Sandra J. Strawn

  • Associate Professor Emerita, Theatre, Technical Production


Sandra J. Strawn, professor emeritus (2017)

  • Head of Technical Production
  • Scenic and Properties Designer
  • Stage Properties and Costume Crafts

As a designer, properties artisan, and scenic artist, Ms. Strawn enjoyed nearly five decades of professional theatre experience. Ms. Strawn was the Resident Properties Master for Actors Theatre of Louisville (ATL) for six seasons and over three hundred productions, including the premier productions of Agnes of God, Crimes of the Heart, Extremities, Lone Star, Gin Game, and Getting Out.  She was the Lead Properties Artisan for Milwaukee Repertory Theatre (MRT) for five seasons and enjoyed summer prop work at Utah Shakespeare Festival and with the Penn. State Festival Players.  Her production company, Prop Pros, created scenery and props for corporate galas, industrial photographers, Milwaukee’s ethnic festivals and local theatre companies.

Professional design credits include Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Northern Stage Company, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Renaissance Theatreworks, First Stage Milwaukee and summer seasons at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre and Music Under the Stars (Milwaukee).  She also designed for dance, including Outside Looking In and Robe of Love for UWM’s dance department and Firebird for Milwaukee Ballet. 

At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Ms Strawn was Head of Technical Production for over two decades while leading the properties production and design training, Her scenic designs graced the UWM Main Stage and blackbox theatre each season,  from new plays to classics of Shakespeare and the American canon,  She lead the properties shop as the Properties Director on hundreds of productions and taught classes in properties production, career development, and design spanning her twenty-seven years of teaching, Her book, published by Focal Press (2013), The Properties Director’s Handbook, explored the process of running a prop shop and is now used by numerous universities to teach properties production management.  Her follow-up book, The Properties Director’s Toolkit, (Focal Press (2018) expanded on and updated the first edition Handbook and additionally covered film, production arts, and opera properties production.

Following retirement, Ms Strawn completed her research and writing on the design biography of Paul Owen, renowned American resident theatre scenic designer. Her book, PAUL OWEN, A Lifetime of Designing Resident Theatre in America, was published in 2022 by the Wein Press, Columbia, MO.  Ms Strawn was nominated for the United States Institute of Theatre Technology’s Oscar G. Brockett Golden Pen award in 2023 for scholarly research and critical thinking in the presentation of the work and methodology of exceptional practitioners for theatrical arts and/or crafts.

Recent Work