Design is integral in all parts of live or virtual experiences. This cross-disciplinary course allows you to explore and then specialise in design for set and costume, lighting (live events, festivals and performances), film, virtual production, gaming or virtual reality experiences.
Working collaboratively on group projects, you will explore a wide range of techniques and processes to develop your skills and understand more about the career paths you are interested in.
You will be taught by a wide range of subject experts and build an understanding of how designers fit into the wider context of a project team. Developing your communication and collaboration skills to ensure that the design process from concept to delivery is as smooth as possible.
In the first year, you will not only pursue the craft and techniques of your chosen discipline but constantly share projects and collaborative learning. From the start of the second year, you will follow specific, negotiated pathways to emerge with a Design for Performance degree in your chosen specialism.
Why choose this course?
Professional expertise (teaching and career)
All visiting tutors are industry professionals working on a wide range of media including live performance, film, TV, games.
Growing career opportunities
Gain experience of new technologies and platforms, collaborating just as you will in the real world. All while gaining a breadth of knowledge and insight into techniques you can put to use across live performances, film, TV, immersive experiences, virtual productions, virtual reality, mixed reality.
Practice based learning
We provide the space to experiment as you develop and learn through practice. You will build a portfolio working on fully realised productions or projects. Our industry links introduce you to an invaluable professional network and students in year 2 and 3 often work as freelancers alongside studying.
Collaborative and creative practice
Collaborate with other designers, creative technologists and performers to present original work using a wide range of platforms.
Flexible learning pathways
You will experience different design approaches on your first year that will inform your choice to focus on your second and third year.
Professional standard studio and production facilities
Alongside mastering industry standard software, you will have access to a Virtual Production stage, a specialist motion capture, virtual reality, green screen technologies, lighting labs and design studios on campus.
The course is an exploration of design fundamentals with a mix of specialist training, collaborative working and practical projects.
In the first year, you will have the chance to explore the pathways of design offered (as well as your chosen discipline). By the start of the second year you will focus on your selected discipline, working towards a degree in Design for Performance in your chosen pathway.
Each design pathway has clear and specific ideologies while also embracing a collaborative ethos that will allow you to fully explore the field of Design and make informed choices about developing your own individual career specialisms.
This pathway is focused on exploring a wide range of digital content creation and media formats (photography, videography, 3D modelling, animation, motion capture, illustration, live camera… ) and its application on live performance or recorded media (e.g. Projection Mapping, Film, Online…).
This pathway is focused on Lighting Design. Lighting Designers control how we see the world, whether on screen, on a stage or walking down the street. They create stories and inspire emotions. This course’s design-led approach underpins hands-on learning, which defines the practical and technical craft needed for a career in Lighting.
Set and Costume
This pathway focusses on the physical qualities of design for performance, and the crafts needed to communicate your ideas. We will consider the qualities of set and costume design and how they inform and support the stories they are telling. Projects will explore the elements of set, object and costume, to equip you with the skills for a broad range of careers in performance and recorded media design.
Visual Design for Public Spaces
This pathway explores how we use visual design to enhance, shape and enrich public spaces. You will learn about the use of lighting and digital technologies in the build environment, for example the design of exterior lighting systems to enhance a city scape, or the impact lighting has on airport terminals or museums.
This pathway is focused on devising and creating immersive experiences using digital platforms (exploring the creative aspect but also the complex technology behind it) including Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, game engines, motion capture technology and Virtual Production.
Teaching and assessment methods
In your first year, you will complete around 360 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities and 880 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 300 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities and 1020 hours of independent learning on projects, productions, placements or self-directed study. Assessment will be through: Coursework, presentations, assessed tutorials and portfolios.
In your third year, you will complete around 160 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities and 1140 hours of independent learning on projects, productions, placements or self-directed study. Assessment will be through: Coursework, presentations, assessed tutorials and portfolios.
Your future career
This is a course for designers and creative technologists committed to an innovative professional practice. Demand for theatre and live event designers has surged as people return to live experiences and making memories in the post-pandemic world of entertainment, whilst the huge growth in the use of mixed reality, immersive experiences and motion capture technology has created demand in industry for graduates with experience of the facilities we have on campus.
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. Previous Design course graduates include:
Jessica Hung Han Yun
Lighting Designer, includes work at Royal Court, Lyric Hammersmith, Sheffield Crucible, Manchester Royal Exchange, Donmar Warehouse, Edinburgh Festival
Assistant Designer to Fly Davis at the National Theatre
International rock events and tours including for designer for Fever 333 tour and technician at Reading & Leeds Festival 2018
Andy Sinclair Harris
Concept Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering, Hong Kong
Charlie Morgan Jones
Wagner Ring Cycle, Avenue Q, Derren Brown: Underground, London Fashion Week, Eden Project - Rainforest at Christmas
Senior Lighting Designer, Nulty+
Senior Lighting Designer, Studio Fractal
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:
- Lighting Designer
- Associated Lighting Designer
- Head of Lighting
- Technical Manager
- Set Designer
- Assistant Designer
- Model Maker
- Event Designer
- Costume Designer
- Video Designer
- Games Designer
- Motion Capture Specialist
- Digital Character Designer
Meet the staff
Subject Leader in Visual ProductionRead their profile
Subject Leader Lighting DesignRead their profile
Lecturer in Performance DesignRead their profile
Programme Director, MA Light in Performance. Subject Leader, Visual Design for Public SpacesRead their profile
Lecturer in Lighting DesignRead their profile
Subject Leader in Visual Production
Subject Leader in Visual Production.Read their full profile
Subject Leader Lighting Design
Subject Leader, Lighting Design.Read their full profile
Lecturer in Performance Design
Lecturer, Performance Design.Read their full profile
Programme Director, MA Light in Performance. Subject Leader, Visual Design for Public Spaces
Subject Leader, Visual Design for Public Spaces.Read their full profile
Lecturer in Lighting Design
Lecturer in Lighting DesignRead their full profile
How to join
For 2023 entry, please apply via UCAS by the UCAS deadline on 25th January 2023 to guarantee an interview.
Institution code: R51
Course code: W461
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
3 or 4 years
Mode of study
Full or part time
Course Fees (2023 Entry)
UK/Republic of Ireland students (Fee per year)
International students (Fee per year)
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.
There will be 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:
Theatre tickets: £100-£150 at the beginning of each year
Course materials (books, play texts, art and model making materials): about £50 per term
Stationery: £60 per year