BA Performance Design

Students acting on a set

Key information:

Art form:
Production Arts
Application Fee: £TBC GBP; Tuition Fees: See Fees section below
BA Performance Design applications for 2025 entry will open in the Autumn term.
Level of study:
Mode of study:

About the programme

Bring your creative ideas to life with this innovative new course, which will equip you with the practical and imaginative skills to create designs for stage, performances and live events. The programme blends studio-based design work with hands-on experience collaborating on a wide range of performances using our state-of-the-art facilities.

As a Performance Design student, you will:

•    Develop a unique understanding of the creative, collaborative and practical elements of performance design
•    Utilise our world-leading facilities to develop your performance design skills, beginning with studio-based projects and building to fully realised designs for public performance
•    Undertake a research project that reflects your individual interests, values and aspirations as an emerging artist
•    Explore the influence of the histories of art, design and theatre on your own identity as a performance designer 
•    Make connections with established professional theatre practitioners, unions and societies that support professional practice

You will develop a broad range of skills including:

•    Approaches for creating concept artwork
•    Scale model making
•    Technical drawing (CAD)
•    Life drawing and designing for bodies
•    The art of presenting a design concept
•    History of art and design and contemporary performance 
•    Active design practice: selecting costume and props, costume fittings, approaches to technical rehearsal, and creative collaboration with directors and other designers
•    Understanding and exploring design parameters: budget, costings, limitations
•    Instigating design-led performance projects
•    Professional portfolio presentation and networking skills

Performance Design students work on a variety of different productions, filmed and live events and digital ventures, engaging with and instigating projects. The programme is aligned with the
BA Production Arts and BA Digital Design & Production programmes, facilitating connections between undergraduate students within the Production Arts department and giving you the chance to develop design skills in areas such as Video and Lighting, as well as learn about the technologies and processes needed to make a performance happen.

This programme shares the following modules with our BA in Production Arts and BA in Digital Design & Production: Personal and Professional Development 1 and 2, Contextual Studies, Associated Studies, Stagecraft & Production Process, and some Year 2 elective modules. These programmes will be going through revalidation in 2024 which may result in changes to modules offered as part of the BA Performance Design programme. Applicants will be advised of the status of the respective modules throughout the application process.

students working on set of a production

Programme Structure

Future careers

This new programme has been designed to enable you to pursue a career as a designer for live performance, working across a wide field of disciplines and sectors. Potential careers it could prepare you for are as a set and/or costume designer, creative director, lighting or visual designer. Possible projects could be productions in theatres, immersive or site-specific work and live music events or festivals.

The BA Performance Design is a new programme, but graduates from our other Production Arts programmes have gone on to achieve employment at industry-leading organisations. Guildhall School has strong partnerships such as the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre in London, Treatment Studio (visual designers for Adele and U2), TAIT Towers and Punchdrunk. Ongoing development of this specialised programme is expected to further enhance our relationship with these employers.

Two actors standing on the set of Senseless in front of a video projected background

Our Facilities

Our professional-standard performance venues with state-of-the-art equipment allow our programmes to keep in line with current practice and new theatre technology. Students use the School’s on-site theatres, rehearsal rooms and workshops to collaborate on major productions and a range of smaller projects and events. 

The programme will be taught in a studio with design desks; workshop and production spaces; and other facilities as relevant (for example, our media/Computer Aided Design room, technical laboratory and student production office). The BA Performance Design Studio will be newly developed to launch with the programme’s first cohort of students in September 2025. 

Lecturer teaching students at a computer


Meet our Production Arts staff, including programme leaders, lecturers and technicians.