The Master of Design for Performance is a unique two-year program for designers and visual artists who wish to develop the skills necessary for a professional career in designing scenery, props and/or costumes for live performance.
The intensive program combines theoretical and hands-on training with the core emphasis on gaining the knowledge, skills and creative capacity required to practice your own craft professionally. As collaboration is at the heart of design for performance, your creative ideas will develop through artistic collaborations with directors, choreographers, designers and other performance makers at the VCA, providing a unique opportunity to develop creative partnerships that can lead to future collaborations in the profession.
Through formal classes, workshops and studio-based learning you will develop a deep understanding of the role of design in performance and develop your own unique approach to this process. You are provided with the tuition and facilities to develop advanced skills in a range of 2D and 3D visualisation techniques both by hand and using new technologies. These skills are employed to document and communicate ideas, and produce graphic props and projected image on stage.
You will also be supported to find industry placements in the area of your choice, where you can observe and assist professional designers in the performing arts industry. These placements can be with companies or individual designers locally, nationally or internationally. Through these industry placements and designing productions staged within VCA you will hone your skills and develop a portfolio of work in a variety of performance styles that can include theatre, dance, music theatre, opera and other cross discipline productions.
In this one-year program you will encounter and explore dramaturgy beyond work with written texts and literary play scripts to encompass the contexts of dance, hybrid works, installation, community-based and performance art work. The program provides opportunities for you to develop your potential for artistic leadership and attain in-depth knowledge of dramaturgical thinking and practices.
The course is underpinned by a commitment to the pursuit of artistic excellence, collaboration and interdisciplinarity within established and emerging local, national and international dramaturgical practices. Students collaborate with other VCA postgraduate disciplines and engage with writers, directors, designers, choreographers, performance-makers and actors on a range of projects in an intensive training environment.
The course provides a balance of theory and practice across two semesters through laboratory-based workshops, seminars, lectures, self-directed exercises, tutorials, practical master classes and an independent project. An intensive first semester focuses on skills and research training, including a discrete subject where you will closely engage with the dramaturgical expertise of Melbourne’s diverse theatre industry. The second and final semester allows more independent practice and research, building reflective performance practitioners with a high level of research and practice skills.