The range of degree courses in performance design offered at both undergraduate and post-graduate level in the UK is greater than anywhere else in the world.
As our working practices change and evolve, so do our courses.
We are seeing the borders between theatre, film, television, live events and virtual practices dissolve and blend. We are also seeing designers in training being encouraged to initiate their own projects and companies.
Every course offers a different blend. It’s important to research thoroughly to find the one that is right for you.
All courses listed here belong to the Performance Design Education Collective (PDEC) www.pdec.org.uk, meeting regularly to share knowledge and resources in teaching and learning.
SBTD Institutional Members
University of Derby
BA (Hons) Theatre Design
Derby Theatre will be your ‘home’, offering you valuable industry experience and contacts. This course is unique; no other university level course is housed in a producing theatre. You will be at the centre of this professional environment.
Guildhall School of Music and Drama
BA (Hons) Produciton Arts
The Production Arts undergraduate programme equips you with the skills you need to succeed in the professional arts industry, with graduates going on to work in theatre, events, television and film. We strongly believe that your training should be tailored to your individual career aims.
For this reason, you will select one of four pathways, each with a different emphasis:
- Stage Management
- Theatre Technology (Sound, Lighting, Video, Automation and Stage Technology)
- Design Realisation (Scenic Art, Scenic Construction and Prop Making)
Within each pathway you can study elements of the other three. For example, if you want to learn about props and scenery construction but retain an interest in lighting, or gain experience in sound while focusing mainly on stage management, you can choose accordingly. The programme is flexible enough to allow for a wide range of interests, or a more specialised approach.
Rose Bruford College
BA (Hons) Design for Theatre and Performance
The Theatre Design course offers a highly creative preparation for a successful career in theatre and associated live and recorded performance events. You will experience the total design process from the initial creative dialogue, through visualisation to full performance.
Placing equal emphasis on costume and set design, you will learn to respond visually and creatively to stimuli ranging from text and character to music, physicality and time. The course will also develop your professional awareness and understanding of the responsibilities of the designer through a comprehensive programme of classes, projects and public performances.
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
BA (Hons) Design for Performance
RWCMD is a world leader in the training of designers for performance. The Design department offers immersive, hands-on practical training for students wanting to work across the theatre, event, film and television industries.
RWCMD’s courses offer intensive training across set design and construction, costume design and construction, prop making, model making, computer aided design, and puppetry. At postgraduate level, students can choose specialist pathways in design for set, costume, lighting, sound, or video.
UAL London College of Fashion
BA (Hons) Costume for Performance
This course offers a holistic approach to the study of costume. This course is for students who are interested in designing and making. This comprises physical and digital ways of designing and creating for live theatre, dance, film, and television, as well as more specialised performances.
We nurture every student’s distinctive voice, teaching them how to embrace challenge and how to lead their professional field with cutting-edge approaches across all channels: live, broadcast, digital, interactive, experiential and experimental. Through specialist research and collaborative work, we empower our students to think differently by combining traditional and digital techniques in design and costume-making that result in creative and sustainable practices that improve the way we work and live.
UAL Wimbledon College of Arts
BA (Hons) Theatre Design
BA Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Arts focuses on set and costume design. The course also introduces you to other areas of design for performance such as video projection, lighting and sound design. You will gain the practical and conceptual skills required by today’s professional designers. We prepare you to work in live events, contemporary theatre and performance design.
Nottingham Trent University
BA (Hons) Design for Stage and Screen (Design for Theatre and Live Performance)
Explore all aspects of contemporary design practice for theatre and the live performance, including set and costume design; construction; digital technologies and design; lighting design and audio visual; site-specific design; puppetry; heritage installation; and design for community and education. The course is facilitated by the highly skilled team of staff and technicians who have years of professional and academic knowledge.
Royal Central School of Speech & Drama
BA (Hons) Design for Performance
The course develops practitioners with a strong sense of direction and identity, and an ability to think conceptually. From the first year you undertake speculative design projects that will challenge and test ideas in a broad range of performance contexts, from text-based drama to opera, dance, site-specific performance and installations, under the guidance of professional directors, designers and choreographers.
University of Wales, Trinity Saint David
BA Set Design and Production
The BA Theatre Design & Production degree is a practical, hands-on programme designed to build upon a broad foundation of production skills, right through to producing performances and events.
The course enables you to explore, design and create exciting new work alongside industry professionals.
The key principle of the degree is developing students who have a well-rounded and solid knowledge base, are skilled in more than one area and ready to engage in the wider performance sector.
Throughout the degree, there is flexibility to allow you to specialise and explore your own pathway. Offering a variety of work placement opportunities, study abroad and projects to make sure you get the experience and the support into employment you want.
FdA/BA (Hons) Top-up in Scenic Art and Prop Making
Scenic Arts have been an essential part of Mountview’s production arts training for 40 years.Two programmes offer specialist vocational training in scenic art and prop making for theatre, film, TV and related industries such as theming and heritage.
A two-year Foundation Degree (FdA) in Scenic Art and Prop Making provides a fast-track training, and a one-year top-up allows FdA graduates to gain a BA (Hons).
The range of public productions Mountview produces gives a vast array of learning opportunities.
The FdA programme places a strong emphasis on developing specialist crafts and practical problem solving. You’ll learn a range of skills and processes from traditional and established methods and materials to new and future-facing technologies. The course encourages strong links with the industry and opportunities for work-based learning.
As an FdA graduate you will be prepared to enter the workplace, with a broad range of skills making you highly employable.
A BA (Hons) top-up year allows you to explore more advanced creative and management roles. You will take on a minimum of two major roles on productions through the year. A specialist research project requires you to apply advanced research skills to extend knowledge in a particular area of interest.
Strong emphasis is placed on learning through practice, and the majority of work across all the modules is continuously assessed. Skills modules will be assessed through coursework and practice modules through assessment of production roles.