Theatre and Performance Design

BA Theatre and Performance Design Code 064W Attend an Open Day Attend an Open Day

Apply Now

You are viewing this course for September start 2023

Led by internationally recognised practitioners, the Theatre and Performance Design degree scheme offered by the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth University takes a fresh, radical approach to design in performance. It looks beyond the established boundaries of set, costume, lighting and sound design to take a total view of performance space as an expressive artistic field in its own right. This is not a degree in ‘how to do it’, but an inquiry into how it might be done.

Through a combination of practical and theoretical explorations, you will critically examine and engage with a wide range of contemporary practices from playhouse theatre to site-specific performance and from environmental theatre to performance installation. As the course progresses, the focus of study sharpens steadily upon your own practice as an independent artist, applying your acquired knowledge and skills to the making of work that is fresh, radical and expressive for you, within or beyond the context of theatre and performance.

Course Overview

Why study Theatre and Performance Design at Aberystwyth?

  • This course will enable you to explore a radical and innovative approach to theatre and performance design.
  • You will be taught and mentored by a team of internationally known designers and experts.
  • We are a vibrant and creative department where drama and theatre, film and media, and scenography and theatre design collide.
  • All students benefit from our complementary learning experiences where theory and practice are designed to feed into each other.
  • As a department, students benefit from our connections with key industry partners, such as National Theatre Wales, Music Theatre Wales, Quarantine Theatre Company, and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. These creative partners provide an excellent opportunity to network and liaise with those in the industry before graduation.
  • Students in the department have access to our superb facilities and resources for practical work: three rehearsal studios, each with flexible technical facilities; 2 large professionally-equipped studios with digital lighting rigs controlled via ETC Congo and Strand Lighting consoles, Yamaha and Soundcraft PAs, Sanyo AV systems and Strand lighting and two NXAMP; and costume and wardrobe facilities.
  • On our campus is one of the largest Arts Centres in Wales, which regularly presents national and international theatre and dance work.
  • Aberystwyth University is known for having a large number of clubs and societies, so be assured that your time will be occupied with your studies and taking part in your chosen club / society's activities.
  • If you're looking for an experience beyond Aberystwyth, all students will have the opportunity to take part in a study abroad or work placement.

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.

Modules September start - 2023

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.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Design Skills TP11820 20
Theatre Technologies TP19820 20
Theatre and Performance Design in Context TP10020 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Scenography Site Project TP11720 20
Theatre Technologies 2 TP19920 20
Making Short Films 1 FM11420 20
Theatre in Context 1 TP11020 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Principles of Scenography TP22320 20
Scenographic Composition TP22520 20
Scenography Production Project TP24740 40


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Directors' Theatre TP21820 20
New Media Performance TP23820 20
Shakespeare in Performance TP23220 20
Theatre Design Project TP22620 20
Theatre and Contemporary Society TP20820 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Advanced Scenographic Project TP35940 40
Advanced Studio Practice (scenography) TP31240 40


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Contemporary Drama TP30020 20
Independent Research Project TP36040 40
Musical Theatre Dramaturgies TP39020 20
Performance and Architecture TP33420 20
Place, Space and Landscape TP32820 20
Playwriting TP33340 40
Theatre, Gender and Sexuality TP33120 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


What can I do with a Theatre and Performance Design degree?

Many of our students have been successful in obtaining employment in these fields:

  • set, costume and lighting design
  • production design and art direction
  • stage management
  • teaching and education
  • arts administration
  • marketing
  • management and project co-ordination
  • marketing and public relations.

What skills do I gain from this degree?

Students on this degree gain the following valuable skills that are sought after by employers. These include the ability to:

  • gather, assimilate and interpret intellectual and aesthetic material independently and critically
  • structure and communicate ideas efficiently and creatively through oral, written, visual and performative means to a range of audiences
  • apply creative, imaginative and problem-solving skills in a variety of situations
  • work effectively in group settings to develop, rehearse and produce live events
  • 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 means
  • 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.

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn? 

The breakdown below will provide you with an illustration of what you may study during the three year degree scheme.

In your first year you will discover:

  • approaches to studio-based and site-based scenographic design
  • key scenographic concepts, methodologies and approaches
  • the function of design within the broader theatrical event.

In your second year, you will explore:

  • the four primary scenographic elements of space, light, sound and body
  • theories and practices of scenographic exploration
  • tools and methods for scenographic composition
  • how to conceive, develop and implement a cohesive theatre design project
  • how to collaboratively conceive, develop and realise a design for a departmental production
  • the analysis, evaluation and understanding of scenography and theatre design
  • the development of specialist skills required for the representation and communication of scenographic concepts
  • optional modules which currently include Directors' Theatre: Staging Modern Drama, Shakespeare in Performance and New Media Performance.

 In your final year, you will have the opportunity:

  • to create advanced independent creative work that prepares you for professional practice
  • to develop a specialism in one scenographic element
  • to create an electronic personal portfolio that documents your work
  • to undertake a major research project
  • to study specialist optional modules that currently include: Space, Place and Landscape; Performance and Architecture; Music Theatre Dramaturgies; and Theatre, Gender and Sexuality.

How will I be taught?

  • You will be taught primarily through small-group practical workshops, tutorials, group based project work and production projects.
  • Our teaching is frequently mixed-mode, interrogating theory through practical investigation and practice through the lens of various theoretical perspectives.
  • You will be assessed through scenographic performance projects, group presentations, conceptual projects, design projects, formal essays, practical examinations, critical and creative portfolios, practical productions, and seminar presentations.
  • 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 are free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

Student Testimonials

Theatre and Performance Design allows new, young and enthusiastic designers to take their first steps towards changing how the future is viewed. Endless opportunities to create and to challenge existing design ideologies are made available to students, allowing them to not only find the best outcome, but to discover the style of the designer they want to be. Design is everywhere. Whether a student wants to delve into the events industry, television, architecture or marketing, design is the strongest element that is required.

Tabitha Thomas

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

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 120 - 96

A Levels BBB-CCC

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:

International Baccalaureate:

European Baccalaureate:
75%-65% overall

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits and offers can vary. If you would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

Back to the top