Design for Theatre, Film & Performance

BA (Hons)

Our BA (Hons) Design for Theatre, Film & Performance course will fully prepare you for a career in this exciting sector – where designers and makers collaborate with directors, actors and a wide range of technically trained creatives to deliver dynamic environments for theatre, film and new multi-media platforms. 

Whether working at a small scale with non-traditional performance locations, or on a larger scale in art direction for film or events, this course will enable you to develop an individual artistic vision as well as the capacity to cross over into commercial areas of performance design.

You’ll build a solid foundation to your skills through our wide range of workshops, demonstrations, and project briefs – where hands on problem solving will strengthen your artistic direction.

Supported by experienced senior lecturers, a wide range of specialists, and leading professionals within performance design and making, you’ll learn the essentials of design interpretation to support live or recorded performances.

This will include working within traditional and non-traditional theatre spaces, model making, production design and art direction for film, technical drawing, scenic painting, costume making and prop making.

Our dedicated workshops within our Rochester campus offer you a fantastic range of the latest facilities, including equipment for metal work, woodwork, casting, resin and plaster work, as well as access to laser cutters, 3D printing facilities and specialist costume rooms.

The ability to be hands on with your problem solving will strengthen your individual artistic direction. We offer a range of interpretative opportunities where your leadership skills will begin to drive key aims and personal objectives.

Project briefs will replicate industry practise, supporting you to find work experience beyond the University, either through a placement or externally commissioned projects.

This may include: the making of scenic elements; working in wardrobe; property making; and scenic painting on productions in theatre and film, both regionally and nationally.

We also encourage you to develop extended projects in your chosen specialism, in preparation for well-attended graduate exhibitions on campus, as well as showcase events in London. 

This course is changing title for 2019 entry, please see BA (Hons) Theatre Design for more information.

Length of study:

Three years full-time

Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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Course details

  • Year 1

    In the first year, teaching and learning is primarily staff-led and emphasis is placed on developing core skills and a sound awareness and understanding of the different spheres of creative craft practice for theatre and film. Areas of study include costume realisation, scenic art construction, props making, puppetry and historical and contextual studies.

    Visual Narrative
    An introduction to textual interpretation, the exploration of character, design processes and the practical skills needed to develop designs for live performances. This unit introduces working in scale on design models.

    Through the Lens
    This unit engages in design through art direction for film. Through research, analysis and interpretation you will develop concepts for a design focusing on a given key performance text such as film script, opera score, or play text.

    You’ll develop an imaginative and exploratory approach to the practical skills needed to make props, costumes and digital interventions for a range of performance contexts. This unit encourages experimentation with varied materials and techniques in a series of workshops to create props and provide a foundation of practical skills in the physical realisation of costumes.

    Cultural Contexts 1
    This unit encourages you to investigate culture and history, providing a philosophical and historical insight into past and present cultures and their ideas, and theoretical frameworks through which to consider art, design and scenography.

  • Year 2

    This development stage of the course is designed to progressively move you away from course-led teaching and learning towards a more student-directed approach, in which you'll become increasingly self-motivated and develop the skills of an independent learner. You'll be encouraged to develop a specialist area of practice in the design and production of costume, props or sets.

    Scenography & Society
    Building on design skills learnt in Year 1, you’ll develop a speculative project in which you’ll draw together ideas about space, narrative, the body and performance. Within this project you’ll begin to develop and express ideas that reflect upon contemporary social and political themes.

    Specialist Practice
    You’ll create a practical project that engages with your chosen specialism at a developed level. Drawing upon the experiences of the course, you’ll be in a position to start to develop your career ambitions and exploit the conceptual and physical skills you’ve acquired.

    Cultural Contexts 2
    A range of critical frameworks deriving from philosophy, art theory, cultural studies and the social sciences are drawn upon in considering the aesthetics, production and consumption of art, design and scenography.

    Professional and Collaborative Practice
    This unit will challenge you to extend your practice through live projects with partners and collaborators, and encourage you to seek work-based project placements that may be practical, design or research led and that align with your specialist interests and career ambitions.

    Study Abroad (optional)
    This optional unit will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas educational institution.

  • Year 3

    The final year of the course consolidates the various elements of study and is characterised by independent learning and the ability to fully bring together the range of experiences, knowledge and skills you've developed on the course. You'll be required to realise your work through the use of accomplished making skills and evidence of advanced levels of both self-management and critical reflection.

    Minor Project
    Focuses on independent learning, self-determination and specialism. You’ll be challenged to successfully design for relevant performance contexts with an emphasis on your chosen specialism.

    Major Project
    You’ll create a body of innovative, creative and sophisticated work, using a developed understanding of the production process and the ability to translate ideas into realisations.

    Practice in Context
    Substantial, individually negotiated research on a subject that’s related to the contextual concerns of your chosen area of practice. You’ll also develop a portfolio and other promotional material in preparation for professional work that’s relevant to your potential career direction.

  • Study abroad

    This course offers the opportunity to study abroad for part of your second year. To find out more about studying abroad as part of your course please see the Study Abroad section:

  • Fees

    Find out all about the fees for studying with us, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to:


This course has large studio spaces for set building, costume and propmaking; extensive studios for large-scale prop making and set building. The campus has well-equipped 3D workshops, providing both hand and mechanical processes and high technology, from ceramic, wood and metal workshops to laser cutting and rapid prototyping.

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Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

  • Industry links

    We’re committed to fully preparing you for a successful career in addition to supporting you with the preparation of your portfolio, CV and professional profile, we encourage you to undertake work placements. Our well-established industry connections include:

    • BBC
    • ITV
    • Propshop
    • Hothouse
    • Pinewood Studios
    • Evolution
    • The Royal Opera House
    • The National Theatre.
  • Careers

    Graduate career destinations for this course include:

    • Manufacturing
    • Self-employment
    • Buying
    • Gallery work
    • Designing
    • Marketing
    • Retailing
    • Production
    • Teaching.
  • Further study

    You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.


How to apply - 2019 entry

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I am not a UK or EU citizen ...

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades - in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

International entry requirements

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

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Your portfolio

We may ask you to attend an Applicant Day and interview, and to submit a portfolio – so do make sure your portfolio shows strong visual evidence of a range of relevant skills, is logically organised, and showcases your ability to develop a project or idea. Your portfolio should also ideally include creative project work from your school or college courses, and/or projects you’ve initiated yourself or in the workplace. In both cases, please enclose evidence of your creative processes, as well as materials that demonstrate your 3D creativity, if possible. Evidence of your broader academic skills, including essay writing, should also be included.

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