People of Portland Stage: Meg Anderson, Props Master

We are thrilled to introduce members of the Portland Stage team in a continuing series of profiles title “People of Portland Stage”. 

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Meg on the set of Papermaker, 2015.

Name: Meg Anderson
Title:  Props Master

When did you start at Portland Stage?
I have been at Portland Stage Company since 2013, when I started work out of college as the Scenic Intern.  The following year I joined the staff as the Scenic Artist and Technician.  This year, I have the exciting opportunity to continue to work with PSC as the current Props Master.  

What is a Props Master? 
A props master is the theatre artist who is in charge of the making and sourcing of each object onstage.  They collaborate with the director and scenic designer in order to choose and style these items.  These objects include all hand props, aka objects that an actor can pick up, as well as furniture and set dressing.  

What drew you to the job?
I have always been interested in storytelling. I think that we tell stories because we need them. Stories have power. They can create and destroy shared knowledge, history, and myth. This storytelling is the root, blood, bone, rhythm, heart of theatre. It wasn’t until I went to college and began my work study job in the scene shop that I became interested in scenic design and production. I realized that scenic designers were engaging in visual and textural storytelling that could redefine the relationship between image and story onstage. I value working with my hands, and my work here at Portland Stage as a scenic carpenter and scenic artist and now props master has allowed me to engage in this essential visceral story telling.

What’s something you wish more people knew about Portland Stage?
Portland Stage has an awesome opportunity for young people to get out to see theatre affordably, called Rush 35.  For many students and people in their 20s and 30s, especially other people working in the arts, our ticket prices may seem out of their price range.  But we do have an affordable option for people under 35 to see theatre on our stage, so please check it out!

Production photo of The Whipping Man, which ran Spring 2014 at Portland Stage.

Production photo of The Whipping Man, which ran Spring 2014 at Portland Stage.

What has been your favorite Portland Stage production, and why? 
My favorite set design that I have worked on at Portland Stage was for “The Whipping Man.”  The design included the last standing wall of a house that had been wrecked by war and fire and neglect.  The textures, objects onstage and scenic painting that went into aging and distressing the set truly brought the show to life.  It created a complete landscape that helped to tell a story in its own right, which is something very exciting to work on as a props maker and as a scenic artist.

What are some of your favorite places, things to do, etc. in Portland? 
In Portland, I love to swim in the ocean, off the rocks by the East End beach.  I just got a wet suit so I can continue to be in the water, even if it is November!  

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