What you'll study
This course combines costume-making techniques with core backstage skills. You learn the basics then develop your making skills producing costumes to be worn and performed in – not just to sit on a stand.
You develop practical backstage skills like costume maintenance, alterations and dressing, working on full-scale productions initially as a wardrobe assistant and then a supervisor. You learn in dedicated workrooms that include pattern cutting tables, half and full-scale stands, fitting rooms, laundry and dying facilities and your own dedicated sewing machine. Trips and visiting lecturers who are all working professionals underpin teaching, and the course also includes drawing skills.
Clearing applications are now open. Apply through clearing here.
Why choose this course?
Learn costume construction, pattern-cutting, corsetry, dancewear, millinery and wig dressing from specialists and working professionals
Professionally equipped workrooms with pattern cutting tables, dedicated machines, half and full-scale stands, fitting rooms, laundry and dying facilities, industrial steamers/irons
Develop the backstage and practical skills needed to supervise and manage a large or small professional wardrobe department. You can also undertake a placement during your course
Working with designers, directors and performers on live shows within the College, in London and beyond you gain a crucial understanding of creative and technical teams through hands-on experience
Learn from working professionals
Recently includes modules taught by a freelancer working on 'Call the Midwife' and 'The Witcher'. And 'Meet the Professionals' talks from Rianna Charles (Fantastic Beasts), freelance maker Kirsty Oriel (Marvel and Bridgerton) and head of men's costumier at CosProp Ross Braganza
Employers of recent graduates include English National Opera, Royal National Theatre, The Globe, numerous London theatres, ITV, Warner Brother Studios, Disney corporation, Vivienne Westwood and Chanel Couturiers
Get a flavour
Course content is regularly reviewed to keep it relevant and current. Course modules are therefore subject to change.
- Basic construction techniques and pattern cutting – both stand cutting and flat drafting
- History of costume
- Research and analysis of performance and the theatre industry
- Collaboration module with Costume Designers
- Introduction to theatre production
- Foundation wear and corsetry
- Practical costume making project
- Specialist skills: dancewear, millinery, dying and breaking down, wig dressing (with visiting specialists brought in for each of these)
- Research and context
- Introduction to production practice including Alterations module
- Two show roles as a wardrobe assistant, including budgeting and dressing
- Costume for film and TV
- Historical half-scale costume project
- Two show roles as a costume supervisor or costume maker
- Independent research project
- Industry placement
- Professional preparation
- Graduate exhibition
Teaching and assessment methods
In your first year, you will complete around 430 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities and 770 hours of independent learning on projects, productions, placements or self-directed study. Assessment will be through: Coursework, presentations, assessed tutorials and portfolios
In your second year, you will complete around 430 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities and 770 hours of independent learning on projects, productions, placements or self-directed study. Assessment will be through: Coursework, presentations, assessed tutorials and portfolios; Continuous practical assessment
In your third year, you will complete around 350 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities and 850 hours of independent learning on projects, productions, placements or self-directed study. Assessment will be through: Coursework, presentations, assessed tutorials and portfolios; Continuous practical assessment
Your future career
We aim to put you in front of and amongst the profession. This includes the opportunity to network and undertake a placement as well as introducing your work to the industry at our graduate exhibition in London.
Costume Technician, Disney Cruise Line
Wardrobe Assistant Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Costume Trainee at Warner Bros Studios
Wardrobe Mistress School of Rock Tour
Studying an Arts related subject gives you a wide range of skills that can be put to use in many careers. Recent graduates have gone on to become:
- Costume makers/ supervisors (for theatre, opera, circus, film and cruise liners)
- Tailors and dressmakers
- Costume standby and trainees in Film and TV
- Clothing designers
- Product related designers
- Merchandisers and window dressers
- Independent retail owners
- Textile and design technology teachers
- Buyers and procurement officers
Meet the staff
Subject Leader Costume Production
Natasha Dodsworth has the unique experience of having trained on the course she now leads. Since graduating in 1999, she has worked extensively in the costume world in roles as diverse as personal tailoress to pop star Prince, to a wardrobe mistress, to the foremost touring chamber opera company in Britain.Read their full profile
How to join
For 2022 entry, please apply via UCAS.com
Institution code: R51
Course code: W451
64 UCAS points*
This is equivalent to two Cs at ‘A’ level or one Merit and two Passes at BTEC (QCF) National Diploma or equivalent.*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 portfolio review.
Our Portfolio page gives an overview of what we will ask you to provide once we receive your application.Portfolio
Fee Exemption Criteria
- You audition as part of a progression agreement.
- Your household income is under £25,000 per year.
- You are in receipt of benefits including disability benefits: Universal Credit, PIP, DLA.
- You are Care Experienced (Care Leaver/in the care of your Local Authority).
- You have Caring Responsibilities (Young Carer/ Carer).
- You are irreconcilably Estranged with no contact with parents/family due to a relationship breakdown living independently without financial/emotional support from parents/family.
- You can offer other evidence of financial hardship.
- You are being auditioned overseas.
If you think you are eligible for the above fee waivers, our admissions team will be able to provide you with more details when you apply.
Please be aware there is an equipment list for this course. You may also incur additional costs as part of the course, as an indication this could include the following:
- Pattern cutting materials and sewing kits £200 per year
- Backstage kit bag and blacks c.£100
- Stationery: £60 per year
- Reading and reference materials: £50 per term
- Theatre tickets: £100 at the beginning of each year