BA (Hons) Performance Design and Practice

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. In the final year you’ll shape your own individual project, anticipating your future in this diverse and expanding sector.

This course is part of the: Drama & Performance Programme.

Scholarships and Awards available:

Charlotte and Dennis Stevenson Awards
Foundation for Essex Arts Scholarships
Mead Scholarships and Fellowships

Making Up, Victoria & Albert Museum, May 2014
Film by Monica Alcazar-Duarte

BA Performance Design and Practice course highlights.

BA Performance Design and Practice collaboration with student choreographers and dancers from Central School of Ballet, London Studio Centre and Rambert School.

5 great reasons to apply

  • This course enables you to identify and locate your own direction and career aims within the broad discipline of performance design & practice, including designing, devising, writing and performing, in a number of different professional contexts including theatre, film and live art.
  • You'll have the opportunity to incorporate a work placement within the curriculum, (e.g. within organisations such as the National Theatre or TV companies, on specific events, or as an assistant to a designer or director). 
  • The course maintains active partnerships with key cultural institutions, practitioners, venues and commercial enterprises to introduce you to London's networks of creative practice.
  • You'll take part in a variety of ‘hands-on’ experiences, working within a professional collaboration, in order to realise your ideas in one of the colleges four unique performance spaces. 
  • The course has a long and distinguished heritage. Alumni include Maria Bjornson (Phantom of the Opera), Tim Hately (Spamalot), Alison Chitty (Mike Leigh films), Sandy Powell (The Young Victoria, Shakespeare in Love), and more recently Miriam Buether, Garance  Marneur, Gary Card, Ben Stones & Samal Blak. 


Course Leader

Fred Meller

Course Location

King’s Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

Study LevelUndergraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length3 years full time
Home/EU Fee

£9,000 per year (2016/17).

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

£17,230 per year (2016/17).

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateMonday 25 September 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 25 September - Friday 8 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January – Friday 16 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 16 April - Friday 22 June 2018
Application Route


Application DeadlineApplications for 2017/18 entry will close on 15 January 2017.
UCAS CodeW460
University CodeU65

Content and structure

BA Performance Design and Practice interprets performance design and practice in eclectic, cross-disciplinary contexts of contemporary arts including theatre, film, video and live art, challenging traditional territories and assumptions.

Distinctive features of the degree course include:

  • Includes an opportunity to take a one-year Diploma in Professional Studies between Stages 2 and 3, involving a 20-week work placement
  • Promotes experimental, investigative approaches to the event-performer-spectator dynamic and the conceptualisation of space and text, exploring their potential for performance through practical experience
  • Enables the pursuit of design, composition/directing and performing perspectives, together with a holistic approach to learning of integrated curriculum elements through live and college-based projects. Research, set design, costume, lighting, sound, project management, performance history and more are explored at increasing levels of directional choice
  • Has a strong emphasis on collaborative practice. Project work develops negotiation, management and team skills, often through activities with professional organisations and venues
  • Develops a wide range of specialist and transferable skills including research, planning, scale drawing, model making, documentation processes, reflective and evaluative writing, visual and verbal presentation
  • Progressively increases individual responsibility for learning and direction, offering the opportunity to choose emphasis and orientation of third year and final award towards theoretical research or practical career.


Course Leader: Fred Meller (Acting)

Lecturer: Peter Bond
Lecturer: Pete Brooks
Lecturer: Dermot Hayes
Lecturer: Fred Meller
Lecturer: Drew Pautz
Lecturer: Michael Spencer
Lecturer: Jake Strickland
Lecturer: Dr Andrea Zimmerman
Costume Technician: Jenny Hayton
Stage Technician: Steve Keay


BA Performance Design and Practice students leave with a broad and valuable understanding of performance practice in its many forms.

Skills acquired enable BA Performance Design and Practice graduates to become versatile practitioners in exciting and diverse contexts including theatre, film and television.

BA Performance Design and Practice students find success as production designers, or in related roles such as director or producer, or, increasingly, in 'hybrid' roles such as designer-director or performer-designer.

BA Performance Design and Practice graduates also apply their knowledge outside the traditional contexts, working within the fine art industry as performance artists or within the fashion industry as creative managers, video directors and fashion show designers. Or they launch their own independent collaborative ventures, creating performance in their own image.

Recent BA Performance Design and Practice alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of student activity within the subject:

  • Garance Marneur (2007): Winner of prestigious biannual Linbury Prize for Stage Design 2007. Recent design commissions: ‘Dirty Butterfly’ (Debera Tucker Green) Young Vic Theatre, London 2008; ‘Gianni Schicchi’ (Puccini), Mariinnsky theatre, St. Petersburg, 2008 ‘Turandot’ (Brecht), Hampstead Theatre, London 2009, currently designing for RSC Aut ’11 season
  • Will Bock, Georgia Jacobs and Mary Pope (2005): Formed ‘Strangeworks’ collective, creators of live performance events including ‘March of the Dead’ street performance for Halloween, Hoxton, London 2008, and drawing workshops at Tate Britain 2009 – 11
  • Jing Wong (2006): Co-founder of ‘Daydream Nation’, a company creating theatrical fashion events, including ‘Good Night Deer’ at the ICA Theatre, as part of London Fashion Week 2008
  • Samal Blak (2009): Winner of prestigious biannual Linbury Prize for Stage Design 2009. Design Commission ‘Otello’ (Verdi), Birmingham Opera, 2009
  • Jungmin Song (2007): Performance Artist making work at Shunt Vaults, Fierce Festival (Birmingham) and Spill Festival (2011)
  • Nick Docherty (2008): UK Youth Theatre coordinator for National Theatre, South Bank
  • Miriam Buether (2002): Recently awarded Best Design for work at the Royal Court – Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Designed ‘Anna Nicole’ for Royal Opera House – Feb 11
  • Ben Stones (2004): Winner of prestigious biannual Linbury Prize for Stage Design 2007, designs frequently in West End and most recently for newly re-opened Arcola Theatre, London.

Entry requirements

This degree course requires portfolio evidence

Selection is determined by the quality of the application, indicated primarily in your portfolio of work and written statements. A very high proportion of successful applicants complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. 

Applicants are normally expected to have achieved, or be expected to achieve, the course entry requirements detailed below:

  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • A pass in 1 GCE A level
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)

This educational level may be demonstrated by possession of equivalent qualifications; e.g. International Baccalaureat or High School Diploma.

Applicants may also be considered for portfolio review exceptionally if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence.  This might be

demonstrated by, for example: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

In such cases candidates would be expected to present a portfolio of equivalent standard to a one-year Foundation course in Art and Design and have achieved, or expect to achieve:

  • Passes in 2 GCE A Levels (80 UCAS tariff points normally including one single award)
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

International applicants can download the International Application For Admission PDF below:

What we look for

We're not just looking for a passion for performance - we're also seeking people who are open to new ideas and willing to get involved in the many different disciplines and practices of working in the professional field of performance.

Student selection criteria

We select applicants according to your potential and current ability to:

Work imaginatively and creatively in performance and visual media

  • Engage with experimentation and invention
  • Show imagination and ambition in proposals for your work.

Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities

  • Demonstrate spatial awareness
  • Show an understanding of narrative and time-based events
  • Use verbal and/or visual and/or physical media appropriately and effectively.

Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within your work

  • Demonstrate relevant research
  • Reflect critically on your learning.

Demonstrate cultural awareness and/or contextual framework of your work

  • Identify historical and contemporary performance practices
  • Identify social and/or cultural influences on your work.

Articulate and communicate intentions clearly

  • Discuss your work in group situations
  • Present your work appropriately and effectively.

Demonstrate commitment and motivation in relation to the subject and the degree course

  • Develop your own ideas and address project briefs
  • Show willingness to collaborate
  • Reflect your knowledge of this degree course.

Portfolio and interview advice

Your work should demonstrate creative development, whether for a college project or in your personal work. By creative development, we mean ideas that have originated in your own experience and research and progressed towards potential visualisation. Ideas, visual research and experimentation are more important than finished design solutions and can be shown in 2D work, in made objects or through recorded moving image and live events. It's important that the creative work you include reflects and demonstrates your thinking, initiative and personal commitment to a particular project, theme or idea.

Both through your work and in talking to you at interview we're interested in you as an individual. Our focus is on your personal interests, your creativity and your initiative in finding out about your proposed area of study. We'd like to know about your favourite performers, directors, designers and artists, where you've seen their work at first hand, and how you've gathered more information about the work that interests you.

Before your interview we recommend you read some play scripts and books about theatre - for example 'The Empty Space' by Peter Brook. You should also try to see a cross-section of live performances - for example, West End productions, repertory, experimental or pub theatre, live art, community theatre or street performances.
As part of the application process you'll be asked to submit an 'interview project' designed to demonstrate your initial approach to design for performance. The brief for this project will be sent to you when you are invited for interview.

If you do not have a body of performance related or visual work to present, there is an option to complete a project set by the course prior to interview. This ‘interview project’ gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your initial approach to design for performance. When considering your application, if the course feels it will be helpful for you to complete this project, the brief and guidance will be sent to you when you are invited for interview. The interview project is designed to be completed without access to any special facilities or equipment.


2017/18 entry

Home / EU applicants

Apply to BA Performance Design and Practice through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website. From the UCAS home page go to 'Apply', where you’ll be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form.

The University UCAS code is UAL. The University code is U65. The course code is W460 BA/PDP.

International applicants

If you are from outside the European Union, you have three options to apply for undergraduate courses:

  • Apply through UCAS
  • Apply directly to Central Saint Martins. Choose this option if you are only applying to undergraduate courses at UAL. (Application form below)
  • Apply through one of our overseas representatives.

Visit the undergraduate application page for full details of these options.

If applying direct to Central Saint Martins, please complete the form below and sent it along with copies of supporting documents (such as previous qualifications / references) by mail to: International Office, Central Saint Martins, The Granary Building, Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA, UK.

International Undergraduate application form [PDF, 185 KB]

Study Abroad

For information on applying to Study Abroad please visit the Study Abroad section.

We're here to help

Our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please fill out our course enquiry form.

The University has a dedicated team to help prepare you for your studies. For help on visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section.

The Language Centre offers international students quality language training from qualified and experienced teachers. The Pre-sessional Academic English Programme is available to all international (non-EU) students who have been offered a place on a full time course at the University of the Arts. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

We also offer a number of short courses that enable students to improve their portfolios and English skills before applying to their chosen course. For further information visit our Short Course section.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

What happens next?

Home/EU applicants

All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed under What We Look For. Depending on the quality of your application, you may then be invited to submit a portfolio.

When you attend with your full portfolio, your application may be successful, you may be invited to interview in order to clarify any aspect of your application or your work, which is not evident from the material submitted, or you may be rejected.

Selection is conducted by two members of staff and offers of places are made on the basis of the selection criteria. Notes are kept in relation to decisions made following the interview process.

Please note that if you are unable to attend the portfolio review the College may not be able to re-schedule.

International applicants

When you have submitted your application you will be asked to upload a portfolio containing a number of images of your work for consideration.

Your portfolio should contain up to 30 images of artwork. Include images from sketchbooks, rough work and finished pieces. Show us the development of your ideas and your research and arrange the images so that the admissions tutors can easily follow how you developed your ideas from initial research through to the finished piece.

Receiving results of your application

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS track.

If you made a direct application, the result will be emailed or sent by post.

If you applied through one of our overseas representatives, they will tell you the result of your application.

Course related events

The White Box Project

Six famous paintings provide the catalyst for six short fragments of performance – what happened in the moments leading up to the moment of the painting. Designed by second year BA PDP students, directed by second year Drama Centre London BA Directing students and performed by DCL MA Acting students. Presented as one event.

'Hidden' - London Sinfonietta Collaboration

A series of short performances based on original compositions from young composers sponsored by London Sinfonietta Orchestra, and played by soloists from the orchestra. London Sinfonietta are one of Europe’s most prestigious contemporary music orchestras. Designed, directed, performed, lit and constructed by 2nd year PDP students.

'Hidden' - London Sinfonietta Collaboration

A series of short performances based on original compositions from young composers sponsored by London Sinfonietta Orchestra, and played by soloists from the orchestra. London Sinfonietta are one of Europe’s most prestigious contemporary music orchestras. Designed, directed, performed, lit and constructed by 2nd year PDP students.

  • 8 December 2013
  • Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank
  • Tickets available from the London Sinfonietta website

English Pocket Opera Co. Collaboration - this year based on Gluck's opera 'Orfeus and Eurydice'

Designed by 3rd year students from the course in collaboration with English Pocket Opera Co. and professional singers.  A short opera featuring excerpts from Gluck’s classic work is devised for a performance incorporating a physical ‘journey’ for the audience between each excerpt. 

  • 20-25 January 2014
  • Platform Theatre, Studio Theatre and environs at Central Saint Martins, King's Cross
  • Ticket prices tbc, available from Platform Theatre Box Office

The Design for Dance Collaboration

15 original pieces presented in one programme of dance, developed in workshops and designed by 2nd year BA PDP students in collaboration with student dancers & choreographers from leading London Dance Schools. Participating Schools: London Studio Centre, Central School of Ballet & Rambert School.

  • 4 March 2014 and 6-8 March 2014 (tbc)
  • Platform Theatre at Central Saint Martins, King's Cross
  • Ticket prices tbc, available from Platform Theatre Box Office

Dance Lab

Each week for 4 weeks, different groups of choreographers & dancers from the London Studio Centre work with small groups of 2nd year BA PDP students (and exchange students from Ohio University, USA,) to explore a shared theme through the media of dance. No parameters. The work created throughout the week is informally presented on the Friday afternoon of each week.

Classic Comedy Project

3rd year PDP students design fragments of a classic comedy text performed as part of the DCL MA Acting course. The design is period costume based.

  • Week beginning 17 March 2014 (repeat performances and times tbc)
  • Studio Theatre at Central Saint Martins, King's Cross
  • Tickets free, please email for more details

 Practice Exchange

3rd year BA PDP students in collaboration with students from CSM BA Fine Art, CSM Moving Image & LCC Sound Design (tbc) devise short pieces of performance based on variety of self-initiated texts/themes to create a sustained performance event.

  • 8-9 May 2014
  • Platform Theatre & Studio Theatre at Central Saint Martins, King's Cross
  • Ticket prices tbc, available from Platform Theatre Box Office


Six pairs of collaborators, each consisting of one 3rd year BA PDP student and one 3rd year DCL BA Directing student, create six ‘Fringe Theatre’ scale plays.

  • 22-23 May 2014 (repeat performances and times tbc)
  • Studio Theatre at Central Saint Martins, King's Cross
  • Tickets free from Platform Theatre Box Office


A series of short 10 minute films created by 3rd year BA PDP students (all on the theme of ‘Noah’s Ark/The Flood’) are screened.

Degree Show Exhibition

A selection of current 3rd year PDP work & live performances.

  • Mid June 2014
  • Venue/dates/times tbc



Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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2015 Degree Show Catalogue

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