Design for Theatre & Screen

BA (Hons) - UCA Rochester - 2020

In an industry where designers and makers are called upon to be all-rounders who can work with a wide range of professionals, on our BA (Hons) Design for Theatre & Screen course you’ll learn how to create dynamic environments, costumes and props for theatre and screen.

Throughout this degree course at UCA Rochester you will explore, with increasing responsibility, your own artistic direction as you drive projects from design to practical realisation. You’ll be supported by experienced senior lecturers, visiting lecturers, specialist tutors and qualified technicians as you learn all the essential design, making and technical skills you need for your career.

These include designing and making for theatre spaces, designing and making for screen-based productions, technical drawing, costume, set and prop making. 

Our dedicated workshop spaces on our Rochester campus offer you a fantastic range of the latest facilities, including equipment for costume making, metal work, woodwork, laser cutting, 3D printing, casting and carving.

In year two we offer a range of opportunities to put what you have learned into practice via work placements and collaborative projects. Previous placements and collaborations have included working in specialist prop making, costume and scenic workshops, working at West End and regional theatres, creating sets for television at Maidstone TV Studios, and model-making for stop-motion animation at the National Film and Television School.

Our aim is for you to arrive in the professional workplace environment with the key skills, relevant knowledge and confidence you’ll need. 

Your studies will culminate with an in-depth focus on developing your creative interest and design identity, on delivering industry standards in 2D and 3D work, on refining key-skills within the workshops, and on promoting yourself effectively through your website.

Throughout the Design for Theatre & Screen course you will receive an in-depth understanding of the history and theory of theatre and film arts, underpinned by art and design history, which will prepare you to engage effectively with professionals after graduation.     

Please note: this course has changed it's name for 2020 entry and has previously been named BA (Hons) Theatre Design.

Length of study:

Three years full-time


UCA Rochester

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Entry requirements:

112 UCAS tariff points

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Course details

  • Year 1

    Year 1 offers tutor-led instruction to the role and responsibility of the designer. Project work consists of the playwright’s text, and establishing industry standard processes for designing.

    You’ll begin with text analysis, understanding the story being told followed by how to communicate
    a story visually. 

    Our emphasis is on establishing a secure foundation upon which future projects will rely. Project work is an opportunity to develop a full understanding of the playwright’s narrative, and develop personal points of view through costume design and set design.

    Key skills in theatre craft complement the project work – this includes hand sewing and machine sewing, woodwork, metalwork, prop making, digital manipulation and technical drawing.

    Visual Narrative One

    This unit begins exploring the relationship between historical and contemporary design for performance practices and established or found spaces.  It challenges students to create individual responses to a given play text through ‘anticipating a performance’, by way of set and costume design. You will be introduced to how knowledge and research supports creative thinking and design skill development; through a combination of text analysis, contextual research, discussion, observation, storyboard, 2D and 3D speculative enquiry.

    Visual Narrative Two
    Theatre making is a collaborative professional discipline. While an overall vision might be generated by the creative team involving designers and director, the process of production requires comprehending the dynamics of specialist craft disciplines working together to deliver dramatic impact. In order to develop an understanding of how theatre craft contributes to stagecraft and illusion making, you will explore a range of approaches, methods and techniques where creative manipulation promotes dramatic storytelling.

    This unit provides a practical induction into the learning environment for the course. It provides you with the opportunity to develop a ‘toolbox’ of skills needed for the design and fabrication of set models, costume, application of craft skills. Using traditional and contemporary techniques in a workshop-based environment, the unit establishes students’ skills and ability to identify appropriate methodologies for the creation of a range of bespoke scenic elements. You are provided with the working knowledge of processes, materials and techniques; regarded as industry standard. The unit also introduces you to digital skill applications.

    Cultural Contexts 1
    This unit provides an introduction to the study of histories, theories and practices that inform contemporary performance and production design.  It explores the ways in which art history, contemporary art, cultural studies and the wider world influences designers. The unit provides you with the tools for research, analysis and interpretation to make informed readings of scenographic and filmic spaces.  It examines the ways in which stories can be told through images, objects and spaces, and the ways in which audiences receive and interact with this information.

  • Year 2

    Year 2 offers tutor-led insight alongside an emphasis on student-led responsibility when designing.

    The second year project work includes embracing current socio-political issues, and establishing in-depth processes for designing and making. Projects are structured to replicate industry practice in working to deadline, and you’ll get your first taste of industry through work experience and professional collaborations.

    Project work consists of the contemporary playwright’s text, establishing in-depth processes for design, embracing current socio-political issues of interest to the living playwright, and making stories in your own time.

    Year 2 includes work experience and professional collaborations, supporting insight to industry working practice, enhancing networking and key skill development for your employability

    Visual Narrative Three
    Through reference to a contemporary play text-narrative, this unit explores the dynamics of detailed analysis, research, contextualisation and rehearsal methodologies relating to the ability of theatre to speak of contemporary socio-political contexts. Through a pre-production design process, and its likely consequence from page to stage, design explores the dynamic impact of the visual languages in current theatre making practice.   

    Cultural Contexts 2
    This unit develops your understanding of the critical and theoretical ideas that emerged in the twentieth century within the context of modernity. The unit seeks to engage you in reflecting on creative practices in relation to complex frameworks of criticism and theory via research, seminars, lectures, tutorials and self-determined analytical studies. Through the examination of current critical perspectives on contemporary art, design, film and performance, the unit will prepare you to contextualise your own design practice. 

    Visual Narrative Four
    This unit promotes development of individual identity through in-depth approaches to working within specialist practice. This unit aims to simulate a professional commission, in which the designer as practitioner, embraces knowledge and skill-set comprehension from a wide range of disciplines with the aim to deliver a design within a specified format.

    Professional and Collaborative Practice
    Working with practitioners in the performance design profession can give exciting and valuable experience in areas of industry practice that help prepare students for life after graduation. This unit promotes the opportunity to engage with a range of work experiences within the creative industries of theatre making, filmmaking and alternate forms of performance.

    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 across two years. It is characterised by independent learning and the ability to fully bring together project experiences, knowledge and skill, with the aim to realise a body of work identifying personal interests.

    You'll undertake self-directed design, make proposals, prototypes and output. This will form the basis of your exhibition at the Graduation Show at the end of the year.

    Visual Narrative Five
    In this unit you'll undertake a design project within the context of a given text/narrative, with the objective to synthesise knowledge, understanding, and practice acquired throughout the first two years of the course.

    Visual Narrative Six
    This unit promotes opportunity to create a body of work as a development from the previous module. Major Project output may take a variety of forms; yet with the basis of it promoting design cohesion and promoting making strengths as found within industry practice. Emphasis is placed upon the same selected text, as processed within the Minor Project.

    Practice in Context
    The purpose of this unit is for you to identify and develop research that is contextually meaningful to your studio practice, and articulate arguments around areas of practice which inform their development as designers. This will include a presentation and a written critical reflection.

  • 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 and additional course costs

    Tuition fees
    The course fees per year for 2019 entry are:

    • UK and EU students - £9,250 
    • International students - £15,500 (standard fee)
    • International students - £14,880 (full early payment fee)

    The fees for 2020 entry have not been confirmed but will be listed here as soon as possible.

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2019 entry.

    Further information
    Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

    These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.


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.


UK/EU applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2020:

International applications

If you are applying for more than one course in the UK please apply via UCAS, to apply direct to UCA please use the links below:

Apply for full-time study - Year 1 - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting January 2020:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2019:

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa

If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or

When to apply:

The UCAS application deadline is 15 January. If you are applying directly to us, you can apply throughout the year but we recommend you apply as early as possible so you have time to arrange accommodation and visas.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

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.

Pick Your Country

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the UCA International College

Learn more about the UCA International College

Your portfolio

For this course we will require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. Your portfolio should show 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. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you apply.

More portfolio advice

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