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Explore all aspects of contemporary theatre design practice, including: set and costume design and construction; scenic art; site-specific design; puppetry; heritage installation; and design for events, community and education.
This degree will teach you how to bring together the creative, technical, communicative, collaborative and organisational skills needed to make imaginative performance for a range of professional environments.
We have strong links with a wide range of performance, heritage and educational organisations, and professional theatre companies, providing you with fantastic opportunities to raise your profile and grow your professional practice.
Formed originally by designers at Nottingham Playhouse, the Theatre Design degree at NTU has been running since 1973.
- NTU is leading arts provider and is ranked 8th in the UK for Art and Design (The Complete University Guide 2019).
- Employability on this course is excellent – 93% of graduates are in employment or further study within six months (DLHE survey 2016/17).
- We’re delighted that 95% of theatre design students would recommend studying at NTU. (National Student Survey 2018).
- The course is a member of the Association of British Theatre Technicians, the Association of Courses in Theatre Design (ACTD), and the Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD). Through these, it is also a member of the International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT), and participates in the UK exhibition at the Prague Quadrennial.
- Focus equally on both your design and making skills.
- Study in dedicated facilities, including a studio theatre, construction and paint workshops, and large teaching spaces.
- Work on live projects with industry such as The Royal National Theatre, Birmingham Opera Company and The Royal Lyceum Theatre (Edinburgh).
- Go on study visits for inspiration, research and experience, including live performances, museums and heritage and educational organisations.
- Complete a three to five-week work placement in Year Two.
- Enter competitions set by organisations such as The Royal National Theatre’s Connections festival, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
- Showcase your work at our Degree Show in Nottingham, with the opportunity to be selected to exhibit at other graduate events in London such as New Designers and The Bargehouse.
- Opportunity to apply for an international exchange to one of our partner institutions, such as Ryerson University in Canada.
Careers and employability
This course has an excellent graduate employment rate, with 93% of graduates in employment or further study within six months (DLHE survey 2016/17).
Our graduates go into fields such as:
- scenography and performance design
- set, props and costume construction
- costume making
- events and festival design
- arts management
- film, television and production management
- model making
- teaching and educational work.
Recent graduate destinations include:
- Nottingham Playhouse
- York Theatre Royal
- Birmingham Opera Company
- Lakeside Arts Centre
- Sydney Opera House
- Royal Shakespeare Company
- Pinewood Studios
- Rocket Scenery
- The BBC
Our graduates also leave the course with a high degree of value-added skills, enabling them to enter a wide range of careers, including designing and making for theatre and other performance contexts, community and participatory arts practice, arts administration, creative business, and the education sector.
Connecting with industry
The course has extensive links with industry, which means there are many opportunities for you to build your professional practice and raise your profile, such as live projects, guest lectures and competitions to enter.
Recent live projects have included:
- Blind Summit Puppetry Company
- Nottingham Playhouse
- Birmingham Opera Company
- Derby Live
- Meeting Ground Theatre Company
- New Street Theatre Company
- The Workhouse, Southwell (National Trust)
- Mansfield Palace Youth Theatre
- Black Box Theatre Company
- Mellers Primary School, Nottingham
- Curve Young, Leicester
- Red Earth Theatre
- Wild Works
- Lakeside Arts Theatre.
Our students have also enjoyed success in a number of competitions, including the Nottingham Playhouse Prize for Stage Design and the Birmingham Opera Prize for Stage Design.
Industry experts who have recently shared their knowledge and experience with our students include:
- Sophie Jump and Nettie Scriven, award-winning stage and theatre-maker designers
- Marie-Jeanne Lecca, international opera designer
- Sue Hill, associate director of theatre company, Wildworks
- Barrett Hodgson, digital designer
- Alex Stafford Marshall, lighting designer
- Neil Franklin, creative producer from Stage One
- Fiona Buffini and Giles Croft from Nottingham Playhouse
- Richard Willacy, Executive Director, Birmingham Opera Company
- Michael Eaton MBE and Stephen Lowe, playwrights
- Jenny Sealey MBE, artistic director of Graeae Theatre Company
- Andrew Breakwell and Rosamunde Hutt, freelance directors and theatre educators.
This is the only Theatre Design degree course in the UK that is accredited by the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD), giving you free membership during your studies. You will also have access to CSD online careers advice, guidance, and vacancies.
Work placements and internship opportunities
In Year Two, you’ll complete a work placement of between three and five weeks.
Course staff and the NTU Employability team will support you with tips on how best to approach companies, and how to get the most from your experience:
Recent placement destinations include:
- producing theatres such as the Royal Exchange Theatre (Manchester) and Nottingham Playhouse
- touring and young people’s theatre companies, such as Theatre Alibi, Dragon Breath Theatre, and Bamboozle Theatre
- production companies such as Rocket Scenery (Nottingham) and Lifecast (Elstree Studios, Borehamwood)
- event-based companies such as Starlight Design (London) and GameCity (Nottingham).