equipment . They can have important functions in the storyline and even be the “title character” of a work ( The Broken Jug , The Magic Flute or Schindler's List ) .

In general, an object that is smaller than a piece of furniture is considered a prop in the theater, costumes or jewelry only if they are not worn on the body. In the theater, the props department is now mostly responsible for weapons and pyrotechnic effects, which is why the professional profile of a prop master also includes acquiring a gun license and a certificate of proficiency as a pyrotechnician . The props department is also responsible for creating effects such as snow and fog. The props also include smaller vehicles (e.g. bicycles or skateboards), bed and table linen , suitcases and bags as well as food, but also plants and animals. The latter are more likely to be rented from a company that specializes in trained animals.

It is the job of the prop master to manufacture or procure these items and set them up for presentation. The rooms in which the prop master stores and manages the items are usually referred to as the props chamber, and the rooms and the department itself are referred to as the props . The objects are either made in a props workshop or borrowed from a fund or from specialized outfitters. Much is also bought new or used and, if necessary, changed for the performance. At the theater you only borrow from collectors, rental companies and private individuals in exceptional cases, as the pieces often become part of the long-standing repertoire of a company and therefore the end of the loan cannot be foreseen.

Film and television productions often have a stronger division of the different areas of the prop into several specialized departments such as indoor and outdoor props or greenery (for plants). To avoid surreptitious advertising, fictitious branded products are often used for film and television or the props are staged in such a way that the brand name or logo cannot be read, e.g. B. Beverage bottles from an angle that does not show the label.

Web links

Commons : props  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Requisit  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. prop. In: Digital dictionary of the German language . Retrieved October 7, 2019
  2. Anne-Katrin Schade: Spinni, I'll make you big. In: Spiegel Online . June 28, 2013, accessed May 24, 2015 .
  3. Thomas Michalski: Simply make films . 2013, ISBN 978-3-8482-7985-2 , pp. 85-90 .
  4. Verena Schürholz: Berlin company successful with dummy design. In: Rheinische Post . August 17, 2006, accessed May 24, 2015 .
  5. ^ Tilmann P. Gangloff : Through the back door. In: Der Tagesspiegel . July 31, 2009, accessed May 24, 2015 .