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Creative Arts & Design×

Masters Degrees in Theatre Design

Masters degrees in Theatre Design offer advanced training in the creation, production and management of theatres and theatre productions.

Courses are typically taught MA degrees. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as Performance Studies.

Why study a Masters in Theatre Design?

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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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MA Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Arts is designed to support and further theatre design practice-based research. Students will develop advanced level scenographic speculative methods, either collaboratively or as auteur. Read more

Introduction

MA Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Arts is designed to support and further theatre design practice-based research. Students will develop advanced level scenographic speculative methods, either collaboratively or as auteur.

Content

What students can expect from the course:

- To research practitioners past and present and form a distinctive view of their position in the discipline

- To collaborate with other postgraduate student directors, choreographers or other theatre makers to practice and test their abilities to negotiate and communicate at an advanced level

- To maintain an online research folio to develop a professional ‘shop window’ for their ideas

- To interrogate contemporary scenography through the established modes of industrial practice in set and costume design, though students may also investigate various specialisms in their studies, such as lighting, projection or sound

- Work closely with a mentor who will challenge and advise students throughout the development of their final self-motivated Action Research Project

- Specialist tutorial and technical support from across Wimbledon’s renowned Theatre Programme, focusing on the production and research in both industrial and academic contexts

- Established contacts with complementary London-based Director and Choreographic MA courses support the delivery of collaborative study components

- Direct access to the Jocelyn Herbert Archive and engagement with the college’s theatre design-related special exhibitions and conferences

- Direct access to scenographic curatorial practice at a national and international level

Structure

Unit One:

In Unit One students engage with the field of Theatre Design through researching practitioners past and present, to form a distinctive view of their position in the discipline. To support their work they'll have access to a wide range of expertise within the areas of scenic and costume design at Wimbledon College of Art.

Students will share opinions about bodies of generally held views and attitudes to Theatre Design in an attempt to reach a collective consensus or understood divergence. Synergies and differences between addressing bodies and spaces in digital and analogue contexts will be a focus for debate and provide a platform for discourse between both MA Theatre courses and the wider Postgraduate communities at Wimbledon and across the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Graduate School.

Unit Two:

In Unit Two the course will structure a partnership between students and a Postgraduate director, choreographer or other theatre maker to practice and test their abilities to negotiate, collaborate and communicate at an advanced level.

All students will be expected to engage with each other’s ideas and proposals through periodic supportive group critiques and formative peer assessment targeted specifically at Units One and Two. Students will maintain a Research Folio on line that began in Unit One and develop a professional shop window for their ideas, including reviews of study visits to events and performance environments.

Unit Three:

In Unit Three, students and their tutors will be asked to identify a professional mentor, who will both advise and challenge them when appropriate during your final self-motivated Research Project. Along with student tutors, mentors can monitor the work’s conception at an intermediate stage of development and provide an industry-based reaction to its sophistication and effectiveness within negotiated parameters.

Students will be expected to make a research-motivated experiment in either real or virtual space to underpin their work. Innovative impact-driven methods of documenting and presenting ideas will be encouraged for a final proposal, usually combining both web presence and an exhibition context.

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Explore the potential of performance design with this wide-ranging programme. Read more

Explore the potential of performance design with this wide-ranging programme.

You’ll develop an awareness of the performance events and experiences that can be created with the aid of lighting, projection, settings and objects, puppetry, props, costume, sound as well as newer technologies such as digital and pervasive media. You’ll have space to experiment and come up with innovative and creative ideas for performance, while learning more about the theories and concepts that are shaping emergent forms of theatre, art and performance practice.

As you build up your MA portfolio you’ll engage with contemporary performance and arts practices – including immersive and participatory forms of performance, as well as those outside of the theatre – while considering the role they play in their wider social, cultural and economic landscape. This is the only research-orientated programme in the UK tailored towards academic and practical engagement with performance design.

You’ll be based in our purpose-built landmark building [email protected], with two professional-standard and publicly licensed theatres that regularly host works by students and visiting theatre companies. One of these is a technically advanced research facility, and both are fully equipped with the latest technology. A dance studio, dressing rooms and box office are also in the building, and our School includes rehearsal rooms, two black-box studios, costume construction and wardrobe stores, a design studio and scenic workshop, video editing and sound recording suits as well as computer aided design.

But our biggest strength is our links with external organisations, which give you the chance to get outside the theatre and explore performance in different environments. Our partners include Opera North, West Yorkshire Playhouse, the National Media Museum, Leeds City Council, Red Ladder Theatre Company, Limehouse Productions, Phoenix Dance Theatre, the National Coal Mining Museum for England, HMP New Hall, Blah BlahBlah Theatre Company, the BBC and HMP Wetherby.

Course content

Throughout the programme, you’ll develop an awareness of research methods and approaches in performance and the cultural industries. In Semester One, you’ll also take a core module which introduces you to key concepts, theories and ideas in performance design, exploring ideas such as visuality and the theatre, spectacle, audience experience and multi-sensorial performance.

This foundation will inform the rest of your studies, including your practice. In Semester One you’ll also work with a range of scenographic materials to develop your own creative practice, spending time in practical workshops alongside lectures where you’ll consider current issues and debates in performance design and the role of practice-led research.

In Semester Two you’ll apply all the knowledge and skills you’ve gained to an independent research project, which could be practice-led or a written dissertation on a topic of your choice. You’ll also be able to spend more time on your practice – you’ll have the chance to complete an individual project, or to collaborate with fellow students from across the School, or work on another small-scale research project based on a two-week placement in an external organisation. Alternatively you could choose from optional modules on topics such as audience engagement or debates on culture and place.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Research Project 60 credits
  • Performance Design Praxis 30 credits
  • Critical Concepts in Performance Design 30 credits
  • Research Perspectives (Performance Design) 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Individual Project 30 credits
  • Creative Work 30 credits
  • Performance and Collaborative Enterprise 30 credits
  • Critical Debates in Culture and Place 30 credits
  • Enterprise and Consultancy Practice 30 credits
  • Audience Engagement and Impact 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Performance Design MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Performance Design MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

We use different teaching and learning methods to help you develop your skills and make the most of our tutors’ expertise, including, practicals, seminars, tutorials, lectures and group learning. Independent study is also integral to the programme, since it helps you to form your own ideas and build skills in research and analysis.

Assessment

The assessment methods you experience will vary depending on the module. However, to allow you to develop skills in a range of areas they will include essays, performances, visual documentation, verbal presentations, critical evaluations and reports.

Career opportunities

This programme will give you the knowledge and skills to become an articulate and creative performance design practitioner. This could include; working as a designer or director in theatre, live performance, festivals or the events industry (either within a company or freelance), creating your own performance events or performance company, or working in community arts.

You’ll also gain a range of transferable skills in research, analysis, interpretation and communication, as well as imagination, independence and cultural awareness. This will equip you to work for a variety of roles across the cultural and creative industries, for example, in administration, marketing and management.

Because of the emphasis on research, it’s also good preparation for PhD-level study and teaching.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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The graduate design faculty share a view of theatre design which stresses the all-around preparedness of designers and technicians to participate in their increasingly competitive profession. Read more
The graduate design faculty share a view of theatre design which stresses the all-around preparedness of designers and technicians to participate in their increasingly competitive profession. Ours is a holistic approach centered on aesthetic analysis in response to the text, as this prepares our students to participate equally with directors and aspire to the highest levels of their art. The program also focuses on the creative, interactive relationship between designers and directors; we see that relationship as fundamental to both the practice of the art and the relative degree of satisfaction that designers derive from their work.

The degree carries a heavy emphasis on theatre practice in a wide range of venues and budget while focusing on the candidate's individual aesthetic development as well as skill acquisition. The minimum degree program requires four full graduate courses, plus a thesis with an accompanying artist’s statement. The aim of the program is to have the student grow in confidence and sophistication, balancing course work, production work and independent study in areas most beneficial to them.

Prospective Students

Drama’s 10 permanent faculty members have a diversity of research interests and practices, maintaining profiles in both the professional and scholarly theatre communities. MFA students can select to study in one of four specializations: Directing, Design/Technical, Theatre Studies and Playwriting. Each program offers a great deal of flexibility, exciting opportunities and contact with faculty members. Drama maintains a full production schedule through the skilled technical and teaching contributions of 5 full-time professional staff. Facilities include 3 theatre spaces, full costume, properties and scene shops and the Integrated Arts Media Lab. All MFA students have office space in the School and access to computer facilities.

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- Performance (Set & Costume Design). - Set Design. - Costume Design. - Costume Construction. - Puppetry. - Lighting Design. - Sound Design. Read more

Specialist Pathways

- Performance (Set & Costume Design)
- Set Design
- Costume Design
- Costume Construction
- Puppetry
- Lighting Design
- Sound Design
- Scenic Art and Construction for Stage and Screen

Key Features

- Taught element starting in September and running for one year, full time
- Alternative flexible pathway for students already in relevant employment
- Specialist tuition from established team of professional theatre design practitioners
- Input from visiting professionals from around the world
- Design positions in College productions ranging from drama to musical theatre and opera
- Professional work placement opportunities
- Exhibition of your work in Cardiff and London for an invited audience of potential employers
- Final component involving the completion of a reflective journal based on your professional engagement, with support and mentoring from College tutors

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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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-Are you looking for a comprehensive, stimulating programme of modern theatre and drama?. -Seeking a better position for your future in the graduate marketplace?. Read more
-Are you looking for a comprehensive, stimulating programme of modern theatre and drama?
-Seeking a better position for your future in the graduate marketplace?
-Need to upgrade your current qualifications to Master’s level?
-Want to prepare for PhD study?

Course Overview

This MA engages you in debate about drama and theatre during the twentieth century to today and their relationship to wider society. Community and Popular theatres, Revolutionary Drama, Theatre and the State and British drama are the key study areas and there is the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic arising from the course. The MA is taught through seminars and tutorials and the degree is awarded upon successful completion of four modules and a dissertation.

Modules

-British Drama
-Drama and Revolution
-Theatre and Community
-Theatre and the State
-Dissertation

Key Features

-Study in your local area for a University of Wales higher degree
-Personal and professional development within a creative learning community
-Opportunity for study and reflection
-Excellent Library, Research and other HE information resources
-Opportunity for interaction with experienced educators
-Personal mentor/tutor
-A vibrant, growing University community
-Small teaching groups, a friendly and caring atmosphere and personal attention
-An outstanding theatre and film environment
-Excellent value
-Tutors are specialist drama/theatre professionals who can offer expert and up to date teaching
-Studying for an MA can extend your horizons, lead to further professional qualifications and aid career prospects

Assessment

This course will be assessed through formative and developmental assessment.

Career Opportunities

Most students engaging in this programme are employed in educational settings. The experience of this programme is often transformative, leading to an enhancement of learning and teaching and often leading to promotion within the profession.

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The MA in Theatre Making at Kent offers an opportunity to develop an advanced knowledge of practices, traditions and professional contexts of theatre making. Read more
The MA in Theatre Making at Kent offers an opportunity to develop an advanced knowledge of practices, traditions and professional contexts of theatre making. Students have the opportunity to advance their skills in their chosen area of directing, devising, playwriting, dramaturgy, or applied theatre.

This MA is intended for graduates from theatre and performing arts degrees and other subjects as well as emerging theatre artists who want to further pursue their experimentation with a range of advanced theatre-making practices.

During the Autumn Term, you initially work in a varied range of artistic approaches, while also getting an insight into key key critical discourses as well as into practical theatre production concerns. You then work collaboratively as a theatre ensemble during the Spring Term, focusing on your chosen area while realising a range of projects. Throughout the year, the research-led teaching by Kent’s world-leading specialists is complemented by a sustained engagement with professional theatre-makers in workshops and guest sessions. We also work closely with the Canterbury theatres (Marlowe and Gulbenkian), who have mentored and supported many previous graduates to further develop their artistic work.

In this course, you learn how to make and think about theatre in a way that challenges conventional assumptions and boundaries. We also prepare you for the world of work by giving you opportunities to network with professionals and practise how to raise funding and market your portfolio. Over the course of the year, you will be taught by academics who are international experts in their fields.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Modules may include:
DR903 Theatre and Audiences (Term 1)
DR867 Performance Practices (Term 1)
DR832 Ensemble Work (Term 2)
DR899 Professional Study (Term 2)
DR995 (Year long) Dissertation of 12,500 words (Option to choose a practice-as-research route, with a 7,500-word written component)

Teaching and Assessment

Assessment consists of 100% coursework, including essays, performances, funding budgets, reviews, written reflections on own practice, analysis of professional practice, presentations, reports, placements, practice-as-research portfolios.

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The MA in Musical Theatre at LJMU has been designed for actors, directors, choreographers, MDs, composers, lyricists, librettist and teachers, to develop mastery of personal craft, by exploring creativity and advancing scholarship in musical theatre. Read more
The MA in Musical Theatre at LJMU has been designed for actors, directors, choreographers, MDs, composers, lyricists, librettist and teachers, to develop mastery of personal craft, by exploring creativity and advancing scholarship in musical theatre.

•​Join a passionate community of musical theatre scholars and artists
•Participate in an annual festival of performance and scholarship titled “Adventures In Musical Theatre”
•Benefit from a highly flexible, student-centred curriculum and delivery structure, with an emphasis on learning through creative risk and play
•Take advantage of opportunities to include current work-based activity or undertake a placement
•A wide network of local, regional, national and international partners

This MA is an ‘adventure in musical theatre’, which will enhance the mastery of theatrical craft by helping you to define a personal methodology, style and approach to the relevant disciplines of Musical Theatre.

​You will have the confidence to apply knowledge and understanding with originality and creativity for the re-interpretation of received assumptions regarding dominant traditions and practices of Musical Theatre performance. You will also gain the confidence to work creatively, collaboratively and collectively with musical theatre makers who possess varying levels of experience and styles. This degree ultimately aims to develop students into adaptive and flexible musical theatre professionals.

​In order to develop your own creative practice as a Musical Theatre artist, you will learn how to effectively and appropriately employ a range of research methodologies and critical perspectives, including the ability to interrogate, evaluate and explore Musical Theatre ‘texts’ and processes. For students who wish to develop an entrepreneurial approach and set up their own theatre company, this MA will enable you to explore performance and event creation utilising organisational and managerial skills and industry knowledge.

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The ‘apprenticeship’ model allows you to acquire research expertise in developing and executing your own project while working alongside an expert in your field. Read more
The ‘apprenticeship’ model allows you to acquire research expertise in developing and executing your own project while working alongside an expert in your field.
This programme will develop essential knowledge and skills in your field and offer a clear route into a chosen destination: whether PhD study, professional practice, or an alternative research-related career.
Our experts specialisms include British theatre, performance philosophy, and digital theatre.

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