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Design for Performance

If you’re passionate about the performing arts and have skills in art and design our course will equip you to be part of the creative team responsible for bringing a production to life. Whichever aspect you’re interested in - costume or set design or the making skills involved in costume, props, puppetry and scenery - this course gives you a thorough grounding, before letting you refine your skills in your second year.

Course overview

In your first year, you develop your design skills, with a focus on set and costume, as you work on several projects across the year. You provide design work and hands-on creative support in the form of painting and making for college performances, and get the chance to try out a number of design based roles, while you do so. You also have the chance to showcase the knowledge you’ve acquired through creating a design-led exhibition or installation piece with a performance element to it.

The second year builds on the skills and knowledge you have already acquired and gives you the option of focusing on a design-led approach of your choice. You work on several projects during the year, concluding with a final major project, where you design set or costume and/or work to realise design elements for a final performance piece. The skills gained during the course enable you to apply for university or go into an entry level role in design.

Throughout both years, you work with students and staff from other disciplines to put on a range of performances - some in our own theatre space and others at venues across Liverpool. You also benefit from workshops delivered by industry professionals.

Course highlights

  • Provide regular design work and creative support for performances in our 100-seat Willy Russell Studio.
  • Experience trips to and workshops with inspiring local venues, galleries and creative organisations and individuals, along with some further afield.
  • Collaborate with students and staff from other disciplines – including actors, dancers and musicians – to put on a range of performances throughout the year.
  • Work with a wide variety of professional techniques and materials to develop your creative design and making skills.
  • Showcase your creative design skills though working closely with technical theatre students to create a live installation piece with an emphasis on design and technical elements.
  • Benefit from industry-experienced tutors who have a wealth of technical knowledge and performance experience and are still active in the industry.

Skills to be developed

Set & Costume Design

- Drawing skills-2D sketchbook work & technical drawing

- Model making – working to scale in 3D

Making & Construction skills

- 3D construction (props/puppetry/set)

- Sewing & costume construction

- Scenic painting


Designing from text

Presentation & portfolio building

What our students go on to do

Students who have recently graduated from our Design for Performance course have gone on to study at:

  • Birmingham City University
  • Guildhall School of Music & Drama
  • Leeds Arts University
  • Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
  • Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
  • Rose Bruford
  • The Northern School of Art
  • University of the Arts London (UAL)
  • University of Chester

How do I apply?

You can apply from 1 September 2020 at

The deadline is 31 January 2021.

Auditions and interviews are in February and March, with decisions sent out in April.