Light in Performance MA at Rose Bruford College

What you'll study

The Light in Performance MA offers a unique opportunity to practically explore current uses and applications of light as a material for performance. Learning happens through a series of experimental workshops in a fully equipped studio theatre, observations/placements, and specialist training with industry partners.

The programme is aimed at lighting specialists who want to develop and expand their practice in designing with light and non-specialists who want to enhance their knowledge of working with light, such as directors, designers, choreographers,  dancers, musicians and artists.

Please note: Course content is regularly reviewed to make it relevant and current. Course modules are, therefore, subject to change

Light in Performance MA at Rose Bruford College

Why choose this course?

Expert training

You will have the opportunity to learn and work with world-leading designers, learning from their working methods and practices, before moving on to develop and test your own practice as a performance maker working with light


The programme includes up to 8 weeks of practical workshops in fully-equipped performance spaces, led by four world-leading lighting designers


You will carefully explore the creation
of visual works through a range of research-led, process-driven working methods

Independent learning

On completion of the course, you may wish to work as an independent lighting designer for performance or return to your own specialist practice with an enhanced understanding of how light can be used in performance

Practice-based opportunities

Explore collaborative and interdisciplinary creative processes, work placements at a range of partner organisations both in the UK and abroad, and an opportunity to further develop your personal practice through an individual or collaborative realised lighting design project

World class visiting tutors

Beyond the lighting mentors for module 702 (see below), these include Patrick Woodroffe, Joe Hill-Gibbins, Professor Roger Kneebone, Durham Marenghi, Carol Scott.

Get a flavour

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Course breakdown

There are 4 modules in the MA over 13 months.

Ways of Looking

A taught module exploring context and inter-disciplinary working methods, including practical workshops.


MA Light in Performance student on stage for a lighting display

Ways of Lighting

A practice-based module, led in 2022-23 by Paule Constable, Michael Hulls, Lucy Carter and Andi Watson. Up to two one-week workshops with each designer, exploring their working methods and processes.


Light in Performance MA at Rose Bruford College

Ways of Working

A module examining different ways of working, preparing you for your future practice. You may undertake a placement, arranged in liaison with students, designers, and industry partners.


Light in Performance MA at Rose Bruford College

Final Project

An independent realised lighting project supported by a documented process of research and investigation.


Creative Lighting Control Rose Bruford College

Teaching and assessment methods

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, performances, presentations, assessed tutorials and portfolios.

Your Future Career

There is a wide range of possible career options once you leave the course. You may continue working with one of the lighting designers you have met on the course, as an Associate or Assistant. You may have started working collaboratively with other performance makers whilst on the course, and you want to start your own performance company or work as a freelance lighting designer. You may wish to return to your own practice with an enhanced understanding of light.

Alumni success

Joshua Harriette

Lighting Designer: Anthea Hamilton/ Hayward Gallery, Jack Phillps Dance, Nua Dance/BBC.

Domino Mannheim

Assistant Lighting Designer to Paule Constable (Tenebrae/Brighton Festival) and Andi Watson (The Smile/Radiohead).

Matthew Carnazza

Lighting Designer: Dance Passion (BBC/Sadlers Wells). Lighting Programme: This is My Room (clod ensemble). View From the Bridge (West End).

Careers options

Lighting Designer for theatre/live music/dance. Work across both commercial and independent sector. Light Art.Theme Parks/clubs/technology drive/digital light works.

Student testimonials

Some universities tend to focus only on theatre, however, Light in Performance MA provides experiences in dance, theatre, concerts and more. This is very important for early years lighting practitioners.

I was previously interested in working for the concert touring industry, but as I experienced rock festivals and rock concerts, I changed my mind and was more interested in musical theatre. Real-world experiences help decide your future career, and it really helped my career decisions.
Jason Ahn
Light in Performance MA 2023
I absolutely loved my experience on the MA programme where people from diverse backgrounds and nationalities share a passion for light. The best part was learning from the world's most renowned light designers and working with them in various fields, such as theatre, live music, and installations.

It's an incredible opportunity to develop my professional skills and connect with industry professionals. Bruford's strong connections with the creative industry, both in the UK and internationally, aided me in finding work after completing the MA and starting my career.
Henry Rehberg
Light in Performance MA

How to join

Institution code: Not required for this course.

Course code: Not required for this course.

Entry requirements

Applicants for Masters programmes will be expected to have a good undergraduate degree in a related subject area. The College also encourages applications from those without formal qualifications who may be accepted based on professional experience.

Applications remain open until the course is full. However, we understand the unique circumstances of international applicants and accept their late applications to our postgraduate programmes until 31 July.

Please get in touch with us at [email protected] for information on entry criteria if you are applying from outside the UK. You can also visit our international students page.

Application Guidance

To apply, please submit an online application.

You will be asked to provide a portfolio submission with your application form.

Portfolio Guidance

There is no expected standard or format for your portfolio, so it can be in any shape or form, although ideally digital so you can e-mail it as a PDF (if you have a website you would like to use as your portfolio, please include the link on the portfolio submission form).

The aim for the portfolio is to reflect on how you work with light – this may be through sketches, lighting plans, found images, written text. It can be anything that you feel gives an adequate sense of how you work with, and think about, light.


If successful at the first portfolio submission stage, you will be invited to attend a live online interview. The outcome will either be an offer made or unsuccessful application.

Funding and Financial Support

Course Summary


13 months

Mode of study

Full time

Start date

October 2024

Course Type

Postgraduate Course

Course Fees (2024 Entry)

UK & Republic of Ireland Students


International Students


Additional Costs