What you'll study
This course will develop your prop making, scenery construction and scenic painting skills.
You will gain hands-on experience and learn from working practitioners. You will graduate with a forward-looking professional knowledge, based on traditional experience and practice as well as modern materials and emerging technologies.
This solid understanding of the technical arts combined with a core practical skills base can be applied across a wide range of roles, sectors and types of performance-based activity.
Why choose this course?
Gain construction skills in wood and metal (using hand tools and machinery). Learn scenic painting techniques and explore prop making in a range of materials. And develop advanced skills with computer-aided design (CAD), digital manufacturing and 3D modelling using resins and silicon
Learn from working professionals
Visiting tutors have included: Nigel Hook, freelance designer and Tony Award winner, The Play That Goes Wrong; Jane Broomfield, Co-designer/Art Director, ITV and BBC; Robert Allsopp, Costume props specialist; Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey production design (residency), Royal National Theatre; Zoe Ross freelance Prop Maker, Royal Opera House
Spacious and equipped workshops on campus, which include CAD facilities, paint frame and specialist fibreglass and plaster room
Professional industry experience
You will undertake at least one industry placement while on the course. Recent placements have included the Royal Opera House, Polka Theatre, Oily Cart Theatre Company, Emergency Exit Arts, Nottingham Playhouse, and commercial scenic workshops such as Scott Fleary (London), Rocket Scenery (Nottingham), Visual Scene (Leicester).
Develop your own areas of specialism through individual project work, productions and work placement. Creating your own unique portfolio, growing your experience and preparing you for a career in the theatre and performance industries
You will manufacture scenic elements to live briefs and see them used in fully realised productions in College and London venues. Gaining an understanding of collaborating with designers, directors and other courses as part of a creative team
Course content is regularly reviewed to keep it relevant and current. Course modules are therefore subject to change.
- Introduction to scenic construction – the workshop environment, scenic construction techniques in wood and metal
- Introduction to scenic painting
- Introduction to three-dimensional modelling with materials including clay, plaster, latex, polystyrene, solvents and glues
- Introduction to stagecraft, technical drawing and CAD
- Theatre making practice – implement the set design for one or more realised productions
- Research and analysis of performance and the theatre industry
- Materials, techniques and performance – learn about complex manufacturing techniques and staging technologies
- Specialise in either prop-making and scenic painting or construction and CAD
- Industry study – researching the industry through a work placement
- Production Practice – workshop assistant on two realised productions
- Research and context
- Production practice: scenic manufacture – manufacture scenic elements to a brief, for a public production
- Production practice: scenic management – undertake the role of either a Scenic Workshop Manager or Scenic Project Manager
- Professional preparation
- Independent research project
- Graduate exhibition
Teaching and assessment methods
In your first 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
In your second year, you will complete around 160 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities and 1040 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 30 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities and 1170 hours of independent learning on projects, productions, placements or self-directed study. Assessment will be through: Coursework, presentations, assessed tutorials and portfolios
Get a flavour
Your future career
We aim to put you in front of and amongst the profession. This includes the opportunity to network and undertake a professional placement, as well as introducing your work to the industry at our graduate exhibition in London.
We will also help you plan your career and build a portfolio working on productions and projects either in the College or in external venues.
Head of Operations, Cardiff Theatrical Services
Piers Ross and Danny Hayter
Managing partners at All Scenes All Props - specialist builders for Theatre and the Arts
Freelance Prop Maker, at the Royal Opera House
Production design assistant - design residency - at the Royal National Theatre
The skills you develop on this course will prepare you to join the next generation of Scenic Artists, Prop Makers, Scenic Carpenters, Scenic Metal Fabricators and Scenic Construction Drafters and enable you to pursue a rewarding career in the performance and media industries including theatre, film, television, museum displays, and themed attractions.
And 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:
- Carpenters and joiners
- Interior decoration designers
- Production managers and directors in construction
- Painters and decorators
- Furniture makers and other craft woodworkers
- Skilled tradesperson
- Education support assistants
- Freelancers and Creative start-ups
Meet the staff
Lecturer in Scenic Arts
Clare Jose has been painting since graduating from the University of Chester in 1997. She started with the Cheshire Youth Theatre and then went on to train further at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, specialising in scenic art.Read their full profile
How to join
For 2022 entry, please apply via UCAS by the UCAS deadline on 26 January to guarantee audition or portfolio.
Institution code: 10005523
Course code: W4W7
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.*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 audition/portfolio review.
PortfolioPortfolio Audition Fee Exemption
Please contact us at [email protected] for information on entry criteria if you are applying from outside the UK or require assistance
Mode of study
Course Fees (2022 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.
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:
- Theatre tickets: £100-£150 at the beginning of each year
- Course materials (books, play texts, art and model making materials): c.£50 per term
- Stationery: £60 per year
- On arrival, £50 for your Health and Safety pack, which includes; Safety glasses, work gloves and a respirator