MA Theatre Design

MA Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Arts is designed to support and further theatre design practice-based research. Students will develop the skills and attitude to become designers in establishes theatre and all its varied performance based disciplines.


Course Director

Michael Vale

Course Location

Wimbledon College of Arts, Merton Hall Road


Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year
Home/EU Fee

£8,250 per year (2016/17).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Use UAL’s fees and funding calculator as a guide to how much your studies may cost.

International Fee

£17,230 per year (2016/17).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Use UAL’s fees and funding calculator as a guide to how much your studies may cost.

Start DateOctober 2016
Autumn Term Dates10 October - 16 December 2016
Spring Term Dates3 January - 31 March 2017
Summer Term Dates18 April - 15 September 2017
Application DeadlineHome / EU - deadline of Monday 1 August has been extended. Places are still available for September 2016.
International - No deadline, but students are advised to apply as early as possible

Content and structure

Content: what students can expect

A previous BA in Theatre Design or a specifically theatre related course is not necessary when applying but you will be expected to exhibit a keen interest in performance design along with an independent art/design portfolio. 

During the course you will be expected to look at historical, current and developing forms of industrial practice in the fields of stage and costume design both practically (principally in the form of design projects) and theoretically (principally in the form of essays and a final dissertation) to form a distinctive view of your own position as a Theatre Designer while visiting tutors and professional theatre makers will encourage and stimulate you to look closely at your own practices. 

You will be taught and encouraged to develop model making, costume drawing and technical drawing skills as a way of presenting and communicating your ideas and designs, collaborating with at least one other postgraduate student director to practice and test your abilities to negotiate and communicate within and throughout the production process.  

A structured series of classes will also introduce you to a basic understanding of the developing role of digital technology in the field of Theatre Design. 

You will be required to maintain an online website to act as your on-going ‘notebook’ and research folio over the year which, on leaving the course, may eventually become the basis for your professional online CV.


Unit One

In Unit One students engage with the field of Theatre Design through researching practitioners past and present, to form a distinctive view of their position in the discipline. To support their work they'll have access to a wide range of expertise within the areas of scenic and costume design at Wimbledon College of Art.

Students will share opinions about bodies of generally held views and attitudes to Theatre Design in an attempt to reach a collective consensus or understood divergence. Synergies and differences between addressing bodies and spaces in digital and analogue contexts will be a focus for debate and provide a platform for discourse between both MA Theatre courses and the wider Postgraduate communities at Wimbledon and across the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Graduate School.

Unit Two

In Unit Two the course will structure a partnership between students and a Postgraduate director, choreographer or other theatre maker to practice and test their abilities to negotiate, collaborate and communicate at an advanced level.

All students will be expected to engage with each other’s ideas and proposals through periodic supportive group critiques and formative peer assessment targeted specifically at Units One and Two. Students will maintain a Research Folio on line that began in Unit One and develop a professional shop window for their ideas, including reviews of study visits to events and performance environments.

Unit Three

In Unit Three, students and their tutors will be asked to identify a professional mentor, who will both advise and challenge them when appropriate during your final self-motivated Research Project. Along with student tutors, mentors can monitor the work’s conception at an intermediate stage of development and provide an industry-based reaction to its sophistication and effectiveness within negotiated parameters.

Students will be expected to make a research-motivated experiment in either real or virtual space to underpin their work. Innovative impact-driven methods of documenting and presenting ideas will be encouraged for a final proposal, usually combining both web presence and an exhibition context.


Course Director - Michael Vale


  • Eddy Andres - Designer (Film) 
  • Sophie Charalambous - Theatre Design
  • Jane Collins - Director (Theatre)
  • Leni Diner Dotham - Fine Artist
  • Mauricio Elorriga - Theatre Design
  • Sophie Jump - Theatre Design
  • Dick Straker - Designer (Digital)
  • Michael Vale - Theatre Design


Our graduates develop and define their individual practices to progress within Theatre Design, which often leads them in different directions within the industry. Recent graduates have continued either as professionals or become leading creative innovators within theatre, while others have continued their studies with research degrees.

The course alumni are fully equipped to enter various industry competitions and schemes, such as the Linbury Prize for Stage Design or the RSC’s trainee scheme, while their involvement with national theatre collections and archives gives them the chance to identify museum curation or other forms of exhibition production as a career. 

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree in Theatre Design, Costume, Set or Lighting Design, Fine or Live Art, other forms of 3D Visual Design or making such Architecture or Interior Design
  • Study proposal
  • Portfolio of work
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration
  • IELTS level 6.5 or above if English isn’t their first language, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our English Language requirements)


Use UAL’s scholarship search to find out what funding may be available to you.

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Apply now

The Home / EU deadline of Monday 1 August has been extended. Places are still available for September 2016.

There is no deadline for international applications, but students are advised to apply as early as possible.

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires one reference).

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Study proposal

The study proposal is a statement of approximately 1,000 words describing your current practice. You should include links to referenced text or images where appropriate. It should also describe how you will develop a self-directed programme of work and related research whilst at Wimbledon College of Arts.

When writing your proposal you are not expected to have complete answers to all your questions.

However, you should be able to:

  • Examine your knowledge and experience in relation to your proposed project
  • Identify questions and areas that you do not know about
  • Demonstrate how you intend to tackle these questions and areas

How to structure a study proposal

Each of the following sections should be approximately 250 words.


  • Briefly describe your work
  • Outline recent developments
  • Identify those aspects you would like to take further at MA level


Describe specific areas, issues and critical ideas that are central to your area of interest.


  • How will you go about researching your area of interest?  
  • Are there particular methods you will use? For example - drawing, model making, photography etc.


Are there resources or equipment that you need to access in order for you to successfully engage in your research?


Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

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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