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Postgraduate

MA Theatre and Performance Design

Set design drawing by Tianyu Bian of stage with doorways and windows on each side with people in them with a blue bed like structure at centre of stage with a person lying down.
Tianyu Bian,
, Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL
College
Wimbledon College of Arts
Start date
September 2022
Course length
15 months (full time)

MA Theatre and Performance Design at Wimbledon College of Arts invites you to engage with contemporary ideas and research within the field of theatre, performance and entertainment, and will prepare you for the continually evolving nature of the industry.

Stories

  • Speculative stage design for The Prodigy at Wembley Stadium. By: Yoav Segal
    Introducing: Michael Vale, Course Leader

    Theatre designer Michael Vale on how the new MA course at Wimbledon will prepare students for the evolving nature of the industry.

  • Photo of 2 Ultimaker 3D printers.
    Guy Sie,
    , Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL
    Thoughts on performance: Tools

    How can tools be used in the performance process to spark ideas? Artists Forster and Heighes reflect on this question.

Course overview

MA Theatre and Performance Design offers you studio-based vocational training. As a freelance theatre and production designer the course will develop your skills and approach to collaboration, technology and storytelling.

Theatre is unquestionably a collaborative art form and, as such, collaboration lies at the heart of each project on this course, whether& speculative or realised.

You will be immersed in the collaborative nature of theatre and performance practice, where theatre refers to every form of live performance which exists in the long history of storytelling. You will have the opportunity to build ideas, proposals and events with other makers.

The course will train you to become a theatre and production designer who makes dynamic, innovative environments that connect your audience to the performance. We will prepare you to contribute to the continuing development of the performance space as a place for social interaction and debate.

You will explore the production techniques and methods, both historical and contemporary, as employed by designers working in industry, to express the content of a live performance.

With a strong emphasis on live, real-time performance, you will learn skills related to organising and developing effective models for delivery. You will encounter performance design and fabrication techniques, as practiced in industry, to enhance your understanding of design and production processes.  Advanced techniques and research ideas will build upon your vocational training. These will encourage transdisciplinary, practical approaches to creating potential future theatres of practice.      

What to expect

  • To apply the skills and knowledge that support your practice to work across a wide range of disciplines, contexts and partnerships as practiced in the sector
  • Learn to identify and critique influences, traditions and cultures that make up and impact upon artistic endeavours
  • Seminars that develop a critical awareness of the landscapes of cultural production
  • Develop your own way of asking questions, researching and solving problems in a professional, historical and social context
  • Take part in a cross-course, mediated, ensemble design with your peers
  • To investigate, and where possible, establish a partnership with a professional mentor
  • To develop and present a final creative event project based on an area of personal research and interest
  • To produce a research dissertation
  • To have access to online and print resources from all 6 colleges of UAL colleges
  • Dedicated course support from a librarian at Wimbledon College of Arts. View the library services  
  • Access to Wimbledons shared workshops. View the Wimbledon facilities   

Key elements introduced to students on the course:

  • Skills in model making, technical and costume drawing techniques as a way of presenting and communicating ideas and designs
  • Historical, current and developing forms of practice and production within live performance, stage and costume design
  • Methods to catalogue design work through notebooks and sketchbooks
  • Illustrating research and design processes digitally
  • The performer/audience relationship
  • Collaborative skills to develop abilities to negotiate and communicate throughout the production process
  • Understanding the developing role of digital technology in theatre and production design
  • Approaches to responsive and immersive spaces and objects
  • New media and expanded technologies for performance
  • Researching associated partnerships and collaborations needed for effective project delivery
  • Transferable skills and knowledge applied to wider communities of practice

Mode of study

MA Theatre and Performance Design is offered in full-time mode and runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.

Contact us

For queries relating to the Coronavirus outbreak, read our Coronavirus guidance for prospective students.

To register your interest and receive information and updates about studying at UAL, please complete this form.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for or to ask a question, please contact us.

Course units

Unit 1: Methods    

You will investigate and form a distinctive view of the discipline by using creative research skills.    

  • Research skills will be supported by seminars setting out the field and parameters of research in this area to develop a critical awareness of the landscapes of cultural production  
  • You will create speculative design proposals using established industry tools to convey design ideas   
  • The project will be structured to emulate a professional commission and require you to apply and test your research interests  
  • You may also take part in a collaborative project with your peer group. This will end in a short, realised performance (live or virtual)  
  • Opportunities to explore technical software to promote idea-generation, problem solving, communication and dissemination  

 Unit 2: Practice    

You will develop practical research methods to facilitate design proposal ideas.  

  • Research methods will assist you in identifying the practical means necessary for bringing a proposal to completion through collaboration with other theatre professionals     
  • You will focus on the relationships between different theatre skills when addressing a specific narrative     
  • Creative research skills will help you focus on specific areas of enquiry that challenge the discourses identified in the field of practice   

Unit 3: Collaboration    

This unit will develop your collaborative practice. You will build ideas, proposals and events with other theatre and performance makers and produce an ensemble design with peers.   

The unit will extend the scale, scope and ambition of your practice and ideas.  

  • Outcomes will be presented in the form of drawings, sketches, an optional 3D scale model and/or any appropriate digital form, prototype models and/or any appropriate form of evidence  
  • You will focus on the critical scope of your practice to identify an area of personal research and interest. This research focus will be the foundation for a Final Design Project in unit 4. It may also inform the subject for a final creative research skill project in the form of a dissertation  
  • You will be encouraged to investigate and, where possible, establish a partnership with an appropriate professional mentor   
  • Crits, peer review and active dialogue will help the development of your practice and research 

Unit 4: Realisation    

You will complete a self-directed Final Design Project which has been explored through research during previous units.

  • You  will refine a principal area of exploration that motivates the final design project and then construct appropriate ways to present it   
  • The final project will be  realised  and exhibited in an agreed  professional  format,  that may also include any other work produced throughout the year  
  • You  will produce an advanced,  scholarly piece of research as a dissertation   
  • If established,  your  professional mentor may assist and critique the ideas for  your  Final Design Project, monitor  your  progress at a mid-stage, locate its significance within the wider research field and provide an industry-based reaction  on  its effectiveness 
  • Your Final Design Project may be realised using an appropriate practical  experiment. Documented  evidence of this and any other preparatory work will be a key component  in t he presentation  of  your Final  Design Project 

Note: 120 credits must be passed before the final unit is undertaken.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Artist and professional practice talks   
  • Creative research skills, presentation of research and writing  
  • Design of a learning agreement  
  • Documentation and dissemination of a project 
  • Group discussions, crits, seminars and tutorials
  • Independent practice and self-directed research methods   
  • Lectures  
  • Negotiation and development of a design proposal  
  • Planning for a formal presentation of a design proposal  
  • Production planning meetings with tutors and technical staff  
  • Project related professional discussion or collaboration  
  • Workshops and inductions  

Assessment methods

  • Case studies, business reports, reviews  
  • Collaborative group work  
  • Dissertation  
  • Practice-based assessment (including the development of experimental design/prototypes) or speculative proposals
  • Peer assessment    
  • Presentations  
  • Reflective statements
  • Research journals evidencing practice   
  • Self-directed projects

Staff

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are: 

  • BA (Hons) degree or equivalent academic qualifications 
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration 
  • Personal statement 
  • Portfolio of work 

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your portfolio of work and personal statement. 

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning 

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by: 

  • Related academic or work experience 
  • The quality of the personal statement 
  • A strong academic or other professional reference 
  • A combination of these factors 

Each application will be considered on its own merit, but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case. 

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: 

Selection criteria

We look for: 

  • A commitment and motivation for studying creative producing at an advanced level of study  
  • An appreciation of contemporary performance/entertainment and its wider context  
  • Evidence of engagement with the organisation of events or other directly related activities  
  • Be able to articulate though writing and, if appropriate, illustrate a potential, considered, project idea that is feasible and achievable  
  • An ability to work with creative practitioners   
  • A desire to learn and an ability to investigate ideas critically and independently  
  • Evidence of critical awareness and self-direction, openness and the ability to learn  
  • Potential for creative problem solving appropriate to theatre/performance contexts  

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long and include:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course
  • Your current creative practice and how this will help with your future plans
  • If you do not have any formal academic qualifications please describe your relevant education and experience

Portfolio advice

Portfolios should show the following:

  • Images or other files such as animation, film or video
  • A range of visual work which demonstrates experimentation and idea generation
  • Design development showing how problems are solved
  • An interest in collaboration and making performances
  • Awareness of character in the context of a dramatic situation
  • Any previous experience of theatre work
  • Images from sketchbooks and notebooks

Video task

  • We'd like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you
  • Please speak clearly in English and face the camera
  • Your video task is submitted along with your portfolio. Read our guidance for how to submit your video task and which file types we accept

As part of your video task please respond to the following direction:

We would like you to identify one project from your portfolio which challenged you and your understanding of theatre and performance design. Explain how this experience has inspired you to apply to MA Theatre and Performance Design at Wimbledon College of Arts.

Making your application

Apply

Home students should apply by direct application.

Apply

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Please add ccw.ukeu@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates about your application to UAL.

Initial application check and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system. These will be reviewed by the academic team.

Following the review of the digital portfolio, we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process. These applicants will be invited to attend an online interview.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through the UAL portal.

Applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Feedback requests:

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview. We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf. If you would like to request feedback please email ccw.ukeu@arts.ac.uk.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner. Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Wimbledon College of Arts, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible. Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English if necessary) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

12 January 2022 or 13 April 2022

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply by 12 January 2022 for Round 1 or by 13 April 2022 for Round 2. We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines, to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in two rounds. This means that offers won’t be sent to successful applicants until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by 31 March 2022 and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by 30 June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

Apply

There are 2 ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course:

Apply

Read our immigration and visa information to find out if you need a visa to study at UAL.

You can only apply to the same course once per year. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn. Read the UAL international application advice for further information on how to apply.

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Please add ccw.international@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates about your application to UAL.

Initial application check and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system. These will be reviewed by the academic team.

Following the review of the digital portfolio, we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process. These applicants will be invited to attend an online interview.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through the UAL portal.

Applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Feedback requests:

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview. We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf. If you would like to request feedback please email ccw.international@arts.ac.uk.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner. Read our Admissions Policy for details, including how to request a deferral and by when.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Wimbledon College of Arts, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible. Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English if necessary) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

12 January 2022 or 13 April 2022

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply by 12 January 2022 for Round 1 or by 13 April 2022 for Round 2. We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines, to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in two rounds. This means that offers won’t be sent to successful applicants until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by 31 March 2022 and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by 30 June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£11,220 per course

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals. However, the rules are complex and you can find out more on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

International fee

£22,920 per course

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

International fees are currently charged to students from countries outside of the UK. However, the rules are complex and more information can be found on our tuition fees pages.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, although this may depend on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students on our Brexit information webpage

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