A Midsummer Night's Dream: Prop design

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Prop design

Setting Understanding

  • Understand the setting: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is set in ancient Athens and a nearby magical forest, which is inhabited by fairies. The props used should reflect these two differing setting successfully - utilising elements of Athenian culture for Athens and otherworldly, fantasy elements for the forest.

Detail Importance

  • Importance of detail: In any Shakespearean play, attention to detail in prop design is imperative. Consider the significance of items mentioned in the script such as the love-in-idleness flower that Puck uses to bewitch the lovers.

Scene Transitions

  • Transitions: Keep in mind the quick transitions between the human world and magical world. Props need to be easily transportable and versatile for these numerous scene changes. For example, lightweight and functional items that can be carried on/off stage effortlessly.

Diversified Props

Athenian Props

  • For the parts set in Athens, consider integrating Greek artifacts, such as a scroll for Theseus, goblets or wine jugs for the party scene, or Greek-style furniture.

    Magical Props

  • In the fairy world scenes, props should reflect its whimsical and enchanted nature. This could mean things like glowing lanterns, artificial flowers and plants, or even requests for actors to use movement that mimics flight.

Significant Plot Props

  • Highlight Critical Plot Props: Props like the ‘love potion’ and the ‘donkey head’ are central to the storyline. Use these effectively to contribute to the comedy and magic of the play.

Character Reflective Props

  • Let Props Reflect Character: For instance, the “heaviness” of Hermia’s love for Lysander could be depicted by a prop - like a locket or other symbolic item.


  • All props should appear as part of a cohesive visual story, matching in style and tone to amplify the atmosphere of the play. For example, translucent, sparkling, or iridescent materials could be used extensively in the forest setting to keep the magical theme consistently present.

Period Consistency

  • Keep within the period: Avoid using contemporary items unless explicitly required for an unconventional adaptation.

Prop Usage

  • Usage of Props: Remember that props can be used dynamically to aid in storytelling, not just as static additions to the stage. For instance, the changes in Titania’s bower during the course of the play symbolizes the unraveling chaos in the fairy world.