ELEANOR BULL - 2017 MA THEATRE DESIGN - WINNER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS LINBURY PRIZE. Eleanor has won a commission to work with Phoenix Dance Company and will be designing a production called 'Windrush'. There is an exhibition of the design work at the National Theatre. Huge congratulations Eleanor. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE LINBURY PRIZE

Award: MA Professional Theatre Design

Locations: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School - Operating on two specialist teaching sites (Downside Road and Sheene Road Workshop) and performing in a variety of 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: 4 Terms – 45 weeks (full-time)

Academic year: Full-time course: 23rd April 2019 – July 2020

“All applications are made direct to the Theatre School NOT THROUGH UCAS. ”

Course Fees Term Dates Policies & Procedures

Entry requirements 2017-18

Successful candidates will have a first degree in a related subject such as Fine Art, Sculpture, Architecture, Costume or Illustration including Drama or Theatre Studies or will have equivalent professional experience.

They should have a good command of the English language.

Applicants should be able to provide evidence of their ability to express ideas visually by the production of a portfolio of Art and Design work.

It is an expectation that the applicants understand the required basic skills involved and role of Theatre Designer within a production.

Applicants are required to demonstrate basic Theatre Design skills/aptitude for the profession using the portfolio as evidence and at interview.

Applicants will be interviewed by two members of staff/ professional practitioners or graduates, including the Head of Design and Course Leader.

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

Course overview

This Masters level programme provides students with advanced level skills and knowledge in Theatre and Performance Design.

The course prepares students for a freelance career in the Theatre and Performance Design industry.

This unique and specialist course is set within the holistic learning environment of a Conservatoire Drama School and is taught by professional practitioners.

The training is intensive, during a series of design projects there are workshops and skills masterclasses to support learning.

During this challenging course, the students are presented with opportunities to explore of the leading creative role of Set Costume designer in depth while designing for BOVTS productions.

The production designs provide excellent opportunities for collaboration with a range of professional practitioners and student production teams, including collaborative working with the MA Drama Directing students.

An impressive and varied professional portfolio of design work can be achieved during the course.

Students gain further promotional opportunities by exhibiting their work in final exhibitions and also create excellent pathways to employment by contact with a high level of industry practitioners.

Recent graduates have designed at Bristol Old Vic, The Tobacco Factory, Shakespeare’s Globe, Kneehigh, West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Orange Tree Theatre and the RSC. Graduates are regularly successful in attaining the RSC Trainee Design positions and as finalists for the Linbury Prize.

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.

Summer and Autumn Terms

  • Module Number: UAMAY9-40-M - Module Name: Design for Theatre Project (40 credits)
  • Module Number: UAMAY8-40-M - Module Name: Design for Opera Project (40 credits)

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

Interim Award: There are no interim awards under this award scheme.

Spring and Summer Terms

  • Module Number: UAMPE9-40-M - Module Name: Set Design and Production Process (40 credits)
  • Module Number: UAMPF3-40-M - Module Name: Costume Design and Production Process (40 credits)
  • Module Number: UAMPF4-20-M - Module Name: Introduction to Employment (20 credits)

Credit requirements: MA – 180 credits

Award: MA Professional Theatre Design

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 course features a high level of one-to-one teaching by specialist professionals and visiting practitioners and work is realised to a professional standard.

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

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

The learning is full-time and immersive with students often taught/supervised by teaching staff and visiting professionals.

Staff contact averages at least 30 hours per week across the 45 weeks.

Students are expected to work independently in a studio based environment.

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 julia.heeley@oldvic.ac.uk 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) https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas/overview.

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: wellbeing@uwe.ac.uk

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, Head of Design (Angela Davies) and other teaching staff and visiting specialist professional practitioners.

You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles Here


Students are assessed against professional standards in Theatre Design.

Assessment is practical project based and will include detailed written feedback from teaching staff and the student’s own self-critical evaluations.

Fees and Funding

MA Theatre Design

Duration: 4 Terms (full-time)

Fees 2018 :

UK/EU Tuition fees for the Four Term MA Theatre Design and MA Drama Directing Courses starting in April 2019 will be £3,150 for the first term of the course (summer term 2019). The remainder of the tuition fees due for 2019/20 academic year has not yet been determined but will not be less than £9,450

International students (non UK/EU) tuition fees for the Four Term MA Theatre Design and MA Drama Directing starting in April 2019 will be £6,500 for the first term of the course (summer term 2019). The remainder of the tuition fees due for 2019/20 academic year has not yet been determined but will not be less than £19,500

US Federal Loans

For US students ONLY. Please click the link to consult the BOVTS US Federal Loans FAQs

(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:

we supply some materials such as card and poly-board, there is also a small budget for student expenses for each design project / production design. Students are required to provide specific basic design equipment and additional art materials as needed.

Accommodation and living costs not included in the fees

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)

How to Apply

Please note: all applications for this courses are made direct through the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School school and NOT through UCAS


Applications open on the 1 September 2017 and close on 20th April 2018.

Offline Applications

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

Tel: 0117 973 3535.

Email: admissions@oldvic.ac.uk.

PLEASE NOTE: Applications open on 1st October 2017 for April 2019 entry.

Application regulations

  • We will only accept one application per applicant, per year.
  • We will not accept applications if you have previously applied in four or more consecutive years.
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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