Design for Theatre and Performance (Set and Costume) BA (Hons)

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About this course


3 years

Term Start

September 2021

Entry Requirements

We are still accepting applications for Autumn 2021 entry, please go to to apply.

64* UCAS points
This is equivalent to two C’s at ‘A’ level or one Merit and two Passes at BTEC (QCF) National Diploma or equivalent.

If you have any queries, please do contact us on

* We offer places based upon your future potential. We may offer you a place based on lower UCAS points than shown here, or an offer that is not linked to UCAS points if we have evidence of your potential from your application or interview/audition.

This course was formerly titled BA (Hons) Theatre Design.

The Theatre Design course offers a highly creative preparation for a successful career in theatre and associated live and recorded performance events. You will experience the total design process from the initial creative dialogue, through visualisation to full performance.

Placing equal emphasis on costume and set design, you will learn to respond visually and creatively to stimuli ranging from text and character to music, physicality and time. The course will also develop your professional awareness and understanding of the responsibilities of the designer through a comprehensive programme of classes, projects and public performances.

Why choose this course?

  • Investigate the fundamentals of set and costume design and undertake design projects led by practising professional designers and directors

  •  Explore the creative potential of design as an essential part of a wide range of theatre performance forms.

  •  Design at least two realised productions in fully-equipped public venues on campus and in London.

  •  Create your ideas in dedicated design studios, and engage in creative team projects with students from other programmes.

  •  Develop skills in drawing, model making and computer visualisation, and extend your learning through work placements in the industry or a period of study abroad.

  •  Share classes and projects with students from other programmes from the School of Design, Management and Technical Arts to learn about the performance, arts and events industries and how to use experimentation, enquiry and creative research in your work, and prepare to build a successful career.

  • We recognise the importance of face to face teaching for practice-based programmes, and as the pandemic progresses, we will continue to deliver face to face teaching whenever possible. All of our programmes safely delivered face to face teaching in Autumn term 2020 with rigorous COVID 19 safety procedures in place.

Watch our recent webinar

Employability & Industry

Our BA (Hons) Theatre Design graduates leave as imaginative, practical and creative collaborators and are sought after within the wider performance and related industries.

Their work is showcased to industry contacts and future employers in the Graduate Exhibition. Graduates work as designers and assistant designers in a range of performance-making areas including main house and studio productions, devised work, opera, theatre for young audiences and intergenerational companies, film and television. Many have used their skills within event design and commercials.

Graduates from this course leave as confident designers and theatre makers.  Skills they acquire have enabled them to work as designers for a full range of theatre, film and event production companies. Graduates also work as design assistants, costume assistants and model makers. Several have also taken up postgraduate studies.

Alumni Success

• Emma Child, Head of Design Studio, London 2012 Olympics

• Liz Essex, Costume Designer, The Silent Hours, Costume Assistant, Spectre, Suffragette, Genius

• Florence Hazard, Designer, The Incredible Inspection of Inspector Spector, The Watermill Theatre

• Andy Sinclair Harris, Concept Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering, Hong Kong

• Lucy Sierra, Designer, Another World, National Theatre

Graduate Occupations

Studying an Arts related subject provides our students with a wide range of skills. Recent graduates have progressed into the following occupations:

  • Clothing designers
  • Set designers (stage etc.)
  • Interior decoration designers
  • Draughtspersons
  • Artists

Source: DLHE Data 2013/2014 to 2016/2017


"My training at Rose Bruford College gave me all the essential skills needed to make Theatre Design a career. It was very practically minded and prepared us for the business side of things as well as giving us the freedom to explore design skills and ideas throughout the three years. We also had invaluable opportunities to work with directors and outside companies which led on to a lot of my early work."
Florence Hazard, Theatre Designer, 2012 Graduate

The programme has links with the National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Oily Cart, Manchester Exchange Theatre, Punchdrunk, London Bubble, Fisher Productions, Almeida Theatre, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, Emergency Exit Arts.

Students can visit a range of universities, theatres and companies for work placements and study exchange, including through the Erasmus grant scheme in Europe and our partner universities in the USA.

"Rose Bruford College immerses its theatre design students in the rich creative atmosphere of a busy drama school from the outset. This encouraged me always to link my design ideas with practical ways of realising them, since we often worked with the other courses on real performances.   It also set me up with contacts and friends across many disciplines of theatre, which allowed me to go straight into work after graduating and continues to provide new collaborative opportunities even now."

Victoria Johnson, Set and Costume Designer, 2007 Graduate

Fee and Application Information

  • Includes Work Placement
  • Mode of Study: Full Time

How to Apply

2021 Entry

Please apply by the UCAS deadline on 29 January to guarantee an audition/interview invite. 

UK/Republic of Ireland Applicants.

International Applicants

Please e-mail if you require assistance.

There is the opportunity for international students to study this programme as part of a semester or year abroad. Please click here for full details.

2021/2022 Fees

UK/Republic of Ireland Students - Up to £9,250
International Students - £18,000

For this course, International Students (non-UK/EU residents) are eligible to apply for a bursary of £6,000 over three years. Please enquire when you apply. 

Please click here for information about Student Loans and Bursaries.


Equipment List
Please click here to view the Equipment List for this programme, which provides an indication of additional costs relating to the course.

Recognising Prior Learning

We understand that learning may take place in different settings and that you may want to use the skills and knowledge you have gained elsewhere to count towards your learning with us. To support this, we have a detailed policy and procedure to guide and help you if you wish to ask for prior learning to be taken into account. Please e-mail for more information.

Cecilia Trono applied to the College for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). We were able to take into account her previous studies in a related subject in France, which were recognised as equivalent to the first year of the our BA (Hons) Theatre Design programme. As a result, Cecilia was able to enter directly into the second year of the programme (level 5).

"I had already been studying during 3 years after the French Equivalent of A levels. After a Foundation Year and a two years Degree in Interior and Environmental Design in Paris, I was convinced I wanted to study Theatre Design.

Rose Bruford College seemed to be an amazing place to study. I knew the fact it is a Drama School and would enable students to be part of a small theatre community working collaboratively together throughout and making essential contacts for our future careers."
Cecilia Trono 

As part of this programme you will share classes and projects with students from other programmes from the School of Design, Management and Technical Arts to learn about the performance, arts and events industries and how to use experimentation, enquiry and creative research in your work, and prepare to build a successful career.

Course content

Year 1 (Level 4):

  • Introduction to theatre design - the essentials of design for performance, the principles of dramatic space and performance narrative
  • Conceptual design projects
  • The collaborative process between designer and director
  • Developing costume designs for performance, and the creative relationship between costume maker and designer
  • Skills – storyboarding, model boxes, costume drawing, technical drawing, CAD
  • Research and analysis of performance and the theatre industry


Year 2 (Level 5):

  • Collaborative project - design as an ongoing collaborative process from project inception through to performance
  • Industry placement
  • Conceptual design project
  • Practical considerations - budgets, performance venues, transport, staffing
  • Design Practice – small scale realised design, in collaboration with students from other programmes
  • Research and context


Year 3 (Level 6):

  • Design practice - designing a full scale public theatre production
  • Contexts of design – investigating the designer’s role for performance forms such as opera and dance
  • Professional preparation
  • Independent research project
  • Graduate exhibition



"The theatre design course at Rose Bruford was brilliant because it gave me hands-on practical experience, I left with a portfolio of real work, not just theorised or hypothetical projects. It was great collaborating with the other courses to put on real shows as it really demonstrated how the collaborative process works and how, as a designer, it's really important to make practical decisions as well as creative ones. This is something I deal with every day now in my job as a costume assistant in TV and film, how we can make something work without compromising the designer’s vision."
Liz Essex, Costume Designer, 2011 Graduate

We champion diversity because a rich mix of people makes Rose Bruford College a more productive and creative place to study and work; and we champion equality because it is the right thing to do.

Related Information

Pip Nash

Recent visiting professional tutors have included:

Laura Farnworth
Artistic Director Undercurrents Theatre

Michael Walling
Artistic Director, Border Crossings

Laura Keefe
Freelance Director, Royal National Theatre, Young Vic Directors Programme

Roland Smith
Co- Artistic Director, Theatre Delicatessen

Yoon Bae
Freelance Designer

Jessica Worrall
Associate Designer The People Show

Joanna Close
Costume Maker for Theatre and Film

Nick Murray
CAD Manager

Oli Smart 
Folded Feather Puppet Company

Ros Philips
Freelance Director and Movement Specialist


Keep up to date with the latest news and events from this course across our social media channels through #rbcDTP


We hold webinars through the year. Please visit our webinar page for our latest schedule and to register. 


Visit our Facebook page


Here are some projects our Alumni have worked on:

Florence Watts, 2014 graduate - Assistant Designer to Fly Davis at the National Theatre.

Amanda Mascarenhas, 2012 graduate – Designer at Magic Me

Victoria Johnstone, 2007 graduate - Set and costume designer for Rapunzel and designer for Crying in the Wilderness Productions

Emma Child, 2004 graduate -  Set designer for Mobo Awards 2015

Mauricio Elorriaga, 1998 graduate – Course tutor at Duffield Studio