Theatre and Film Production Design - BA (Hons)

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Why study this course?

Study in London, the home of the UK's theatre and film industries. The course is situated in the midst of London’s theatre and film companies and offers a rich setting of heritage, contemporary and emergent fields in which to study. The course covers design for theatre and film production design, costume design, and set and costume making for performance. You'll be able to develop specialist skills in a chosen field of interest and develop a strong career plan.

 
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Work by Alessia Bucci
Alessia Bucci 1

Work by Chris Cook
Chris Cook 1

Designing for performance
Designing for Performance

Work by Cat Louizou
Cat Louizou 1

Flashmob Catwalk
Flash mob 1

Theatre design
Theatre design

Theatre model
Theatre model 1

Theatre model
Theatre model 2

Theatre model
Theatre model 3

Puppet designs
Puppets

Costume designs
Costume design

Theatre actor
Theatre actor

More about this course

The Theatre and Film Production BA degree course is run in conjunction with the Theatre and Performance Practice BA and offers a unique opportunity to develop as a collaborative practitioner and designer of performance in all aspects.

You’ll learn how to bring together a range of creative, technical, communicative, organisational and entrepreneurial skills as you work towards being an independent yet collaborative practitioner.

As part of The Cass, this course sits alongside and interacts with a range of art and design disciplines including fashion, textiles, interior design, music and fine art, offering an excellent base for making and collaborative practice. We have an impressive directory of industry contacts in all fields of theatre and film and can offer practice experience, professional expertise and wide-ranging career opportunities.

Assessment

Assessment methods range from formative, summative, diagnostic, peer and self-assessment, studio based work, workshops, and computer aided design (CAD) and digital projects and exercises.

Fees and key information

Course type Undergraduate
UCAS code W461
Entry requirements View
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Entry requirements

In addition to the University’s standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grade C in three A levels or minimum grades BC in at least two A levels in relevant humanities, art and design subjects (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points).
  • English Language GCSE at grade C/grade 4 or above (or equivalent)

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Film, Photography and Media Extended degree or the Art and Design Extended Degree (With Foundation Year).

We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Portfolios and interviews

Your portfolio should be selected but have enough work to show the range of your interests and talents. We are interested in seeing how you develop a narrative through a project. You can also include creative writing, story boarding, lighting and photography, costume and CAD work if you have examples of these.

We always want to see traditional drawing whether observational, life or concept generating. Pieces that show us how you conceive ideas, select and emphasise stories through atmosphere and scale. If you cannot bring work within your portfolio to your interview, please take photographs and include them.

Finally, be ready to talk about your work and how you see your future as a film and theatre production designer.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2018/19 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) Level 4 aims to orient and critically engage students in the history and theory of their discipline, its extent and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice.

    The module helps students to reflect on what they see, and to read connections between different ideas that have shaped their discipline. In particular the module investigates how thinking and articulating ideas about practice in their field might be framed – for example in relation to history, the economy, society and the environment, or through theory and practice.

    The module introduces students to a range of academic skills needed to produce a graduate-level study in their final year. It helps students to develop their own interests, and to reflect on and take responsibility for the development of their own learning. This includes surveys in the history of their discipline, research and writing workshops, seminars, library sessions, visits and tours in addition to guided independent learning.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    This year-long first year module will introduce and develop students’ understanding of design principles and approaches to production for performance design.

    The module asks and enables students to investigate, analyse and explore the context of performance design and practice. Through exercises, projects and workshop scenarios students will examine and consider the process of production design, the different disciplines within performance design and all the various roles of the production designer. Through visits and lectures they will investigate the requirements and focus of both live and recorded production.

    By the end of the module students will have developed an understanding of the role of the production designer in a range of contexts and of their own design process and how it might progress. The module allows them to develop strategies for idea generation, problem solving and concept testing whilst offering points to reflect and test for innovation. The module, through briefs and exercises, will use a variety of texts to investigate both theatre and film contexts, production methodology and how the narrative relates to the audience.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    This is a year-long module that will introduce Theatre and Film Production Design students to an aesthetics of theatre and film practice through a range of small scale projects drawing on the craft-based activities of puppet and object theatre. They will learn craft-based skills that will be utilised and developed throughout their course of study and investigate and experiment with the use of puppets and found objects in regard to narrative, character and the conceptual practice of the ‘untransformed’ object; as a style and method of theatre making. Complimented with sound and lighting workshops this will enable students to understand the process and practice of craft-based activities in theatre practice.

    Through a series of seminars and workshops students will be introduced to the potential of conveying ideas through puppetry and object theatre. They will be introduced to contemporary puppetry and object theatre through workshop and practical explorations of performance techniques and approaches; investigating and researching significant directors and theorists of puppetry and object theatre. Students will develop skills in sourcing, crafting, preparing, manipulating and animating puppets and objects in visual theatre practice and storytelling.

    The work done on the module will be recorded, curated and evaluated in a Project and Evaluation portfolio that will be handed in at the end of the module as part of the assessment process.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    This module provides an introduction to technologies, materials and the communication and making practices of designers working within performance design, developing students’ understanding of the collaborative nature of the process involved in creating performance and performance space.

    Students will develop communication techniques appropriate to the diversity of information designers use and the audiences targeted. These will include the use of different orthogonal drawing conventions, diagrams and sketches, and a range of modelmaking and storyboarding approaches to communicate precise ideas and information.

    The module will use different methods to establish this knowledge, including case studies, making and drawing workshops, lectures, seminars and make reference to a wide variety of published sources.
    The module identifies the range, scope and practice of the roles and disciplines involved in the design and delivery of performance spaces. Through the projects students will be introduced to historic, contemporary and emerging performance technologies and the key statutory and regulatory responsibilities relating to production design. Students will at the same time analyse methods of critical and reflective recording, documenting and interpreting approaches for performance and performance spaces.

    Read full details.

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    Critical and Contextual Studies 2 continues to orient and critically engage students in the history and theory of their discipline, its extent and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice. It builds on studies undertaken in Level 4 and prepares students as independent thinkers, capable of selecting an appropriate topic and producing a sustained piece of independent study in the form of a dissertation in Level 6.

    The module continues to situate the student within the process of constructing knowledge about their discipline, its history, context, and its professional and ethical dimension. It rehearses the analytical and discursive skills students need to become knowledgeable about the authorities, objects and methods in their field; to understand the roles, locations and responsibilities of important players whilst examining the broader ethical questions relevant to their discipline; and to become conversant with current debates across the subject area. This process may be approached from the point of view of the producer or consumer, the critic or the professional, the academic or the practitioner.

    Students are encouraged to think creatively and to take responsibility for the development of their own learning. The module recognises that the student is also an active contributor in the process: what students bring to the construction of knowledge counts – and how effectively they construct this knowledge depends on how well they understand the field of their discipline.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    Designing the Performance is a year-long module that runs parallel with curriculum of BA Theatre and Performance Practice so that production design and performance students are able to work together.
    It provides opportunities for students to create designs for performance and have them exposed to audiences. It continues to challenge and broaden the notions of ‘text’ and ‘audience’. It will draw on case studies of contemporary theatre practitioners in exploring how performance designs are created and will focus in particular on ensemble and collaborative work.
    It may be taught by theatre companies or practitioners in residency. It will utilise skills and concepts learnt in year one and will provide models of theatre making and production which will be drawn upon in year three.
    Students will be introduced to the ideas, ethos and working practices of contemporary theatre companies. The module will ask students to adapt a physical and visual approach to text work from the point of view of the performer and theatre and/or film maker using design and making strategies that test notions of the relationship with the audience, employing professional modelling techniques in both rehearsal design and performance.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    This module asks students to engage with the technologies, materials and making practices of designers working in performance design, and develops their understanding of the collaborative nature of the process involved in creating performance and performance space.
    Students will develop communication techniques appropriate to the diversity of information designers have to communicate and specific to audiences targeted. Students will research the range and scope of performance design roles and the different disciplines involved in the design and delivery of performance space, through study of precedents and work related, collaborative practice.
    The module asks that students use a range of drawing conventions (including for set construction, costume and prop making), material experimentation and modelmaking techniques to communicate the relevance and resolution of designed ideas, investigating the effects of lighting, prop sourcing and direction in relationship to the performance. Students will develop scaled modelling skills using both traditional and digital methods.
    Throughout the module students will asked to prove an understanding of historic, contemporary and emerging performance technologies and their relevance to space, text and available technologies.
    The module introduces risk assessment and the range and role of regulatory bodies in relation to performance design.
    Students will establish a critical, personal practice of recording, documenting and interpreting approaches to making performance and performance spaces.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    Scenography, Text and Place explores how design for theatre and film reflects differing ways of interpreting forms of text in theatre practice. It will develop analytical research and performance design skills in relation to differing design contexts. In addition, it will broaden the notion of ‘text’ – exploring other forms of ‘text’ as stimuli. The module asks students to test specific analytical skills related to working with text. Students are introduced to wider concept of text and exploring texts to demonstrate conceptual, social, economic and values and focus. They will be asked to demonstrate the importance of research and development in relation to designing for theatre and film. The module enables them to design for specific spaces and their audiences, developing an understanding of the relationship between design, text and place.

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • Alongside the companies whose raison d'être it is to engage with the community, all theatre productions, museums and galleries in receipt of public funding expend considerable resource on community engagement. This is a significant entry route into the professions. Community Engagement is a year-long module introducing and exploring the utilisation of theatre and film production design skills within a community context.

    The module will initially engage with a syllabus covering all aspects of community workshop leading and design, it will then progress to cover the emergent industry agenda of widening participation in the theatrical arts. The module affords students the opportunity to use community engagement as active research method for production design. The module will address the academic stimuli of art, design and drama as teaching media and address the concerns and practical implications of professional and client group communication. This will culminate in a work placement where skills and learning can be translated into experience and practice in workshop creating and leading.

    Students will benefit from the University’s links to professional theatrical groups and bodies such as The Victoria and Albert Museum, Make Believe Arts, Spare Tyre, Graeae, Islington Shed, Phakama, Clean Break, International Rainbows, Lewisham Youth Theatre, as well as various schools and colleges engaged with theatre, film and performance. There will also be opportunities for forging new links and collaborating with various community groups.

    The module demands a disciplined approach to collaboration with relevant stakeholders and external partners. Through the module, students will experience work-related learning through a live project set-up and realisation or placement. Students will refine a range of transferable skills in communication, management, research and analysis and are encouraged to reflect and report on the work-relevant skills that they develop throughout. These skills are both desirable and advantageous for all graduates and include (for example): action planning, contribution to professional meetings, entrepreneurship, goal setting, negotiating, networking, project management, self-appraisal and team working. Students will use a wide spectrum of skills necessary for providing rigorous, thorough and stimulating projects for diverse individuals and groups to industry standards. Students will develop a flexible approach to leading groups based on the aspirations and experience levels of project participants. Students will be asked to employ relevant and appropriate documentation and follow up materials for community workshops and continuously reflect on and apply their own knowledge, skills and awareness that support engagement and practice in a community context.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) Level 6 results in an independent dissertation. It builds on two years of undergraduate study that critically engages students in the history and theory of their discipline, its extent and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice.

    Students undertake an enquiry into a topic of their own choice and, based on this enquiry, develop a sustained critical study in support of their practice, building on techniques and knowledge developed in previous years. This study demonstrates the student’s ability to thoroughly research a topic, use appropriate methods of investigation, and work in a methodical and organised way to develop a coherent argument. It affords a sophisticated instrument for interrogating, testing and presenting ideas, and encourages the student to deploy and develop a variety of skills to show how well they can conduct and present a critical investigation.

    The module rewards criticality and innovation, and provides a platform for ambitious independent work. To this end, it offers individual supervision designed to support the student’s learning. The subject matter of the dissertation can be theoretical, technical, or historical. In terms of format, the dissertation may be envisaged in different ways and can include visual, technical or other non-written material which may form the subject of the enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole.

    The dissertation may be practice-based and include field-work and primary research in its methodology; or it might be academic and theoretical in its outlook and draw predominantly on secondary sources. Its form and approach can reflect a broad range of discipline-specific approaches based on discussion and agreement with the supervisor and/or course leader.

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  • Together with their Major Project Realisation module, this module is intended to prepare Theatre and Film Production Design students for independent practice, entry into the professional workplace, or for higher studies.

    Through a synthesis of processes and principles, using an appropriate range of intellectual, creative and practical skills, students will design and develop a self-directed project. This will require in-depth research, a well-constructed design process, and the exercise of practical and thinking skills, resulting in a significant body of creative work for public exhibition. A negotiated and approved proposal will confirm the individual project. Using creative exploration and experimentation, students will develop research, concept development, material investigation, modelling or prototyping and visualisation. The final outcome will be produced in the module ‘Major Project Realisation Theatre and Film Production Design’.

    The module will ensure that students critique and reflect upon their own work and their position in their own theatre or film creative sector. The module emphasises self-direction and personal focus whilst acknowledging external and professional expectations and constraints. Students will select or devise and conduct a comprehensive design project resulting in a significant body of work displaying the synthesis of their conceptual and technical skills within the final presentation and demonstrate their ability to determine the required research and construct a research and development process suitable for successful completion of the project. Students will be asked to evidence self-management of the project in respect of planning, monitoring, recording and evaluation.

    The module will affirm students’ creative identity as they enter their professional field and indicate their sense of their future direction and position including in the context of ethical issues

    Read full details.
  • Together with their Project Design and Development module, this module is intended to prepare BA Theatre and Film Production Design students for independent practice, entry into the professional workplace, or for higher studies.

    Through synthesis of knowledge of processes and principles, using an appropriate range of intellectual, creative and practical skills, students will design a realised production. Students will evidence their research and construct a realisation plan and process suitable and effective for successful completion of the project. The module will ask students to confidently present their creative identity through their work to the professional field and indicate their sense of future direction and creative and professional position.

    A negotiated and approved proposal will confirm the individual project. This could be an ‘in-house’ production in conjunction with performance students, an internal film studies project, a self-generated installation or performance or an external production.
    The module asks students to evidence self-management of the project in respect of planning, monitoring, recording and evaluation. The module will ensure that students critique and reflect upon their own work and that they understand their position in the creative sector.

    Read full details.

Modules for this course are to be confirmed. Please check back at a later date or call our course enquiries team on +44 (0)20 7133 4200 for details.

After the course

The Theatre and Film Production Design BA course will offer opportunities within the film and theatre industries in a number of roles within design and production, including set and costume designer, production designer, art director and a range of making roles. It also prepares you for exhibition design, curation, lighting design, community, and youth work and education.

Additional costs

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Unistats - key information set

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How to apply

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

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