Scenic Art

scenic artists painting set

Key information:

Course dates:
Mon 25–Fri 29 July 2022
Course times:
10am–5pm, BST (UTC+1)
Art form:
Production Arts
Fees with accommodation:
9am, Friday 8 July 2022
Level of study:
Short Courses and Summer Schools
Mode of study:
Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Course info

This course is now full. Please join our waiting list and we will contact you if a space becomes available.
  • The deadline for bookings is 9am on Friday 8 July 2022.

Ages 16+

Course Dates & Times

Monday 25–Friday 29 July 2022
10am–5pm daily, BST (UTC+1)

About Scenic Art

This one-week in-person course in scenic art, led by Vanessa Cass, Head of Design Realisation at Guildhall, will introduce you to scenic painting techniques used to create realistic backdrops and set pieces for theatre, events and TV.

Who is the course for?
  • Anyone aged 16 and over, with an interest in learning new painting skills and more about the role of a scenic artist
  • All levels of ability are welcome
What can I expect?

You will learn:

  • How to scale up from a designer’s model
  • Techniques for transferring an image
  • How to prepare a surface for painting
  • The correct way to mix colours
  • The appropriate choice of equipment and materials for your paint finish
  • How to achieve a range of paint effects like wood, stone, metal and marble
  • How to use textures to replicate bricks, plaster and concrete

You will work on a small backcloth on the paint frame and individual canvases of Trompe L’oeil painting (an art technique which means to 'deceive the eye' in French). Pieces of work can be taken home throughout the week.

Do I need anything for the course?

Please consider your choice of clothing and footwear, as you will be working with paint throughout the week. Old clothes, overalls and shoes are encouraged.

"This might have been the best short course I have ever done."

– Miriam, Scenic Art, 2021

Course Fee

Course fee: £525
Course fee + Bed, Breakfast & Dinner: £1035

This course is now full. Please join our waiting list and we will contact you if a space becomes available.
  • The deadline for bookings is 9am on Friday 8 July 2022.



Check-in: 4-6pm, Sunday 24 July 2022
Check-out: 10am, Saturday 30 July 2022

Accommodation is located in Sundial Court, the School's student halls of residence. Rooms will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Should we not be able to facilitate your booking, you will be notified via email and a full refund will be issued.

About the Course Tutor

The course is taught by Vanessa Cass, Head of Design Realisation / Scenic Art Lecturer at Guildhall School.

Vanessa originally studied for a Fine Art degree at Leeds University. For a number of years she combined working at the Royal Academy of Art with having a studio and producing her own artwork. In 1994 she studied Scenic Art and Prop Making at Central School of Speech and Drama and went on to work full-time as a Scenic Artist. 

She has painted scenery and backcloths primarily for theatre and has worked for The National Theatre, Royal Opera House, English National Opera and Regents Park Open Air Theatre. Other scenic work has included adverts, corporate parties, theme parks, murals and children’s television.

She has taught Scenic Art part- time at Central School of Speech and Drama, completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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