• CollegeWimbledon
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length3 years
  • UCAS codeW463

BA (Hons) Theatre Design

The BA Theatre Design course at Wimbledon College of Arts covers both set and costume design.

We prepare our students to enter the world of contemporary theatre and performance design with the skills, knowledge and sensibilities that professional designers require. The rich mix of practice and theory that each student will encounter on the course ensures that experimentation and critical thinking are equally valued. This enables our students to produce inventive and imaginative design work underpinned by strong practical skills.

Student video work

Divided event - BA Theatre Design students worked with choreographers from The Place’s youth dance company, Shift.

Course detail

What is a theatre designer?

A theatre designer is responsible for designing the space in which the performance takes place and the costumes that the performers wear. This includes the set, props and costumes, but can also encompass sound, lighting and other digital aspects. 

What skills does a theatre designer need?

As well as having a range of practical skills designers must be confident communicators and collaborators. They must be resourceful, imaginative, self-assured and good problem solvers. 

Content: what students can expect

  • To focus on different aspects of theatre and performance design practice - interpretation of text, perception of character, dramatic space, the designer’s role within the creative team as well as working on live shows with performers
  • Teaching from a core team of permanent staff, who are all practicing theatre and performance designers, as well as tuition from a wide range of freelance theatre-makers
  • To be guided through a broad range of skills and technical areas, including; computer-aided design, costume construction, costume drawing, fabric dyeing, lighting, metal and wood workshop, recorded digital arts for live performance, scaled precision model-making, sound, story boarding for live performance and technical drafting
  • An on-going contextual studies programme that builds our students’ knowledge and helps develop their critical understanding of the changing culture of theatre, film and the visual arts
  • Collaborative projects with both drama and dance programmes in other universities and institutions, including The Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London Contemporary Dance School, MA Directing at Birkbeck and BA Contemporary Theatre Practice at East 15 Acting School
  • To build a strong network of theatre-makers through collaborative projects
  • To explore the relationship between drawing and performance
  • The chance to get involved in Wimbledon’s annual Acts Re-Acts Festival, which combines performance and fine art
  • To engage with a rich mix of ideas, events, discussions and performances through exposure to Wimbledon’s complementary fine art programme
  • To have access to Wimbledon's shared workshops. View the Wimbledon facilities section

Structure

Year 1 

  • Unit 1: Introduction to study in theatre and screen
  • Unit 2: Designing and making - the principles of practice
  • Unit 3: Designing and making - extending the skill set 
  • Unit 4: Looking at ideas - debates in the discipline
  • Unit 5: Who are you? Establishing a specialism

Year 2

  • Unit 6: Collaboration and its’ connections
  • Unit 7: Practice as a laboratory
  • Unit 8: You think what? How to research and review work
  • Unit 9: Where in the world? My specialism in context 
  • Unit 10: Where in the world? Extending skills

Year 3 

  • Unit 11: Finding your voice - portfolio design, crafting research skills and career planning 
  • Unit 12: Show your work - independent practice

Work experience and opportunities

Students gain production experience on the course with our professional practitioners, as well as through specialist work placements with companies or individuals.

Our students also have the chance to collaborate with established and emerging choreographers and directors designing sets and costume for a wide variety of realised performances including, dance, plays, opera, site-specific theatre and new writing projects.

Students can also study abroad in their second year as part of the college’s Erasmus scheme.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Assessments
  • Briefings
  • Collaboration
  • Exhibition preparation
  • Feedback - written and oral
  • Film screenings
  • Group and individual tutorials
  • Group work and crits
  • Guided readings
  • Independent study
  • Lectures
  • Online learning
  • Orientations and inductions
  • Peer review
  • Practical work
  • Presentations
  • Project work
  • Research - individual and group
  • Seminars
  • Study partners and groups
  • Visits and trips
  • Work placements
  • Workshops

Assessment methods

  • Essays
  • Induction sheets
  • Presentations
  • Project logbooks and work
  • Reflective journals
  • Research portfolios and tasks
  • Self-evaluation
  • Written assignments

 

Facilities

  • Wimbledon theatre.
    Jim Stephenson.

    Theatre

    View images of and find out more about our theatre

  • 3D Workshops

    View images of and find out more about our 3D workshops

  • Digital workshop at Wimbledon.
    Kristy Noble.

    Digital Media Centre

    Find out more about our digital media centre

Staff

  • Lucy Algar - Course Leader
  • Matt Deely - Lecturer, Designer, Auto CAD and model making specialist 
  • Peter Farley - Designer

Visiting Staff

  • Dan Bird - Director
  • Jane Collins - Professor of Theatre and Performance
  • Mauricio Elorriaga - Designer, technical drawing tutor and model maker
  • Pamela Howard - Designer
  • Rob Howell - Designer
  • Sophie Jump - Designer
  • Glen Neath - Director and writer
  • James Perkins - Designer
  • Uri Roodner - Theatre Director
  • Vivian Sendall - Scene painter
  • Sjef Tilly - Designer

How to apply

Home / EU applicants

You must apply through UCAS, where you’ll need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W463

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) application deadline is 15 January.

Following your UCAS application to this course all home / EU applicants will be invited to choose a date for a selection event. 

What is a selection event?

A selection event is similar to an interview. You will be expected to bring your portfolio, which will be reviewed by course teams. The event will also give you a chance to meet current students, take a tour of the college and see the facilities.

More details about your selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen your selection event date.

Applicants will be seen by a team of Theatre and Screen tutors. Applicants may be offered a place on an alternative BA Theatre and Screen course at Wimbledon. This decision will be based on our assessment of an applicants' creative potential and interests.

International applicants

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Wimbledon College of Arts:

Find out more information about applying through UCAS.

Interviews and portfolio reviews - international students can be interviewed in a number of different ways: 

  • By phone or Skype
  • In your country, if your application was made though one of our official representatives 
  • At our international office based at Chelsea College of Arts

Study Abroad

Through the Study Abroad programme international students can apply to join an undergraduate course. 

For information on how to apply visit the Study Abroad section.

Entry requirements

We select students based on the quality of their applications, looking primarily at their portfolio of work and personal statements.

Applicants will have, or are expected to achieve, either:

  • A Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • 1 GCE A Level
  • 3 GCSEs grade C or above

or

  • BTEC Extended Diploma or NVQ Level 3
  • 3 GCSEs grade C or above

or

  • University of the Arts London level 3 Pre-University Diploma and Extended Diploma in Art and Design
  • 4 GCSEs grade C or above

or

  • International Baccalaureate Diploma pass achieved at 28 points or above 
  • An equivalent level of performance in other internationally recognised national school leaving or university entrance qualifications

or

  • Other evidence of prior learning and experience via Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning - AP(E)L and / or alternative qualifications assessed as offering the same level as the above requirements 

In exceptional circumstances, applicants may be considered if they present a portfolio of equivalent standard to a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and have:

  • 2 GCE A Levels
  • 3 GCSEs grade C or above

Where conditional offers are made to GCE A Level applicants these will normally be at grade C or above.

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Portfolio advice

Portfolios should show the following:

  • A range of visual recording, such as drawing, life drawing and photography
  • Experimentation which demonstrates idea generation and development
  • Visual work which uses form, structure, colour, texture and space
  • Design development showing how problems are solved
  • Previous experience of theatre work
  • Sketchbooks and notebooks

At interview and portfolio review

We look for:

  • An interest, commitment and motivation for studying the subject
  • An ability to work imaginatively and creatively in 2D and 3D visual media, materials and processes
  • An ability to create, investigate and develop ideas independently
  • An ability to communicate your ideas visually, verbally and in writing
  • Potential for creative problem solving
  • An ability to self-direct and evaluate your own work
  • An ability to engage with the idea of character in the context of a dramatic situation
  • Visual awareness and an understanding of the creative process
  • Cultural and historical awareness of theatre design and performance
  • Motivation for working in theatre related industries
  • A desire to learn and succeed 

Deferred entry

This course will give consideration to deferred entry application.

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£9,250 (2017/18). 

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2017/18 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£17,920 (2017/18).

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

BA Theatre Design graduates progress into a wide range of roles within the field of theatre and performance.

As well as working as designers in television and film production, production managers and scenic artists our graduates work in site-specific theatre, opera, musicals, music concerts, festivals and animation. 

They also possess a range of skills, which enable them to transfer into other areas such as further academic study, exhibition and retail design.

Course alumni have been both finalists and winners of the Linbury Prize for stage design, progressing to being BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning designers with the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and the BBC. They have also exhibited at World Stage Design.

Alumni

  • Sarah Greenwood - four times Oscar nominated and BAFTA winning production designer for films including Atonement, Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes
  • David Harris - Associate Designer for Cameron Macintosh's Les Misérables
  • Richard Hudson - Set designer for The Lion King
  • Ann Maskrey - Costume designer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland
  • Edward Thomas - BAFTA winning production designer who has worked on Dr Who and Torchwood
  • Cécile Trémolières - Freelance set and costume designer. Finalist of the Linbury Prize Stage Design (2013). Awarded the Royal Opera House Linbury bursary (2015)