Your first year offers tutor-led instruction to the role and responsibility of the designer. Projects include text analysis, introduction to designing a scale model for a theatre or screen-based performance, and establishing industry standard processes for designing. The emphasis is on establishing a secure foundation upon which future projects will rely, as well as an opportunity to develop a distinctive visual design language through costume and set design. Alongside this, students learn key skills in costume and prop making, including hand sewing and machine sewing, woodwork, metalwork, digital manipulation and technical drawing, amongst other skills.
Visual Narrative One
This unit challenges students to create individual responses to a given 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 development, through a combination of text analysis, contextual research, discussion, observation, storyboard, 2D and 3D speculative enquiry.
Visual Narrative Two
Designing for theatre or screen is a collaborative professional discipline: designers work with directors and makers to deliver dramatic impact, whether for theatre or screen. This unit introduces team-working and a range of approaches, methods and techniques where creative manipulation promotes dramatic storytelling, and develops important skills involved in creating a visual language for screen or stage, including:
- Developing atmospheric environments
- Theatre and stage craft
- Manipulating material and form to support a narrative
- Dramatic impact through the five elements of design.
You'll be given a practical induction into the workshop environments for the course, providing 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 methods for the creation of a range of bespoke scenic elements. You are provided with working knowledge of processes, materials and techniques which are regarded as industry standard. The unit engages students in understanding the position of the designer-maker as a practitioner in the performance industry. The unit also introduces you to digital skill applications.
Cultural Contexts 1
You'll be introduced to the 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.
Second-year project work includes embracing current socio-political issues, and establishing in-depth processes for designing and making in response to a contemporary theatre or screen-based text. Projects are structured to replicate industry practice in working to a deadline, and you’ll get your first taste of industry through work experience and professional collaborations. Year two also includes work experience and professional collaborations, supporting insight to industry working practices, networking and key skill development for your employability.
Visual Narrative Three
Through reference to a contemporary theatre or screen-based text, this unit deepens the process of analysis and research, in support of a design for a theatre or film piece which speaks of contemporary socio-political contexts. Through a pre-production design process, and its likely consequence from page to stage, the unit gives the opportunity to develop dynamic designs relating to the visual languages in current design practices for theatre and screen.
Cultural Contexts 2
You'll develop your understanding of the critical and theoretical ideas that emerged in the 20th century within the context of modernity. We'll seek to engage you in 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
Through in-depth approaches to working with specialist making practice, this unit enables you as designer-maker to develop a specific yet wide-ranging skill-set, with the aim to deliver a design within a functional and practical 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 and collaborations within the creative industries of theatre making, television production, filmmaking, workshop production and alternate forms of performance. The unit offers opportunities to experience industry working practices, networking and key skill development to enhance your employability.
Study Abroad (optional)
This optional unit will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas educational institution.
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 practical outputs. This will form the basis of your exhibition at the Graduation Show at the end of the year.
Visual Narrative Five
You'll undertake a design project within the context of a given text/narrative, with the objective of synthesising knowledge, understanding and practice acquired throughout the first two years of the course.
Visual Narrative Six
As a development from the previous module, you'll create a substantial body of work, which may take a variety of forms; yet with the basis of it is to promote design cohesion and practical making strengths as found within industry practice.
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.
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
The course fees per year for 2021 entry are:
- UK students - £9,250
- International and EU students - £16,950 (standard fee)
- International and EU students - £16,270 (full early payment fee)
Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2021 entry.
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.
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:
- Pinewood Studios
- The Royal Opera House
- The National Theatre.