Theatre productions require a lot of investment and manpower to pull off. Even if you’re not mounting an original one, and you’re not hiring an orchestra to do the music, there are still a hundred and one things to spend on. These include actors, costume, stage props, directors, and so on.
The expenses begin with the rehearsals because everything needs to be ready by then. While the actors can do without the makeup, costume and props, they will need to be there in time for the actual performance. Such production design requires a lot of skill, creativity, and materials. To cut costs, the production team often source props from secondhand stores or generous individuals whenever they could. The real cost comes in period pieces where the props are hard to come by. These would really need to be crafted and created.
In cases where the settings and scenes are simple, a minimalist approach often works. The only exception is when the props are actually used by a person. For example, a wheelchair needs to be sturdy and fully functional if a cast member is going to use it. It can be a refurbished one if it’s purpose is just to sit on the corner of a hospital. The same goes with baby cribs and baby walkers. You need to get the best rated baby walkers, not necessarily brand new, if a real baby will be placed there during the production. This ensures that the baby is safe and secured during the play or musical.
Additionally, there’s also the issue of wear and tear. Some productions last for months or years at a time. Think West End or Broadway. Using props with inferior quality could be dangerous for the cast and crew, so this is something that should be considered. If your production will only run once or for a short period of time, you can save money by borrowing props, making them, or getting second hand items.
However, if the show will run for a long time, you may need to construct an almost permanent set with props and items of good quality since they will be used by the actors and staff.