Theatre Design (MA).

Applications open on 1st October 2017 and will close at 4pm on Thursday 28th February 2018 for April 2019 entry

Course duration - one year (four terms).

Created to challenge and inspire the next generation of Theatre and Performance Designers. This professional Theatre Design MA course delivers intensive vocational training, enabling talented designers to specialise and develop their creative and technical ability in set and costume design for performance.

The full time course is aimed at multi-skilled postgraduate level students. We have applications from a wide range of backgrounds including: Film Design, Sculpture, Illustration, Fine Art, Costume, Architecture, Interiors and academic degrees such as Art History/ Theatre Studies/ English/ Drama. Most applicants have a degree, some have with relevant industry experience.

Collaborative working with students from a range of disciplines at the School, including student Directors. The course is set in an integrated company within a vibrant Drama school.

The small student working groups on the course, provide a unique opportunity for individual mentoring and support with the BOVTS team and high-profile visiting professionals.

Master-classes and workshops help build a thorough understanding of the subject, these include script analysis, life and figure drawing, model making, technical drawing, CAD, students also explore Photo-shop and model photography. Research and practical work are supported by site and production visits including trips to theatre design events and exhibitions.

Design positions on public productions provide the main feature of the training, students explore the roles of set and costume designer on a range of challenging productions in a variety of respected venues. During the course, students have produced designs for The Wardrobe Theatre, The Tobacco Factory, Circomedia and Bristol Old Vic working closely with professional practitioners and student directors.

An extensive portfolio of industry-standard work can be achieved over the course, including theoretical projects and the staged productions. Students leave BOVTS with the skills, knowledge and confidence to build careers as professional designers.

Graduate exhibitions and industry interviews at The Royal West Academy of Art in Bristol and in London provide with promotional opportunities and excellent pathways to employment.

Inspiring leadership by Head of Design Angela Davies, 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.

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 (April) and completes at the end of the summer term of the following academic year (July). A comprehensive portfolio of art and design is required at interview.

Recent graduates have held design positions at: The RSC, The National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, Pimlico Opera, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Bristol Old Vic, The Tobacco Factory, Exeter Northcott Theatre, The Finsborough Theatre, The Vault Festival, The Orange Tree and Kneehigh Theatre Company.

Recent Graduate News: Anna Orton was both the set designer and performance artist on the recent production of The Messiah at Bristol Old Vic directed by Artistic Director Tom Morris.

For specific queries, please contact Head of Design, Angela Davies -

Short film of the BOVTS Finalists at the Linbury Prize 2013 CLICK HERE.

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

Applications Closed Course Fees Term Dates Policies & Procedures Courses Guide

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 Directors' Cuts Season.
  • - Skills classes and support in CAD and Photoshop and an introduction to portfolio design.

Term 4
  • - Realise small-scale production designs for the Directors' Cuts Season
  • - 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

Applications open on 1st October 2017 and will close at 4pm on Thursday 28th February 2018 for April 2019 entry

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.

Registered in England number 02430025 | Registered charity number 900280 | VAT number 520494954

Conservatoire for Dance and drama University of the West of England