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.
Many of the 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
The following institutions support SBTD through their Institutional Membership, which gives their courses and staff access to SBTD resources.
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 Central Saint Martins
BA (Hons) Performance: Design and Practice
The BA Performance: Design and Practice is an interdisciplinary performance course for students developing both live and screen-based performance practices. Challenging assumptions and territories, this course explores theatre, film, video and live art. It emphasises collaborative practice, instilling a strong set of specialist and transferable skills.
It encourages an experimental, cross-disciplinary and design-led methods while developing technical and practical tools in scenography, dramaturgy and movement.
Our student body and teaching team come from a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds. As a community, we are deeply committed to the idea that diverse environments are the most vibrant creatively and we actively celebrate difference. As a course, we encourage creative risk-taking by cultivating a supportive and accepting environment in which unique individual and collective perspectives can develop. We believe in the potential for performance to change the society in which we all live.
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.
BA (Hons) Theatre (Design and Production)
The Theatre Design pathway at Middlesex University has a long tradition of equipping students with a wide range of theatre-making and production skills, empowering them to put their creative ideas into action. We offer specialist teaching and facilities for set, costume, sound, lighting, video and digital design. Students get hands-on with the key processes and principles of stagecraft in our cutting-edge spaces in London and with a range of industry partners in and beyond London, as well as engaging with a diverse range of critical, cultural and historical perspectives on theatre as a live art form. We also provide a strong focus on key entrepreneurial and administrative skills required for a career in the creative industries, equipping students not only to find work but also to affect change as artists and citizens. https://www.mdx.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/theatre-design-production
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.The range of public productions Mountview produces gives a vast array of learning opportunities.
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.
Northern School of Art
BA (Hons) Production Design for Stage and Screen
BA (Hons) Costume Interpretation with Design
Our BA (Hons) degree in Production Design for Stage and Screen gives students the skills required of professionals working in this exciting industry.
The BA (Hons) Costume Interpretation with Design degree is set in the thriving filming locations of the North East with great links to industry leaders in costume.
Arts University Plymouth
BA (Hons) Costume Production
From script to character realisation you will develop your practical and design skills for costume in performance.The unique combination of research study, technical skills and opportunities to experience the industry at first hand, will give you a creative and robust academic training.In dedicated studio workshops you will develop the most sougth after production skills, costume interpretaiton pattern cutting and wearable prop techniques and also benefit from masterclasses led by experts in speciaslt areas such as millinery and costume enhancement.
University of the Creative Arts, Farnham
BA (Hons) Design for Theatre and Screen
Our exciting BA (Hons) Design for Theatre and Screen course will support you in creating dynamic environments, costumes and props for the stage and for screen.
You will learn the essential skills needed for the entire creative process, from design into making. As you progress through the course, you will put those skills into practice as you take part in work placements and collaborative projects.
Gaining a deeper understanding of the discipline, you will learn about the history and theory of theatre and film arts, underpinned by art and design history.
The course is based at UCA Farnham where the arts are threaded through everything we do.
Our students have the freedom and confidence to fully immerse themselves in their passions and grow both as practitioners and people.
BA Theatre (Design)
The Theatre Design pathway at Middlesex University has a long tradition of equipping students with a wide range of theatre-making and production skills, empowering them to put their creative ideas into action. We offer specialist teaching and facilities for set, costume, sound, lighting, video and digital design. Students get hands-on with the key processes and principles of stagecraft in our cutting-edge spaces in London and with a range of industry partners in and beyond London, as well as engaging with a diverse range of critical, cultural and historical perspectives on theatre as a live art form. We also provide a strong focus on key entrepreneurial and administrative skills required for a career in the creative industries, equipping students not only to find work but also to affect change as artists and citizens.
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
3-year undergraduate Honours degree
This undergraduate degree provides the specialist skills required to work in the production industries. A range of specialisation options are available in the final year including scenic construction, prop-making and scenic crafts, film production, lighting and electrics, sound, and stage management.