BA (Hons)

Design for Stage and Screen (Design for Theatre and Live Performance)

Leslie Travers, Designer from Elysium at the Norwegian Opera
  • UCAS code(s): W460
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Course duration: Three years
  • Entry requirements: More information

Explore all aspects of contemporary design practice for theatre and the live performance, including set and costume design; construction; digital technologies and design; lighting design and audio visual; site-specific design; puppetry; heritage installation; and design for community and education. The course is facilitated by the highly skilled team of staff and technicians who have years of professional and academic knowledge.

Key features

  • We're delighted to be ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the UK for Art & Design (The Complete University Guide 2020).
  • This course is a member of the Performance Design Education Collective (PDEC), and the Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD). Through these, we are also a member of the International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT).
  • As a dedicated art and design school, our facilities promote collaboration and innovation. You’ll be working alongside artists, designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, and filmmakers.
  • All first-year students within the School of Art and Design will work together on a joint project.
  • Study in dedicated facilities, including a studio theatre, construction and paint workshops, and large teaching spaces.
  • Work on live projects with industry such as The Royal National Theatre, Birmingham Opera Company, The National Trust and Nottingham Playhouse.
  • Go on study visits for inspiration, research and experience, including live performances, museums and heritage and educational organisations.
  • Enter competitions set by organisations such as The Royal National Theatre’s Connections festival, and the Linbury Prize.
  • Showcase your work at our Degree Show in Nottingham, with the opportunity to be selected to exhibit at other graduate events.
  • Opportunity to apply for a European or international exchange to one of our partner institutions, such as Ryerson University in Canada.
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Get a glimpse into Theatre Design and live performance at NTU

What you'll study

Throughout your degree, you’ll learn how to develop your creative, technical, communicative, collaborative and organisational skills. We have strong links with performance, heritage, educational and arts organisations, and professional theatre companies, who we regularly collaborate with.

You’ll also collaborate with students from across the School of Art & Design, develop professional skills and knowledge that will help shape your career aspirations, and showcase your work at our Degree Show, with the opportunity to be selected to exhibit at other graduate events in London.

Collaboration across courses

This course offers our new innovative collaboration module. This gives you the opportunity to work collaboratively with your contemporaries from a range of different art and design subjects and beyond. You’ll be working alongside artists, designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, and filmmakers on daring and creative projects that prepare you for a rewarding career in your chosen industry.

  • Year One

    Design for Theatre and Live Performance: Introduction

    (80 credit points)

    Through independent and collaborative projects and practical workshops, you will develop the skills and vocabulary relevant to design for theatre and live performance. Through experimentation with a variety of methods and materials, this module will provide the opportunity to develop your visual communication skills and 3D problem solving, as you work on individual briefs, and a collaborative project with your fellow Design for Stage and Screen students.

    You’ll develop your skills in model making, software packages such as ACAD, Photoshop and SketchUp, live practice work through puppetry, lighting, AV and scenic construction skills.

    Contextual Studies: Introducing Research

    (20 credit points)

    Explore stage and screen history, cultural and contextual knowledge and its relevance to theatre and live performance. You will develop a critical knowledge and understanding of the role that performance, culture, art and design can play within society by examining cultural contexts across a variety of time periods and locations, aiding and enriching your practical work.

    Skills Passport

    (20 credit points)

    This module introduces a variety of practical technical skills and the concepts of safe professional practice. Through exploration of a range of materials and processes, you will build relevant skills and develop your practical knowledge base, while allowing flexibility for personal direction and acquiring an understanding of industry needs.

  • Year Two

    Design for Theatre and Live Performance: Exploration

    (60 credit points)

    Building on the knowledge and skills you acquired in Year One, you will develop and enhance your creative thinking and technical, visualisation and software skills, giving you a sound and relevant preparation for your final year and your future career.

    You’ll work on briefs that further develop your dramaturgical, interpretive, conceptual and visual communication performance practice that takes you beyond the proscenium stage. Craft-based projects will extend and underpin your skills as a designer in areas such as scale-model making, lighting, projection, sound and scenic construction. Performance projects will increase your understanding and your ability to communicate a visual narrative.

    Contextual Studies: Research and Impact

    (20 credit points)

    You will further investigate the role of performance and how it can convey meaning within a variety of cultural contexts, with an emphasis on performance analysis and practice within the global industry. You will continue to develop your intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills which are key to the expression of your knowledge and understanding.

    Co Lab: Research, Exploration and Risk-taking

    (20 credit points)

    Through active participation with team-based problem-solving, you will work together in mixed teams on a project where you will use your creative ideas to generate solutions to the challenge or brief. This collaborative learning experience will expose you to a range of new processes and approaches that will develop your creative thinking.

    Optional module

    You will also choose one 20-credit module from:

    • Model Making: Object and Narrative
    • 3D Material and Exploration
    • Millinery: Object and Narrative
    • Storyboarding: Visualising the Story, Enhancing the Narrative
  • Final year

    Design for Theatre and Live Performance: Exposition

    (100 credit points)

    Work as a practising designer alongside industry professionals from our associate companies, and develop a design project for a specific client or audience, either individually or collaboratively, gaining an understanding of the process of initiating, developing, managing and realising a complex project. You will also develop your professional design portfolio and work on your reflective analysis of each project, developing your skills and preparing you for an exciting career in industry.

    Contextual Studies: Research and Professional Practice

    (20 credit points)

    Undertake a detailed piece of written work that explores either an industry-related investigation of an area of theatre and live performance that is of significance to you. You will hone your research and critical analysis skills as you connect theory to relevant aspects of professional contemporary performance or practice.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

How you’re taught

On this course, you will spend your time in creative studio environments. Teaching and learning experiences will include:

  • studio days
  • presentations
  • independent projects
  • demonstrations
  • research
  • reflective journals
  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • study visits.

Assessment methods

Assessment is 100% through coursework. You’ll receive feedback throughout each module and will have opportunities to discuss feedback, identify areas of strength and weakness, and set personal goals. Depending on the module, you may be assessed through speculative design and live performances, artefacts, as well as presentations, written work and peer assessment.

  • Year 1 coursework (100%).
  • Year 2 coursework (100%).
  • Year 3 coursework (100%).

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (28%), independent study (72%).
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (23%), independent study (77%).
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%).

We're delighted to be ranked as one of the top 10 UK universities for Art & Design (The Complete University Guide 2020)

Careers and employability

Graduates have been employed as designers and assistant designers on a multitude of live productions or have gained employment in specific production roles with companies such as:

  • the English National Opera (drawing room)
  • National Theatre (scenic art)
  • Cameron Mackintosh (model-making).

Graduates have also freelanced alongside internationally renowned designers in and out of the UK and worked on gallery installations, festivals, in film and TV, and for events and as community artists and practitioners.

Connecting with industry

Recent live projects and collaborations have included:

  • Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
  • Nottingham Playhouse
  • Birmingham Opera Company
  • Nottingham Puppet Festival
  • City Arts Nottingham
  • The Workhouse, Southwell (National Trust)
  • Lakeside Arts Theatre
  • Metronome
  • TV Workshop

Industry experts who have recently shared their knowledge and experience with our students include:

  • Luke Halls, award winning video and projection designer
  • Neil Franklin, creative producer from Stage One
  • Richard Willacy, executive director, Birmingham Opera Company
  • International Opera Designer - Leslie Travers
  • Eco - scenographer- Andrea Carr
  • International exchanges and study trips

Recent visits have included:

  • Prague Quadriennial PQ 2019
  • full access backstage tours of Phantom Of The Opera, Les Misérables and Hamilton in London
  • Lady Macbeth of Mstensk, Birmingham Opera.
  • The course has exchange agreements with a number of institutions around the world, such as Ryerson University

93% of graduates from this course are employed or in further study within six months (DLHE survey 2016/17).

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBC or equivalent; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels  or equivalent qualifications; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths or Science grade C / 4.

Other requirements

All applications welcome

We welcome applications from prospective students with a range of qualifications and experience, and all are assessed on an individual basis. Mature applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria can still be considered providing they have relevant experience to compliment any qualifications.

All applicants will need to apply through UCAS and will be expected to present a portfolio at interview.

What are we looking for?

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our courses. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements, please visit our international qualifications page.

Other requirements

Foundation courses

If you need to do an art and design foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

English language requirements

If English isn't your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. You can check our language requirements and list of accepted English language tests. Your British Council office can tell you where you can take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test locally.

Next steps

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students, which are full of advice and information about the University.

If you need any more help or information, please contact our International team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can speak to one of our official NTU representatives for your country.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS. If your application is successful, you'll be invited to an interview where you'll need to bring with you your portfolio.

Download our portfolio checklist.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Keeping up to date

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Apply through UCAS. If your application is successful, you'll be invited to an interview where you'll need to bring with you your portfolio.

If you aren't a resident in the UK, we'll ask you to submit a digital portfolio in lieu of an interview.

Get some digital portfolio advice.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students, which are full of advice and information about the University.

If you need any more help or information, please contact our International team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, who are always happy to help. Or speak to one of our official NTU representatives for your country.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The annual fee for our undergraduate degree courses includes a number of items. In addition to expert tuition and access to our first-class workshop and IT resources, you'll receive:

  • mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events required as part of your core studies
  • receive £100 print and materials credit for each year of your course (for a maximum of three years) for use in the Bonington art shop and print facilities
  • materials for induction workshops and activities within the workshops and laboratories
  • personal protective equipment (PPE) as required
  • professional body course accreditation (where applicable)
  • infrastructure costs for final year Degree Shows within Nottingham (where applicable).

You are expected to purchase your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment, and consumables.

Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those international students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion, and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our International students page for information about fees, scholarships for international students, visas and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The annual fee for our undergraduate degree courses includes a number of items. In addition to expert tuition and access to our first class workshop and IT resources, you'll receive:

  • mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events required as part of your core studies
  • receive £100 print and materials credit for each year of your course (for a maximum of three years) for use in the Bonington art shop and print facilities
  • materials for induction workshops and activities within the workshops and laboratories
  • personal protective equipment (PPE) as required
  • professional body course accreditation (where applicable)
  • infrastructure costs for final year Degree Shows within Nottingham (where applicable).

You are expected to purchase your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment, and consumables.

Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418