“I always wanted to make art,” says Annette Breazeale. And make art she does, whether she’s creating masks, whipping up a dinner of fake horse meat for actors playing slaves, draping candles in 1930s nightclub-style red netting or producing a vintage newspaper. As propmaster for Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Breazeale, a former museum conservator, also haunts scores of stores (“I know every thrift shop like the back of my hand”), looking for pitch-perfect furniture, accessories and materials. Months before the performance, she starts researching, strategizing and spending hundreds of hours on trial-and-error creations. She’s also had to outfit an entire set in 18 hours, when a director decided to insert a new scene the day before opening night. And if she’s successful, she says, the audience will never notice any of her work: “You shouldn’t notice anything! It should all fit in perfectly.” 

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Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

Theater 1012 N. Orange Ave.

Now 17 years old, this company produces musicals, dramas and comedies related to the African-American experience.