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BA (Hons) Theatre Design

College
WIMBLEDON
Start date
September 2020
Course length
3 years
UCAS code
W463

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.

Student work

BA Theatre Design Showreel

BA Theatre Design Stories

Course overview

A theatre designer designs the environment in which a 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.

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.

The rich mix of practice and theory on the BA Theatre Design course 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.

What you can expect

  • A staff team of practicing theatre and performance designers, and tuition from freelance theatre-makers
  • Teaching specifically focussed on interpretation of text, perception of character, dramatic space and the role of the designer within the creative team
  • A contextual studies programme which builds your knowledge and understanding of film, television and the arts
  • An introduction to Computer Aided Design (CAD), fabric dyeing, costume construction, lighting and sound, precision model-making and recorded digital arts for live performance
  • To examine the role of drawing in relationship to costume, performance, technical rendering and storyboarding
  • To build a strong network of theatre-makers through collaborative live projects with other institutions, such as The Lyric Theatre, London Contemporary Dance School, MA Directing at Birkbeck and BA Contemporary Theatre Practice at East 15 Acting School
  • To develop a professional portfolio that showcases your practice and personal identity
  • To have access to Wimbledon's shared workshops. View the Wimbledon facilities

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.

Mode of study

BA Theatre Design is offered in full-time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage consists of 30 teaching weeks. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study. 

Course units

A short description of each unit and what you can expect.

Year 1

Unit 1 - Introduction to Theatre Design

This unit is an introduction to your course, the college and the university.

Unit 2 - Designing and making 1

This unit will introduce you to the creative skills that are essential to working within the world of contemporary theatre design. You will begin to get an idea of the range and scope of current professional practice.

  • To use model-making, basic surveying, 3D modelling techniques and technical drawing to aid analysis and representation of spatial forms and colour
  • Projects will provide a foundation of working methods and processes that you will build on through the course

Unit 3 - Designing and making 2

This unit will focus on costume design.

  • To explore methods for carrying out in-depth costume research and character analysis
  • To look at the impact of the body in the performance space
  • To use drawing as the core process to develop your ideas

Unit 4 - Exploring ideas

In this unit you will create set and costume designs for a set text using a small London theatre as the venue.

  • Structured projects led by academics
  • Self-directed studio-based project work
  • To engage with the debates and ideas around theatre design
  • To begin to evaluate the potential impact of theatre design in a wider cultural context
  • To look at critical approaches to theatre design

Unit 5 - Who are you? Establishing practice

In this unit a range of digital processes used in the theatre design and live performance industry will be demonstrated. You will work on short projects in relation to these.

Year 2

Unit 6 - Practice as laboratory

This unit will enable you to investigate the breadth of contemporary theatre and performance design practice. Areas covered will include, but are not limited to, site-responsive theatre, immersive performance and other aspects of design for performance.

  • To carry out research, practical experiments and speculative design projects
  • To visits to external institutions

Unit 7 - Collaborative and collective practices

This unit aims to introduce you to different ways in which collaborative working can focus and enhance your own creative strengths. This unit has 3 core purposes: 

  • To engage with fellow students with different practices and interests in a collaborative project
  • To engage with external audiences, participants or institutions to consider new contexts for your work
  • To develop your creative attributes to enable you to take on future challenges in a variety of contexts

Unit 8 - Where in the world? 1

This unit will be mainly self-directed with support from academic tutors, theatre directors and performers.

  • To make a realised performance in response to themes from set contemporary and historical texts
  • To engage with and respond to broader concepts and themes. These might include, but are not limited to body, gender, genre, agency, authenticity, movement, audience, spatiality
  • To attend and review performances and events
  • To apply for work placements to be undertaken in unit 9
  • To work on your CV and professional portfolio
  • Lectures delivered by a range of industry professionals

Unit 9 - Where in the world? 2

The main component of this unit will be in the form of a complete speculative design proposal for the same text that was used in unit 8. Your proposal will include storyboards, set, costume, lighting and sound design

During this unit you can undertake a work placement.

Year 3

Unit 10 -  Finding your voice: portfolio design, crafting research skills, career planning

The work generated for your final year project will be self-directed and involve extended pieces of work. The unit has 3 elements:

  • Research portfolio - a visual and reflective project that demonstrates your research voice within your studio work
  • Dissertation - a research project which can be written, filmed or presented
  • Professional portfolio - development of a portfolio for potential employment that articulates your aesthetic and personal identity

Unit 11 -  Show your work: independent practice

This final unit enables you bring together all the ideas and learning from the course.

  • To continue a self-directed programme of practice and related research
  • Seminars and talks on working in the theatre design industry
  • To prepare your portfolio to help you enter the theatre design profession
  • To present work in the college degree show

Optional Diploma between year 2 and 3

Between year 2 and 3 you can opt to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies or the Diploma in Creative Computing.

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

Staff

  • Lucy Algar - Course Leader
  • Sophie Jump - Senior Lecturer
  • Matt Deely - Lecturer, Designer, Auto CAD and model making specialist
  • Dick Straker - Digital Projection Specialist
  • Glen Neath - Associate Lecturer Writer and Theatre Maker
  • James Perkins - Associate Lecturer
  • Kirill Burlov - Visiting Practitioner
  • Rebekah Ubuntu - Teaching Within lecturer
  • Denise Ackerl - Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Jo Howcroft - Production Manager

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 one or a combination of the following qualifications:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • 2 A Levels at grade C or above
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • And 3 GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C)

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

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:

  • 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

Making your application

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

Please remember:

  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity
  • Where possible, large or 3D work should be photographed and scanned
  • To organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes

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

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W463

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Entry to Year 2 or Year 3:

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (year 1 and 2) in the equivalent units or modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Wimbledon College of Arts, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively. The Admissions Tutor will consider applicants for entry to year 2 and 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course. You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications.

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.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview selection event

You will be expected to bring your portfolio, which will be reviewed by the academics conducting the event. Please be prepared to talk about your work, what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

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 interview selection event will be emailed to you once you have chosen or been allocated your date.

Selection for Home/EU applicants happens in a variety of different ways:

  • In person at Wimbledon College of Arts
  • By phone or Skype

If you choose phone or Skype, you will be sent an email requesting that you upload a digital portfolio using UAL’s online portfolio review system.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through UCAS track.

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

There are 3 ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Wimbledon College of Arts:

If you are applying via UCAS you will need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W463

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn. Read the UAL international application advice for further information on how to apply.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Entry to Year 2 or Year 3:

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (year 1 and 2) in the equivalent units or modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Wimbledon College of Arts, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively. The Admissions Tutor will consider applicants for entry to year 2 and 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course. You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Further information can be found in our UAL External Student Transfer Policy.

Deferred entry application:

This course will consider deferred entry applications.

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.

Immigration history check

Whether you’re applying online via UCAS, through a UAL representative or by direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History Check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL. If you don’t complete the check we won’t be able to proceed with your application.

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be asked to upload a digital portfolio. Once you have uploaded your portfolio, you’ll be invited to or asked to book onto a suitable date to attend an interview selection event.

Interview selection event

You will be expected to bring your portfolio, which will be reviewed by the academics conducting the event. Please be prepared to talk about your work, what inspires you and your influences. We may not discuss all of these topics at the event.

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

Selection for international applicants happens in a variety of different ways:

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

If you choose phone or Skype your portfolio that you uploaded via UAL’s online portfolio review system will be used during the interview.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

  • If you applied through UCAS you will receive the final outcome of of your application through UCAS track
  • If you applied directly or through an agent, we will notify you through the UAL portal

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

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 (2020/21).

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

£22,920 (2020/21).

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

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.

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)

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

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