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Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Full Time MA Degrees

  • Bristol Old Vic Theatre School×
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This is a four term course (over about 15 months) that runs from Easter to the following July. We take four directing students each year and expect applicants to have significant experience of theatre including directing. Read more
This is a four term course (over about 15 months) that runs from Easter to the following July. We take four directing students each year and expect applicants to have significant experience of theatre including directing. You will have the opportunity to work with students of other disciplines – including actors, designers and technicians – as well as with experienced staff, visiting tutors and theatre professionals.

NB This course is only for candidates possessing a previous degree and substantial previous professional experience.

Please note Applications are a year in advance of the course start date.

Course Outline

Term 1
The first term comprises of a variety of workshops and projects that build skills needed to be an effective, confident and creative drama director. These include:

An overview of the ecology of the theatre industry.
Workshops with professional directors.
Text work.
Involvement in a range of acting techniques (physical theatre, combat, approaching Shakespeare etc).
Lighting/sound and other technical skills.
Design and model making.
Workshops in auditioning.
Observing actors’ classes.
Working with design students on ‘notional projects’.
Observing production weeks on shows in the professional venues we work in.
An introduction to TV directing course.
The term culminates in a presentation of a theoretical production. Each directing student selects a play and prepares for production. You present research and creative ideas, describe the approach that you are taking to the play and show a model box and costume drawings that you have made to a panel of industry professionals. You are then given actors and lead a short rehearsal of a scene from your chosen play.

Terms 2, 3 and 4
Over the following academic year (so from September to July) each directing student has an individually structured timetable allowing you to be involved in a variety of projects and productions. These include:

A text project: Where you work as director with a cast of final year acting students to prepare and present a play to staff and industry professionals (but not the public).

Assistant Directing: You would normally work as an assistant director on two or three theatre school productions, a television project and a radio play. You would be expected to help with research, attend production and design meetings and take some rehearsals under the supervision of the director.

Placements: There may be the opportunity for a placement at a theatre – including Bristol Old Vic Theatre with whom we have a strong working relationship. Recent theatre companies that directors have had placements at include Birmingham Rep, Hull Truck & Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory.

Directing A Production: You will direct a play at a local Bristol venue using final year acting students. Recent venues have been the Alma Tavern Theatre and The Brewery Theatre (part of the Tobacco Factory). It will be a play that you select (with guidance given and parameters set by BOVTS).

There are three compulsory components on the MA in Drama Directing Course. These are:

Assistant Director; theatre
Assistant Director; radio/TV
Directing a Production.

PLEASE NOTE THAT APPLICATIONS ARE FOR APRIL 2016 ENTRY AND WILL CLOSE ON 27TH FEBRUARY 2015 AT 4PM.

Offline Applications
Please contact:The Admissions Office, 1-2 Downside Road, Bristol BS8 2XF.

Tel: 0117 973 3535.
Email: .

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This is an intensive, vocational course with strong professional links to the industry, offering a maximum of four students, with high levels of painting and drawing skills, the opportunity to develop their careers as scenic artists. Read more
This is an intensive, vocational course with strong professional links to the industry, offering a maximum of four students, with high levels of painting and drawing skills, the opportunity to develop their careers as scenic artists. The skills and techniques acquired on this course are to the level necessary for theatre, television, film and animation industries..

During the year students acquire an understanding of professional practice and standards, and gain in-depth skills and experience in scenic art techniques and their application, combined with the practice of managing a scenic art department.

The Course has 3 very intensive terms during which students paint the sets for the School’s six main house public productions, offering them the opportunity to see their finished work used on stage in a wide range of public performances and venues. Teaching is led by the School’s Head of Scenic Art in collaboration with visiting industry professionals who provide master-classes in a range of skills and techniques that include; life drawing, portraiture, perspective, marbling, wood-graining, polystyrene carving and painting for animation. The scenic art students work collaboratively with the School’s other production departments, and most especially with design students. Furthering their introduction to the industry, work placements with principal companies are arranged during the course; particular attention is placed on students developing their own professional portfolio. Upon graduation students will showcase their work in a public exhibition and be interviewed by some of the UK’s leading industry practitioners. In a freelance industry most of our graduates begin working as assistants for scenic artists, scenic workshops and large theatre companies, eventually becoming supervising scenic artists themselves.

Recent graduate employment; The Royal Opera House, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Cardiff Theatrical Services, The Royal National Theatre, Northern Ballet, TR2 Plymouth, Richard Nutbourne - Cool Flight Ltd, Cameron Macintosh's National Tour of ‘Mary Poppins’, Disney's ‘Aladdin’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ for Warner Brothers. Film work includes; Wes Anderson's ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ and ‘Isle of Dogs’ (still in production) Tim Burton's ‘Frankenweenie’, Aardman Animations' ‘Shaun the Sheep’, ‘Pirates’ and ‘Early Man’ (still in production). TV work includes 'Will' for TNT and ‘Crazy Face’ for Netflix.

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Created to challenge and inspire the next generation of theatre designers, the Theatre Design MA course at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School delivers intensive vocational training, enabling talented designers to develop their creative and technical ability in set and costume design for performance. Read more
Created to challenge and inspire the next generation of theatre designers, the Theatre Design MA course at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School delivers intensive vocational training, enabling talented designers to develop their creative and technical ability in set and costume design for performance.

The Theatre Design MA course has just four places on offer in each intake, students receive focused individual mentoring and support from the BOVTS team and high-profile visiting professionals, all set in the environment of an integrated company staging fourteen productions a year.

The course duration is four terms; starting in April the course runs until July the following year.

The full time course is aimed at multi-skilled postgraduate level students. We encourage applicants with a range of experience and previous training in Theatre, Art and Design, (Architecture, Costume, Graphics, Interiors, Film Design, Painting, Sculpture, Drama and Theatre). We do not limit entry to students with previous training, although the majority of applicants come from degree courses. A comprehensive portfolio of artwork is required at interview.

Collaborative working with students from a range of disciplines at BOVTS, design students are offered at least three leading design positions on public productions at a variety of respected venues – from The Bristol Old Vic Theatre to the Brewery Theatre.

Master-classes and workshops with visiting professional practitioners help build a thorough understanding of the subject, these include script analysis, life and figure drawing, model making, technical drawing, CAD, Photoshop and model photography. Specialist lectures cover theatre design and costume history. Research and practical work are supported by site and production visits including trips to theatre design events and exhibitions.

An extensive portfolio of industry-standard work can be achieved over the course of four terms, including staged productions and theoretical projects. Students leave BOVTS with the skills, knowledge and confidence to build careers as professional designers. There are end of year exhibitions at the Royal West Academy of Art in Bristol and in London.

Inspiring leadership by Head of Design Angela Davies, who is an award-winning theatre designer with high-level industry links. The course equips its graduates for entry into prestigious Theatre Design competitions such as the Linbury Prize for Stage Design and the RSC’s trainee scheme. BOVTS graduates held 5 out of the 12 final places in the Linbury Prize 2013.

Applications are accepted at least one year in advance of the course start date. The four-term course starts at the beginning of the summer term and completes at the end of the summer term of the following academic year.

Recent graduates have held design positions at the RSC, Pilmlico Opera, Bristol Old Vic, The Brewery Theatre and the Tobacco Factory, The Finsborough Theatre The Vault Festival and with Kneehigh Theatre Company.

To receive more information on course structure and highlights, please contact

Course Outline

Term 1
- Intensive skills-based classes from professional practitioners, including model-making and technical drawing
- Theatre script analysis and period research workshops
- Exploration of the collaborative creative process with a professional director and the MA Directors at BOVTS on the Theatre and Short Play Project
- Master-classes in advanced model-making techniques, technical drawing, an introduction to Photoshop and model photography
- Production and site visits.

Term 2
- Continued exploration of the design process through to presentation with meetings with a visiting professional on the Opera Project
- Regular design tutorials with additional workshops and classes to extend understanding.
- Theory is put into practice by designing the set or costumes for a BOVTS Spring production
- Collaborative working with a staff or visiting director and the BOVTS production teams for professional theatre venues

Term 3
- Design presentations and exploration of the production process through to full stage realisation.
- Close collaboration with actors, stage managers, technicians and scenic artists
- Work with the BOVTS MA Directors to complete production designs for the Brewery Theatre
- Skills classes and support in CAD and Photoshop and an introduction to portfolio design.

Term 4
- Series of small-scale productions for the Brewery Theatre
- Work begins on summer productions, exploring the role of set or costume designer in-depth
- More independent working with mentoring and support through the process
- Development of CV and professional portfolio
- Preparations for the end of year exhibitions at the Royal West Academy of Art, Bristol and London
- Exhibitions and Industry interviews with professional practitioners from a range of theatre disciplines, providing networking opportunities and pathways to work

PLEASE NOTE THAT APPLICATIONS ARE FOR APRIL 2016 ENTRY AND WILL CLOSE ON 27TH FEBRUARY 2015 AT 4PM.

Offline Applications
Please contact:The Admissions Office, 1-2 Downside Road, Bristol BS8 2XF.

Tel: 0117 973 3535.
Email: .

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A one year course for only two students with the career aim of working in theatre production management. The training for this senior management position in theatre develops a student’s skills to an advanced level in leadership, problem-solving and project management. Read more
A one year course for only two students with the career aim of working in theatre production management.

The training for this senior management position in theatre develops a student’s skills to an advanced level in leadership, problem-solving and project management. Students learn to take a high level of responsibility in a creative industry and gain experience in a professional context.

The course begins with a series of case studies and practical classes in the roles, technologies, financial control, scheduling, planning and health and safety of theatre production. Students will then work as assistant, progressing to production manager, on public productions. The course includes a period of secondment working with a professional production company.

By applying for this course you will automatically be considered for the John Pitt Bursary of £4000 to be used towards your tuition fee.

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