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Set Design For Performance

Set Design For Performance (Online Short Course)

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Alison Neighbour, Bettina John


An introduction to the creative process of set design for live performance: site-specific work, theatre, musical or opera. We explore the designer's vision, creative and practical skills, effective communication and how to develop a critical eye for performance.

You will finish with a combination of practical understanding of the requirements for set design and a portfolio of project work reflecting the designer's creative process. 

Topics covered

Project work will include:

  • analysing a script, libretto or synopsis to establish a scenic breakdown
  • historical research
  • 2D and 3D creative interpretation and concept development,
  • storyboarding and the scaled 3D model
  • roles and responsibilities in pre-production and in production

Who should take this course?

This course welcomes learners from a wide range of disciplines, including those wanting to develop, diversify and extend their current creative experience towards set 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 consider also taking our Costume Design for Performance course.

Read more about the Set Design for Performance course on the CSM Short Course blog

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

Alison trained as a designer at RADA. She designs for traditional theatre spaces and outdoor and environment-based work, and is especially interested in theatre that has a spirit of play and which gives the audience agency.
Alison’s work was exhibited at World Stage Design 2013 and Make/Believe 2015.
She is also co-founder of Bread & Goose, a theatre company who make site based work with communities. Alison has taught theatre design at Rose Bruford College, Lewisham College, RADA, University of Creative Arts, University of Hull, and Canterbury Christchurch University, and led artistic residencies at numerous institutions across the UK.

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
  • Pencil
  • Coloured pencils
  • Crayons
  • Notebook
  • Pritt stick glue

Available dates