You are Tomorrow's Costume Maker

Award:Foundation Degree (FdA) in Costume for Theatre, TV and Film

Locations: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School - Operating on two specialist teaching sites (Downside Road and Christchurch Studios) and performing in the major producing theatre venues in Bristol.

Awarding body: University of the West of England (UWE)

Students who complete the course successfully will receive a degree from the University of the West of England (UWE).

The agreement between the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and the University of the West of England is reviewed every five years for developmental purposes and was last renewed in 2016.

Duration: 2 years (full-time) with an option for a 1 year BA (Hons) Top-Up

Academic year: Full-time course: 25th September 2017 – 5th July 2018

Audition and Interview Fee Waiver Scheme

The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD) is now able to offer a number of free audition and interview places across the Conservatoire schools.

Places are offered on a first come basis and interested applicants must meet specific criteria.

Please check the CDD website for further details on this page.

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Entry requirements 2017-18

Normal academic entry requirements would be; General Art and Design Foundation Course or equivalent Level 3 qualification; or equivalent practical experience.

Specific skills: competent sewing, well organised. Applicants would normally demonstrate interest in areas such as film and theatre craft.

Have a background in school/amateur theatre productions.

Applicants will be interviewed by two members of staff, including the head of costume course and the Costume Making Tutor.

Applicants are required to bring a portfolio with examples of their work.

Applicants will be given an opportunity to ask questions of staff and current students and will be shown the facilities at the School.

All applicants are interviewed.

Course overview

This is an intensive vocational and highly practical course for up to six students per year covering all aspects of costume work.

This includes pattern drafting flat and on the stand, costume construction, corset making flat and on the stand, millinery and ruffs and rebatos, foundation wear, stretch wear and body padding, basic tailoring techniques, hand and machine embroidery, tutu construction, printing techniques, dyeing distressing and costume enhancement.

The Supervisory elements include costume supervision, costume assisting and the various roles within the Costume department, hiring and buying to budget, wig care, basic make up, organising fittings and keeping an accurate and up to date costume bible, liasing with Designers and directors and shopping to specific briefs.

The students work to given designs, drafting, fixing and making for and dressing all School’s public productions and TV shoots which number between twelve and fourteen per year.

The students will go on a variety of placements during their time at the school; some of which include The National Theatre, English National Ballet, Bristol Costume Services, Trollied (TV series Sky) and Wicked (West End show) the students go for between a couple of days to a couple of weeks, all travel and accommodation costs are covered by the school whilst the student is on placement.

The graduating students from the 2 year fda and the one year BA top up will have an exhibition of their course work at the RWA building in Bristol. Which is regularly attended by a range of Industry professionals who are often in a position to offer our graduating students employment.

A copy of the rules and regulations governing the course is available consult the BOVTS policies and procedures page.

Module map

This module map provides a list of the modules that make up your course.

Each module is worth a specified number of credits: All modules are compulsory, enabling you to cover key subject knowledge while developing your own interests.

Year 1

  • Module Number: UAMPD8-40-1 Module Name: Assistant Costume Supervision in Performance (40 credits)
  • Module Number: UAMPD9-40-1 Module Name: Basic Millinery and Foundation Skills (40 credits)
  • Module Number: UAMPE3-40-1 Module Name: Pattern Cutting (40 credits)

Optional Modules: There are no optional modules for this stage of this award.

Interim Award: Cert HE in Costume for Theatre, TV and Film

Credit requirements: 120 from the above specific level 1 modules.

Year 2

  • Module Number: UAMPE4-40-2 Module Name: Costume Supervision (40 credits)
  • Module Number: UAMPE5-40-2 Module Name: Advanced Pattern Cutting and Costume Construction (40 credits)
  • Module Number: UAMPE6-20-2 Module Name: Advanced Millinery and Specialist Skills (20 credits)
  • Module Number: UAMPE7-20-2 Module Name: Preparing for Employment and Work Placement (20 credits)

Optional Modules: There are no optional modules for this stage of this award.

Credit requirements 240 from the above specific Level 1 and Level 2 modules.

Teaching and Learning

The course is practical and career focused.

It is integrated with the school’s other courses during productions, as well as within the professional environment, as some performances take place in local professional theatres.

The programme features a high level of one-to-one teaching by specialist professionals and work is realised for professional standard performances.

The learning is immersive and singular in its focus on high-level specialist professional employability as a main learning outcome.

There are up to six students accepted to this course per academic year.

Academic and Student Support

As part of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD), the School is committed to selecting, training and supporting students, regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion.

Applicants to CDD schools are chosen solely on the basis of their talent and potential to develop the skills required for their chosen profession. The School does, however, judge applicants on their suitability for a course and their potential to successfully complete the training, as the work is rigorous and requires high levels of energy and commitment.

Student Support on the programmes at the School covers a variety of areas such as support for disabled students, academic support, student finance and health and welfare.

Julia Heeley, Student Support Manager, is able to answer queries about support available for disabled applicants/students. Her email address is and she can also be reached by telephone on 0117 980 9247.

Our Academic and Student Support services team provides help in the following areas:

Support for students with disabilities including specific learning difficulties In our admissions process, we are committed to supporting students with disabilities.

Disabled students are encouraged to disclose their support requirements so that we can endeavour to meet them during the audition process and subsequent training.

The School welcomes all students regardless of disability. It is our aim to provide appropriate support so that all students are able to achieve their full potential.

Students with a disability will be provided with advice and support from the Student Support Manager. If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty we recommend you contact her either prior to starting your course or during your first few weeks at the School to discuss any support requirements you may have.

This may include support resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment, learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia or mental health difficulties.

We recognise that everyone is an individual and we will work with students to identify potential barriers to training and do what we can to remove those barriers. We will also make any necessary reasonable adjustments, to ensure that disabled students can train at the School.

Quickscan screening

At the School we put a great deal of emphasis on supporting students during their time with us.

We are aware that nationally there is a very high proportion of students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) e.g. dyslexia or dyspraxia, in institutions which specialise in art, design or the performing arts.

During your first week, the School encourages all students to take a short questionnaire known as QuickScan which has proved to be a useful piece of screening software for students and staff across the CDD Schools. It takes the form of an on-line, easy to navigate, questionnaire which will help to identify your learning style and specific areas of learning strengths and weaknesses. It is used in conjunction with other indicators, including student disclosure (as part of the interview and registration process), tutor feedback on practical and written work, and students expressing their concerns and any support requirements which may become apparent during their studies.

Disabled Student Allowance (DSA)

UK students with disabilities (including Specific Learning Difficulties and long-term Mental Health conditions) can apply for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

DSA usually provides support for students with the specialist equipment and tools necessary to support you with your studies, including software, hardware and study skills support. Unlike a student loan, DSA does not have to be repaid. However, it is rarely awarded in the form of financial support.

Applications are made through, Student Finance England (SFE), Student Finance Wales (SFW), or Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

In order to apply for DSA, Student Finance will require evidence of any impairment or disability. This may take the form of a doctor’s or specialist’s letter or, more often, a report from an Educational Psychologist (Diagnostic Assessment Report).

If you require a Diagnostic Assessment from an Educational Psychologist, the Student Support Manager can arrange this for you and can guide you through the process.

Personal Academic Support

Various staff members at the School can help in different ways if you need academic support. If you need help with the content of classes or assessment work, you can ask the relevant head of course, tutor or your pastoral care tutor for an appointment or you can ask the Student Support Manager to arrange a tutorial with the relevant member of staff on your behalf. If you make an appointment, you can prepare for the meeting and discuss your concerns away from class. Heads of courses, modules leaders and individual tutors can all help you with understanding aspects of your training and can offer overall guidance or advice about your programme of study.

Study skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)

Study skills support is usually arranged for students who have been awarded support through Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). However, the Student Support Manager will be happy to arrange one to one study skills support for you if deemed appropriate and necessary.

Mental Health And Wellbeing

Schools within the CDD recognise the challenges faced by students entering higher education and that training in a conservatoire institution can place great demands on a student both physically and emotionally. The CDD has published a leaflet aimed to help students identify signs of mental distress and where to go for support: click this text to go to the CDD website in a new tab


The School has a student therapy and counselling service,¬¬ which is organised and staffed by accredited, registered psychotherapists and counsellors and is there to help with any more deep-seated personal problems on which pastoral tutors are not qualified to advise. If students wish to have an initial assessment with a therapist or counsellor, they should contact the School’s Student Support Manager. A strict professional code of confidentiality is always maintained.

Student welfare and pastoral care

We actively encourage students to develop a pro-active and positive approach to their own ‘wellness’. We are preparing professionals to enter physically and mentally challenging professions and we work to enable students to sustain a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle.

Every student is assigned a pastoral tutor who monitors they progress throughout the year in addition to having access to the Student Support Manager. All students have tutorials with their head of course, head of year or allocated pastoral care tutor in which non-teaching issues can be discussed. A confidential tutorial can be requested of any member of the full-time teaching staff on your course.

In addition, BOVTS students have access to UWE’s Student Wellbeing Service, details of which can be found at:

click this text to go to the UWE Wellbeing website in a new tab UWE Wellbeing Service, 3F Reception, UWE, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY Tel: +44 (0)117 32 86268 E-mail:

For further information on support which the School offers, please see the Guide to Student Support which can be found at: click this text to go to the guide in a new tab

You can also find additional information for disabled applicants and students at all Conservatoire for Dance and Drama affiliated Schools here: click this text to go to the CDD website in a new tab

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.

The team includes the Head of Costume, the Costume Making Tutor and other visiting specialist professionals.


Students are assessed on their professional practice on a pass or fail basis.

Judgements about students’ performance are made against the relevant professional standards.

The UWE qualifications are awarded as non-classified/nondifferentiated.

Fees and Funding

FdA in Costume for Theatre, TV and Film

Duration: 2 years (full-time)


For the academic year 2017-18 the tuition fees for this course are:

UK/EU Applicants - Full-time £9,250

International Applicants - Full-time £18,500

(Full-time route only)

It is not possible to confirm fees for future academic years, as these are dependent on Teaching Excellence Framework outcomes, but the maximum increase in each year will not exceed the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The following course-related costs are included in the fees:

Accommodation and living costs not included in the fees

Industry work placement – accommodation and travel expenses will be covered.

Sources of financial support

If you receive funding from Student Finance you may be eligible to apply for additional benefits.

Details can be obtained from our Student Fees home page

available here Please see the BOVTS fees page...

Bursaries, scholarships and prizes

The University also provides a number of scholarships and prizes for undergraduate students, which you may be eligible to apply for. Some of these are available to students on any course (such as Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD) scholarships, Hardship Fund and bursaries offered by charitable trusts)

Applications close on 28/02/2018 at 16:00

Offline Applications

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

Tel: 0117 973 3535.


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Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Ltd, 1-2 Downside Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2XF
Admin: 0117 973 3535 | Box Office: 0117 973 3955 |

Photos: Craig Fuller, Farrows Creative, Graham Burke, Stewart McPherson.

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Conservatoire for Dance and drama University of the West of England