Theatre Production

BA honours pathway within Performing Arts Creative Theatre Production Route within BA Performing Arts

Year of entry

Specialising in our Creative Theatre Production route leading to the BA (Hons) Performing Arts degree allows you to follow core modules intended to prepare you for a variety of creative and supporting roles in the modern performing arts industry, from performance lighting and sound to set and costume design or more esoteric areas such as performance art installation. You should leave with confidence that you have the knowledge and ability to start making inroads into this country's lively, varied and challenging creative performing arts industry. We want you to leave us feeling capable and motivated, confident in your ability to discover ways of creating your own working practices and operating successfully within an industry environment. We aim to develop your skills so that you are able work independently, meet deadlines, and develop your own work creatively from whatever initial brief you are given.

Top reason to choose this course

Our three-year courses give you the training and direction to start a successful career in the creative and performing arts industries. We have superb facilities; specialist tutors who are themselves professional practitioners in Music, Dance, Drama and Theatre Production; and we have excellent working relationships with the creative industries in and around our lively arts community. These potential future employers are involved in the delivery of the course, and bring their experience and drive to our students.

Students on this course benefit from trips and workshops and opportunities to work with professional companies.

You will be exposed to a variety of modules enabling you to engage with a wide range of theatrical production practices, and gain a wider understanding of the performing arts industry as a whole.

Modules looking specifically at lighting support and sound design and operation will be complemented by the study of performance texts and arts management practices. You will work closely with actors, singers and dancers, providing performance support and forming small touring performance companies. Arts Management in Practice and Arts in Professional Context will see you apply your technical skills to a range of community-based events. Your final year gives you a real opportunity to explore your creative side and venture into the world of performance installation, should you so wish.

You can study French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as part of, or alongside, your course.

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Exploiting new technologies such as multi-touch control surfaces and performance software like Isadora offers a rich new vein of study that perfectly complements the more established areas of set, costume, lighting and sound. You have freedom to work with performers, or create more technology-focused final pieces, allowing for a very flexible, autonomous and exciting third year.



You can choose specialist options in Dance, Drama, Vocal Studies and Theatre Production.

Year 1

Core modules

Introduction to Stagecraft

This module will serve as an engaging and primarily practical way of introducing fundamental design concepts for theatre that traditionally fall under the banner of stagecraft.

Perspectives on Performance 1

The first part of the module will be dedicated to the theory of performance studies. Taking Richard Schechner’s seminal text as the core work; you will apply its central concepts to examples ranging from canonical dramatic text to everyday life. The second part will focus on exploring ways of reading text and performance with reference to theories relating to space (Pavis, Balme) and the framing of performance (Goffman), and to semiotics and reception theory (Esslin and Bennett).

Interdisciplinary Devising: (Dancers, musicians, actors all work together to create work)

This module focuses on interdisciplinary working and the devising processes. The investigation and development of ideas through exploration tasks is central to the work you will produce. You will study mainstream/traditional devising devices and compositional structures and be introduced to aspects of production and design. In interdisciplinary groups (which may include students from music, performing arts, dance and drama) you will create a devised performance piece from a given stimuli.

Lighting for the Dramatic Stage

As an introduction to theatrical lighting, the module will restrict itself to the examination of convention lighting fixtures associated with basic dramatic lighting. In this respect, you will explore the use of lighting fixtures such as the Fresnel, the Profile, the PAR Can and the Flood.

Introduction to Performance Sound

You will become familiar with standard analogue sound desk operation, covering the functions of a channel strip together with the various output routing options. You will discover standard techniques such as setting a system gain, completing a gain structure setup as part of a sound check, the use of a standard semi parametric equaliser to maximise headroom for a microphone channel, and the use of auxiliary routing options for monitoring, sound effects speakers and effects units.

Theatre Design 1

You will begin to understand the use of scale and how to communicate ideas in two and three dimensions; and learn how to choose the appropriate materials for model-making and construction. You will also develop your appreciation of the importance of historical research; and explore the conceptual basis of the work of contemporary artists and designers.

Year 2

Core modules

Perspectives on Performance 2

You will explore the politics of identity through feminist theory and psychoanalysis and then reception theory and postmodern performances, placing the emphasis on issues of space and the body.

Theatre Design 2

There will be a focus on the design and creation of costumes and props, with particular emphasis on structures, body extensions, and fantasy (for example animal costumes, armour and pantomime). Students will look at the development and fusion of costume- and prop-making techniques applied to and around the human form, including mask- and headdress-making.

Contemporary Lighting Techniques

You will work with intelligent lighting fixtures such as moving spots, washes, digital projectors, LED battens and LED PAR Cans. Console training will focus on the skills relating to moving light programming and incorporating intelligent fixtures into a conventional fixture lighting rig. Desk and operational functionality will include elements such as the importing and creating of fixture profiles, the use of custom palettes, moving light fixture move marks, and additional fader wings.

Contemporary Sound Design and Operation

You will be introduced to digital mixing techniques and develop and understanding of the differences from, and similarities to, analogue mixing desks. You will explore desk function such as fully parametric equalisation systems, techniques such as ‘pinking the room’ using noise generators to balance the PA system to a room, using desk scenes to record sets of audio signal information and flexible routing using standard studio theatre audio/ visual tie line boxes.

Option modules

Stage Management 1 or Interdisciplinary: Arts and Politics Stage Management 1

The coordination of the production process involves a complex and wide-ranging set of skills which may include rehearsal coordination, budgeting, prop management, show calling, risk assessment, tour scheduling and pastoral care. Management for performance can encompass work at company level, through stage and deputy stage management, to assistant stage management roles

Arts and Politics

You examine the incorporation of political agendas into theatre, music, and dance. Art’s ability to act as a catalyst for political change, and the use and abuse of arts by political movements have always been an urgent talking point of artistic and academic debates. You will engage with a variety of key artistic practices and political concepts that have underpinned interactions between arts and politics. Topics may include (but are not limited to): the use of arts by courts, Church, and political regimes, key artists shaping and responding to national romanticism, national anthems, arts as a vehicle of revolution, and arts that offended moral standards.

Applied Performance 1 or Interdisciplinary: Arts and the Individual Applied Performance 1

The module will primarily focus on the application of drama techniques for intervention in educational settings and/or with young audiences. The first weeks will be dedicated to the study and practical exploration of relevant theories and methodologies from applied theatre practice and arts management, covering a range of contexts including Theatre in Education (TIE) and Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA).

Arts and the Individual

The module will introduce the broader notion of the ‘individual’ in the arts, and how this notion is manifest in a number of artistic movements beginning with nineteenth-century Romanticism. You will study a number of specific topics relating to the individual in the arts, which might include the idea of the suffering individual, key artists of the avant-garde, and the performer.

Year 3

Core modules

Practice as Research

You can choose to engage more practically or in written form as you explore an area of interest in greater depth.

Tech Performance Management

The module will consolidate design principles that have been the focus of prior production modules. You will have the opportunity to put these skills into practice throughout an extended period of creative production work.

Professional Portfolio

You will be introduced to the inner workings of a theatrical technical team and will develop those skills that are potentially locally specific. This might take the form of a broad induction to the workplace environment and working practices that are pertinent to that specific building. The module will also give you the opportunity to develop an awareness of production skills that are broadly relevant to technical work within the theatre, but do not form the mainstay of the technical training at levels four and five.

Multimedia Performance Environments

Multimedia performance embraces a new technology as means of extending both the self and place. Artists use the projected image to create alternative scenographies, social media systems to provide interactive environments with which to engage the audience, motion tracking devices to remediate movement and exist as virtual bodies.

Option modules

Stage Management

Company stage management involves a high level of wide-ranging skills including clear communication, pastoral care, conflict resolution, complex scheduling, touring logistics and liaising with production departments and venues. You will examine the context within which these roles operate, which might include West End productions, regional companies, small touring companies, community arts practice, and street theatre.

Theatre Design 3

The module acts as a natural extension to the design input at levels 4 and 5. It aims to broaden your awareness of design methods that move beyond the physically representative to explore the relationship between performance space, audience and the place of the object as a devising catalyst.

This degree is not solely a vocational training course, but it does seek to develop those transferable skills that are so in demand by employers. An understanding of the industry as a whole, rather than simply that of a niche specialism will prepare you for professions within the cultural industries, Arts Council, education and media.

We want to develop practitioners who have keenly developed skills in community relations, devising, planning, budgeting and communication, as well as having that all-important grounding in technical production and design. Graduates will find themselves well-placed to progress into the performing arts industry as potential stage management or as part of a production team.


The 2017/18 annual tuition fees for this course are:

Full-time £9,250* £11,000**
Part-time £4,625 N/A

Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

*Full-time courses which have a Foundation Year 0 will have a 2017/18 UK/EU tuition fee of £6,165 in Year 0.

**Tuition Fee Scholarship discounts of £1,500 are available to eligible overseas students. Visit the International webpages for further information.

Please read the 2017/18 Tuition Fee Statement for further information regarding 2017/18 tuition fees and year on year fee increases

Further information

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any Library Fees and Fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) Yes, if the trip contributes to the course (whether it is part of an optional or compulsory module), but not including food and drink. Yes, if the trip is not an essential part of the course but is offered as an enhancement or enrichment activity, or for a student’s personal development.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

Composition of the course

Each taught module has a standard 50 hours of student contact. This will typically be composed of lecture/seminar work or practical work You will also be expected to engage in 150 hours of self-directed study per taught module.

Academic input

There are six full-time contracted members of staff involved in this programme, who spread their time across Performing Arts and Drama teaching. Dr. Angela Pickard, Subject Lead, is a Principal Lecturer and has extensive experience as a performer (dancer), choreographer, manager and academic. She has published work on creativity, storytelling, role play and educational drama techniques.

All staff on this course have industry experience as performers, community practitioners and in academia in Higher Education. Andy Hurst is studying for his PhD in ‘interactive lighting.’

You will be assessed through a range of assignments incorporating a variety of modes such as presentation/performance, essays and reflections.

You will enjoy the use of a performance studio theatre with full lighting rigs and tech. room and a ‘concert’ hall. We work with a number of professionals for masterclasses and workshops. We have partnerships with two local theatres – The Marlowe and Gulbenkian so giving you access to free tickets to a number of performances.

We work with industry stakeholders aligned to the continued development of our teaching programme and research and consultancy work including artists from Bread and Goose Theatre Company, Reckless Sleepers and Propeller Theatre Company. We also have links with The Marlowe Theatre.

All of the Performing Arts team are members of Professional Associations related to Performing Arts, Drama and/or Dance.


Full-time study

Apply via UCAS

Part-time study

Apply directly to us


Full-time study

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For advice on completing your application please contact the Admissions Enquiry Team:

Tel:+44 (0)1227 782900


Contact our International Team

Fact file

UCAS code

  • W440 Creative Theatre Production

Institutional code

  • C10


  • 3 years full-time

    6 years full-time


  • September 2017

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 04/04/2017 10:47:00