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Costume Design For Performance

Costume Design For Performance (online short course)

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Bettina John


An introduction to the process of costume design for performance. The emphasis is on analysing character and developing a portfolio of costume renderings to support the dynamics of a playwright's characters and their situation. Through a process of creative visualisation a concept is established, which anticipates a performance and communicates ideas effectively to an audience.

You will finish with a combination of practical understanding of the industry’s design requirements, and a portfolio of project work reflecting the costume designer's creative process.

Topics covered

Project work will be centred on one playwright text, which will be used to encourage period exploration. The topics will include:

  • historical research
  • analysis of script for character breakdown
  • the role and responsibility of the costume designer
  • creative interpretation and concept development
  • story boarding and anticipating a performance communication through presentation of ideas in 2D
  • pre-production processes
  • the development of a critical eye for costume design

Who should take this course?

The course welcomes learners from a wide range of disciplines, including those wanting to develop, diversify and extend their current creative practices towards costume design for performance.

It is also suitable for those wishing to strengthen their portfolio for application to higher education studies in design for performance.

Entry requirements: None

Level: Beginners

Please note that all courses scheduled until 11 September 2020 will take place in an online classroom. Courses starting after this date will be held in our onsite classrooms.

For more information on Online Short Courses please see the below information.

All our Online Short Courses include:

  • Live online lessons with the same tutors
  • The same course content and learning outcomes
  • Lesson recordings, for review
  • Access to VLE with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 3 months online access
  • Certificate upon completion

Further details about preparing for your online course, and the equipment you need, can be found here.

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time. To check and compare times please click here.

Related courses

If you want to broaden your skills and expand your portfolio for application to further studies in design for performance, we recommend that you also take our Set Design for Performance short course.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Please note that Online courses are closed to all new bookings 48 hours prior to the course starting.

Tutor Description

Bettina John studied Theatre Design at Wimbledon and now works as a freelance costume and set designer predominantly in opera, dance, theatre and music. Prior to her training in London she received a degree in Fashion Design in Germany.


Please bring with you to the first session:

  • A3 Sketchbook
  • Pencils
  • Pencil Crayons
  • Notebook
  • Pritt Stick Glue


For the Online Short Course version, please have additional: 

  • Markers
  • Watercolour or gouache paint
  • Ink
  • Water soluble colour pencils
  • Brushes in various sizes
  • Watercolour and/or marker paper

Access to a printer is ideal (but not mandatory).

Space to draw is necessary.

Available dates