BA Scenography and Theatre Design / Drama and Theatre Studies

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

Aberystwyth University offers a wide range of Joint Honours schemes that allow you to study two subjects that best suit your interests. In choosing to study Joint Honours Scenography and Theatre Design / Drama and Theatre Studies at Aberystwyth University you’ll immerse yourself in a rigorous and challenging discipline combining both practical and theoretical elements. You’ll take a radical and innovative approach to design in the context of making theatre and performance, immersing yourself in a rigorous and challenging discipline that combines practical and theoretical elements. You will also look through and beyond historic and established forms to explore what drama, theatre and performance can be now and in the future.

You’ll have the opportunity to encounter a wide range of critical and creative forms and practices and develop your capacity as an independent theatre-maker, thinker and scholar. The intellectual, practical and transferable skills acquired whilst studying Scenography and Theatre Design / Drama and Theatre Studies will prepare you for a variety of careers in the creative arts, creative media and beyond.

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The Scenography and Theatre Design / Drama and Theatre Studies degree is your opportunity to develop your own design practice within or alongside the practice of theatre and performance. You will gain an understanding of contemporary drama, theatre and performance as sites of study, thought and creative practice and will gain an understanding of how the organisation of space can be an artistic practice in its own right, taking into account the conventions of traditional theatrical disciplines such as set, lighting and sound. Through a combination of theoretical and practical explorations you will critically examine and engage with a wide range of contemporary practices, from scripted drama and theatre design to site-specific performance and from environmental theatre to performance installation and experiments in new media technology. 

The Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth is the highest rated Arts and Humanities Department in Wales, according to the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, with 60% of research submitted being rated world-leading.

90% of our 2014 Theatre, Film and Television graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, a 7 percentage point increase on the previous year (DLHE 2014). This increase reflects our investment in innovative and strategic student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic Institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

Why study Scenography and Theatre Design / Drama and Theatre Studies at Aberystwyth?

The Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth is one of the most significant Departments of its kind, with a reputation at local, national and international levels. We offer an integrated scheme of study, combining creative and critical approaches to the discipline through innovative practical work and challenging scholarly enquiry. We also offer an extremely broad range of specialisms, ranging from site-specific and located theatre and performance to contemporary European theatre, British and Irish drama, documentary theatre, performance art, new media performance, politics, aesthetics, philosophy and ethics.

Many of our lecturers are leading professional designers, theatre-makers and active researchers, working at the cutting edge of their disciplines, and you will benefit from being taught the latest theories and techniques. Departmental staff have active working relationships with a range of companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre Wales, Music Theatre Wales, Quarantine, Imitating the Dog and the Magdalena Project, an international network of women in contemporary theatre.

We offer excellent facilities for practical work, including rehearsal studios and well-equipped studio theatre spaces, where you can undertake projects and productions at a variety of scales. We also make use of the unique geographic resources of Aberystwyth – its landscape, language, history – to explore the challenges posed by working in different places and situations, developing an understanding of how theatre and performance always emerge from, and relate to, specific contexts.

The Aberystwyth Arts Centre, one of the largest campus arts centres in the UK, is situated on the main campus, and is a popular venue where you can enjoy performances of all kinds. The Department has close links with the Arts Centre, collaborating to produce an annual Theatre Passport of subsidised work specifically for students.

We are enthusiastically committed to the European Erasmus+ exchange scheme and have a one-year North American Exchange scheme, run in conjunction with the Universities of Pittsburgh, Kansas, Vancouver, Alabama, Washington State and a number of other North American institutions.

The Department also offers a number of degree schemes and modules taught entirely or partially through the medium of Welsh. Further details may be obtained from the department.

Our Staff

All academic staff at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies are research active and/or involved in Knowledge Transfer projects and have either relevant academic qualifications at doctoral level or equivalent professional experience and expertise.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) Joint Honours Scenography and Theatre Design/ Drama and Theatre Studies W432 students must take the following modules:

Semester 1

Studying Theatre 1 TP11020

Semester 2

Studying Theatre 2 TP11320

Year 1 Options Joint Honours Scenography and Theatre Design/ Drama and Theatre Studies W432 students must take one of the following modules:

Semester 1

Making Scenography (studio) TP11620

Semester 2

Making Scenography (site) TP11720

Year 1 Options Joint Honours Scenography and Theatre Design/ Drama and Theatre Studies W432 students must take one of the following modules:

Semester 1

Making Theatre 1: Studio Project TP11120

Semester 2

Making Theatre 2: Site Project TP11420

Year 1 Options Joint Honours Scenography and Theatre Design/ Drama and Theatre Studies W432 students may take their remaining credits from the following modules:

Semester 1

Art Practice C AR10920

Thinking Theatre 1: Key Theatre Practices TP11220

Semester 2

Art Practice D AR11020

Introduction To Media Production (semester 2) FM10520

Thinking Theatre 2: Analysing Performance TP11520

Year 2 Options Students must take at least one of the following modules:

Semester 1

Principles Of Scenography TP22320

Scenographic Composition TP22520

Year 2 Options Students may take one of the following modules:

Semester 2

Scenography Production Project TP31140

Production Project TP34940

Year 2 Options Students must take at least one of the following modules:

Semester 1

Modern European Drama TP20320

Principles Of Scenography TP22320

Performance Writing TP32720

Semester 2

Theatre And Contemporary Society TP20420

Contemporary European Theatre TP21020

New Media Performance TP33820

Year 2 Options Students may take their remaining credits from the following modules:

Semester 1

Acting TP21220

Directing TP21820

Designing TP22620

Final Year Options Students must take at least one of the following modules:

Semester 1

Advanced Studio Practice (scenography) TP31240

Semester 2

Advanced Scenographic Project TP35940

Final Year Options Students must take at least one of the following modules:

Semester 1

Contemporary British And Irish Drama TP30820

Place, Space And Landscape TP32820

Documentary Theatre TP33520

Semester 2

Theatre, Gender And Sexuality TP33120

Performance And Architecture TP33420

Performance, Politics And Protest TP35220

Final Year Options Students may take their remaining credits from the following modules:

Semester 1

Playwriting TP34600

Ensemble Project TP35520

Creative Entrepreneurship TP35700

Independent Research Project TP36000

Semester 2

Playwriting TP34640

Solo Production Project TP35120

Creative Entrepreneurship TP35740

Independent Research Project TP36040


The Scenography and Theatre Design / Drama and Theatre Studies degree provides a balance between critical academic approaches,  practical experience and a trajectory of increasingly independent work to develop the skills you need to pursue career opportunities within the creative arts and media and beyond. Many students have gone on to work as set, costume, lighting, production and performance designers, or as actors, performers and directors, either directly, through association with co-operative and professional companies, or after further postgraduate study. Many graduates have also found employment in a variety of different areas including teaching, administration, marketing, management, and public relations. Furthermore, the degree will help you to begin developing your own ideas into realisable projects, equipping you as a cultural entrepreneur.


Transferable Skills

In addition to subject specific skills and knowledge, studying for a degree in Scenography and Theatre Design / Drama and Theatre Studies degree will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include the ability to:

·         apply creative, imaginative and problem-solving skills in a variety of situations

·         research, evaluate and organise information

·         structure and communicate ideas effectively in a variety of situations and using a variety of methods

·         work independently and with others

·         effectively organise your time and deploy your skills

·         listen to and make use of critical advice

·         be self-motivated and self-disciplined

·         use a range of information technology skills and resources

·         be entrepreneurial in developing cultural projects


You will be able to gather, assimilate and interpret intellectual and aesthetic material independently and critically, deploying creative and imaginative skills developed through the realisation of individual and group practical and research projects. You will also have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently and creatively through oral, written, visual and performative means to a range of audiences, evaluating and organising information, working effectively with others and working within time frames with specific resources and to specific deadlines.


Year in Employment scheme (YES)

The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

The Scenography and Theatre Design / Drama and Theatre Studies degree has been carefully designed to enable the development of your own way of seeing and thinking, preparing you for a career in performance design, and initiating your own practice of making.

In your first year you will take a number of introductory modules that develop your skills in making, thinking and studying, examining key historical moments, practices and methods. You will also be introduced to key practitioners and to theatre theory and aesthetics.

In the second year you will take a closer look at contemporary theatre-making, scenographic principles and compositional practices, working alongside specialist practitioners and other students. You will also engage with a diverse range of theatre and performances which will introduce you to the critical analysis of practice and develop your skills in communication and presentation. You can select from a series of modules which explore the development of modern European theatre, Shakespeare in contemporary performance, theatre and contemporary society as well as new media performance, performance writing, directing and devising. You can also choose to develop your skills through involvement in full-scale production work.

The third year offers you the opportunity to create independent creative work, undertake a major research project and engage in advanced theoretical study. You will demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the underlying intentions of your proposed practice and to convey these intentions clearly prior to the process of realisation. You will also demonstrate the ability to realise and spatially/temporally articulate an independently conceived aesthetic event, based upon clearly expressed principles and presented within the public domain. You can also select from modules that test and extend your skills through creating an Applied Theatre project or exploring the production and curation of cultural events. Specialist optional modules in the third year enable you to engage with staff research specialisms in place, space and landscape, architecture, performance and politics, and theatre, gender and sexuality. You will also be given opportunities to apply relevant Media; IT systems; graphical, presentation and DTP software appropriate to the development of independent proposals and a personal, electronically published portfolio. In the third year you have the opportunity to demonstrate your achievement as an emergent maker, thinker and researcher, preparing to enter the worlds of employment, entrepreneurship and postgraduate study.

How will I be taught?

The Scenography and Theatre Design / Drama and Theatre Studies degree at Aberystwyth is taught by dedicated and committed practitioners, many of whom have published extensively in their particular disciplines. You will be taught through practical workshops, small-group seminars and tutorials alongside traditional lectures. In smaller group settings teaching is frequently mixed-mode, interrogating theory through practical investigation and practices through the lens of various theoretical perspectives. This diversity of activity is an essential part of our teaching and learning philosophy, and creates a uniquely exciting and productive learning environment.

You will be assessed through formal and performed essays, written and practical examinations, critical and creative portfolios, practical productions, seminar presentations and group activities. As you progress through the degree we place increasing emphasis on developing your independence and self-management, allowing you to take responsibility for your own learning.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree scheme, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

The wide range of module choices paired with the wide variety of drama societies means we can easily be prepared for any area of drama and theatre practice. The academic and practical elements are brilliant, allowing us to either focus on one or the other and/or ground ourselves in the theory in order to better our practical exploration. The staff are always friendly and enthusiastic, always encouraging us to do more and explore further.

Jemma Rowlston

Since graduating I have been living in London. I have worked for the multi award winning musical Wicked! at the Apollo Theatre, where I am both a Costume Assistant and Dresser. Aside from my work on Wicked! I freelance further as a Costume Assistant on a variety of theatre productions including The Railway Children (Waterloo Station) working closely with designers and costume supervisors to realise their work on stage. The flexibility and structure of the Scenography and Theatre Design degree combined with the expertise of the tutors means that not only do you feel you are getting a hand crafted, meaningful degree, but a course that teaches the skills and methodology you need to work in the industry. Aberystwyth University is an infectious place to study (and play!) with amazing staff, inspiring surroundings, endless opportunities and friends for life. I would certainly recommend it.

Ed Parry

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