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BA (Hons) Theatre Design

Start date
September 2019
Course length
3 years
UCAS code

Course summary

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

We prepare you to enter the world of contemporary theatre and performance design with the skills, knowledge and sensibilities that professional designers need.

The course is a mix of practice and theory. This ensures that experimentation and critical thinking are equally valued. This will enable you to produce inventive and imaginative design work underpinned by strong practical skills.

Student work

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

BA Theatre Design Stories

Course details

This course is subject to re-validation. Re-validation is a process that makes sure students get a high quality academic experience. During re-validation there maybe be some changes to course content and structure. Please contact us if you have any questions about this course.

What is a theatre designer?

A theatre designer designs the environment in which the performance takes place and the performers costumes. They may also design sound, lighting and other digital aspects. All these areas are covered on the course.

What skills does a theatre designer need?

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

What you can expect

  • A staff team that are all practicing theatre and performance designers. You will also have tuition from a wide range of freelance theatre-makers
  • A contextual studies programme. This builds your knowledge and understanding of film, television and the arts
  • Collaborative projects with both drama and dance programmes in other universities and institutions. These include The Lyric Theatre, 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 Acts Re-Acts Festival, which combines performance and fine art
  • To engage with a rich mix of ideas, events, discussions and performances
  • To have access to Wimbledon's shared workshops. View the Wimbledon facilities

To focus on aspects of theatre and performance design practice:

  • Interpretation of text
  • Perception of character
  • Dramatic space
  • The designer’s role within the creative team
  • Working on live shows with performers

An introduction to a range of skills and technical areas including:

  • Computer-aided design
  • Costume construction and drawing
  • Fabric dyeing
  • Lighting
  • Metal and wood workshop
  • Recorded digital arts for live performance
  • Scaled precision model-making
  • Sound
  • Story boarding for live performance
  • Technical drafting

Course units

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

  • Artist talks and lectures
  • Critical studies and writing
  • Design of a learning agreement
  • Documentation and dissemination of a project
  • Exhibition planning meetings with tutors and technical staff
  • Group discussions, crits, seminars and tutorials
  • Independent research
  • Individual academic tutorial advice and support
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Negotiation and development of a design proposal
  • Peer review and assessment
  • Planning for a formal presentation of a design proposal
  • Postgraduate forums
  • Practical workshops
  • Preparation and presentation of ideas at planning meetings
  • Project related professional work placement or collaboration
  • Seminars
  • Studio work
  • Study visits
  • Technical inductions and instruction
  • Workshops

Assessment methods

  • Presentation
  • Professional and personal development
  • Research portfolio


Visiting Staff

  • Dan Bird - Director
  • Professor Jane Collins - Theatre Director
  • 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

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 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

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

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • A Level - 2 A levels grade C or above
  • or Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • or Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • or Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • or Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • or Equivalent EU or non-EU qualifications. For example - International Baccalaureate Diploma pass achieved at 24 points or above
  • and 3 GCSE passes grade C or above

We will also consider 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.

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.

Making your application

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

There are 3 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.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£9,250 (2018/19 fees). 2019/20 fees to be confirmed.

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

£19,350 (2018/19 fees). 2019/20 fees to be confirmed.

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.


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

Scholarships and awards

Use our search tool to find out more about the scholarships and awards available to students.

Scholarship 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.

Alumni have been 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.


  • 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)

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.

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