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Design for Performance: Theatre, Film and Live Events - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry. Switch to 2023/24 Entry

Are you looking for a course that can act as a springboard for a rewarding career in design and production for theatre, festivals, exhibitions, nightclubs, live arts and more? This degree will enable you to make creative and informed contributions to contemporary performance design practice....

  • School Birmingham School of Art
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media


Are you looking for a course that can act as a springboard for a rewarding career in design and production for theatre, festivals, exhibitions, nightclubs, live arts and more?

This degree will enable you to make creative and informed contributions to contemporary performance design practice. Ambitious in its approach, this course includes design and production for theatre, events, museums, concerts, exhibitions, festivals, environments, nightclubs, film, live arts and scenography.

You will benefit from the collaboration of ideas within a multidisciplinary School, on a course that reflects the dynamic crossover common to creative arts in the 21st Century. Imagination, experimentation and risk-taking are fundamental to our students, as the challenges and opportunities are so varied on this course.

Professional Placement Year

This course offers a professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, between the second and third years of your degree, and is a great way to find out more about your chosen career. Some students even return to the same employers after completing their studies.

The University will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. If you do not find a suitable placement, you will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Please note that fees are payable during your placement year – please see fees and how to apply for more information.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

You will develop a clear understanding of the scope and breadth of contemporary Design for Performance, engaging with a variety of individual and collaborative opportunities. You will work with traditional and experimental formats from stage design to live arts, and site-specific festivals to themed environments. Using hands-on making, technical skills, 2D and 3D design, craft techniques and digital platforms, you will be able to determine your own career path in this expansive and growing industry. 

Our approach is to offer a first year experience that educates and supports students to develop skills and understanding that encompass spatial, figurative and performance design. From these underpinning principles, students tailor their second and third year study to areas of performance that are of particular interest to them. Because flexibility is built into our course design, you are able to study the same modules together regardless of your specific area of interest – this fosters a studio culture rich in diversity and collaboration. 

You will be supported by an experienced team who will assist you with your exploration of the traditions, theories and practices that are pertinent to your individual student journey. Learning is demonstrated through an accumulation of individual, collaborative, realised, speculative and live projects, along with a suite of high profile industry opportunities. 

This ensures that the course remains relevant and able to respond to the needs of the contemporary and future workplace and indeed to the discipline as a whole.

Why Choose Us?

  • Margaret Street, the home of Birmingham School of Art, was the first municipal art school in the UK. Its Grade I-listed building has been the inspiration for countless artists and practitioners of international repute. It is a site of creative art practice that resonates with its rich history and as a Design for Performance: Theatre, Film & Events student you would be joining a community of like-minded individuals who learn, make and grow here.
  • We’re interested in what is Performance? Where does Performance occur? And how do we creatively design for it?
  • Live project partnerships have included;
    • Birmingham Repertory Theatre
    • MAC Birmingham
    • Live Nation
    • Merlin Entertainments
    • Boomtown Festival
    • Casson Mann
    • V&A
    • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
    • 2000 Trees Festival

Design for Performance Overview Image

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.

In addition to qualification you will also have an interview stage.

IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • BBC / 112 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
AS and AS VCE Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design & BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture - Construction, Planning, Built Environment and Art and Design subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BA (Hons) Art and Design, BA (Hons) Fine Art, BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects, BA (Hons) Horology - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BA (Hons) International Jewellery Business - Arts, Media and Business subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • BA (Hons) Graphic Communication, BA (Hons) Illustration, BA (Hons) Photography, & BA (Hons) Design for Performance - Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Distinction
  • Can be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points
International Baccalaureate Diploma

Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers) Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma DMM
Scottish Advanced Higher
  • Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CCD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
  • Merit overall
  • Design, Surveying and Planning T Level considered for BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design & BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture courses
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts Merit overall
Other qualifications

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

Additional information for EU/International students

In addition to qualifications, you will also have an interview stage.

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Study Year (2022/23) £9,250
  • Placement Year £1,650

Professional Placement Fees

Full-Time courses with a Professional Placement incur a fee during the placement year. The costs for those years when you attend the university for study, and the cost for the placement year are shown here.

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £13,500 in 2022/23
  • Full Time
  • 4 years (with Professional Placement)
  • Show fees
  • Study Year (2022/23) £13,500

Professional Placement Fees

The tuition fee for your first year of study at the university is shown here. Full-time courses with a Professional Placement also incur a fee during the placement year. The fee for your placement year will be chargeable at the applicable rate in your third year of study.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected, but are likely to be in the region of £50 for the following items; sketchbook (A5 and A3), dry media, a good range of charcoals, pencils, pastels, etc, wet media, a good range of colour in either acrylic or gouache, model making materials such as foamboard and mountboard.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities, at an estimated cost of £50 for safety boots.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including an A3 cutting mat, metal ruler (300mm minimum), a variety of paintbrushes, 1 x scale ruler that has both 1:25 and 1:50 on it, Swann Morton scalpel and spare blades or disposable craft knife, a variety of pens for drawing (not ballpoint) at a total cost of approximately £40.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Personal equipment (optional)

Whilst not essential is it adviced you own a computer or laptop capable of design and video editing.

Gallery visits (optional)

It is advisable for all Creative Arts students to visit exhibitions, galleries and other creative and cultural institutions and events depending on your own individual area of interest. Travel and entry costs may be associated with this.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.


Please note that the application process for this course includes an interview stage. If your application is successful, you will be contacted and invited to select a suitable interview date.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

  • Course choice - Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
  • Career plans - If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
  • Work experience - Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
  • School or college experience - Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
  • Non-accredited skills or achievement - eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year one

Your first year of study will introduce you to the basic skills and critical framework within Design for Performance.

You will be taught through a series of modules, which provide you with the knowledge to further explore this ever-expanding discipline.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year two

Your second year is designed to broaden your experience and increase your critical approach to the role of the designer within performance.

Through a combination of theory and experiment, you will learn how to evaluate and apply principles to practice.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

During your final year of study you will be supported in establishing the confidence to acknowledge and assert your own distinctive work identity.

You will take a critical view of the world of Design for Performance, identifying your own aspirations and place within the field. The work will be challenging, yet you will experiment and establish a solid foundation in the basic skills and conventions of the field.

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Download course specification

Download now

Year one

You will develop skills and understanding that encompass spatial, figurative and performance design. From these fundamental principles, you can tailor the remainder of the course to areas of performance that are of particular interest to you and your future career aims.

You will develop your technical, creative, analytical, interpretive and reflective skills; helping you to understand traditional performance design and its relationship to contemporary practice. Through your modules, you will discover the application and use of colour, light, scale, composition, the figure and space.

Fundamental visual communication issues will be addressed through a series of core lectures and theory seminars. You will also have the opportunity to work with other students from across the school by selecting one of five in house options.

Shakespeare paper installation

Our first year students recently created a life-size installation featuring more than a dozen of Shakespeare’s most famous creations handcrafted from paper and cardboard as part of the figure in space module.

The show displayed scale models over six feet tall, a three-meter-high balcony and even a walk-in tavern, and was made as a tribute to mark 400 years since the Bard’s death.

Students used techniques learned on the course to sculpt 780 meters of corrugated cardboard and nearly 5,000 meters of brown paper into the entire setting and characters.

See more images of the Shakespeare paper installation

We are interested in allowing you to discover your own personal direction within this ever expanding and exciting area of design.

Year two

You will receive opportunities for placement, field study, collaborative and interdisciplinary work. We shall help you to develop your own personal direction, focusing towards the establishment of a specialised and flexible area of practice.

You will learn how to effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences. You will enhance your ability to work collaboratively within a working environment, demonstrating knowledge of the main methods of enquiry within the field.

Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the creative industries and the Collaborative Practice module in your second year allows you to develop these skills. Within this module you are able to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines across the School and wider Faculty. 

Your second year of study is crafted to allow you to develop your critical awareness, and formulate approaches to solving problems. You will develop your own individual style and perspective, drawing upon your own influences and direction.  Helping you to further understand the creative role, opportunities and responsibility of the contemporary designer.

Year three

You will be required to demonstrate, within your work, a particular view of what constitutes a design proposition. You will enhance your communication skills, allowing you to develop confidence and understanding, allowing you to capably articulate your views and knowledge to others.

The final year of the programme is designed to help you demonstrate a systematic, extensive and advanced knowledge of contemporary Design for Performance. You shall work autonomously or collaboratively to a professional standard on self-generated projects, with creativity and imagination.

Classroom activities and projects Students-in-Studio

Once you enter a studio you will feel part of a shared community, you’ll find yourself engaging in messy workshops, creative group work and working on live briefs.

Design For Performance requires a multitude of approaches and we believe that the best way to learn is by doing, throwing yourself in at the deep end and accepting that mistakes are part of the process. The activities and projects undertaken on the course are active, hardwork, memorable, realistic and fun.

In your first year, for example, you may take part in group work in which the group is expected to work together using nothing more than £500 worth of brown paper and card. Past versions have included WW1 trenches, Frost Fairs and a Shakespearean pub complete with characters from the play and the bard himself. 


Enhancing employability skills

The programme is designed so that you will complete your studies skilled, confident and ready to take on a creative career. Throughout the degree you will develop transferable skills, equipping you for creative practice. You will learn methods and techniques, with the ability to review, consolidate, extend and apply your knowledge and understanding in order to initiate and carry out projects.

You’ll develop the skill to identify and tackle problems, with confidence in communicating information and ideas. You will leave with sophisticated and professional communication and presentation skills.

Not only will you be able to work well within a team through collaborative practice you will also have confidence in your own abilities, with the talent and knowledge to independently produce creative work. Knowledge of the field will be developed throughout your studies, allowing you to critically evaluate historical, contemporary and personal practice.

The course will facilitate in the development of a wide range of both practical and knowledge-based skill. We will help you in your professional development, encouraging you to develop portfolios and gain extensive industry experience. You’ll be taught how to devise and manage design proposals, from conception to completion, readying you for a career in creative design. We’ll help you nurture your own creative flair and talent, with a focus on the creation of your own personal creative identity; something that will make you stand-out in industry.

Our Graduates


Alex Caddick
Artist in Residence, Wonderland Telford

"This course was the most rewarding three years of my life, I learned so much about the industry and how diverse a job in design for performance really can be! It was a perfect combination of all my interests in one course. I've made life long friends with some really talented fellow practitioners; there was a real feel of comradery rather than competition, as well we all so different in our specialisms.

After graduating I did a year of freelance work, working for a local charity, The Ironbridge Coracle Trust, who's aim was to bring a light onto the local history of the people in Ironbridge. I've also worked on set design and prop making for a few local theatres. All great skill building projects.

When the pandemic hit one of my regular freelance jobs, Events Designer at Wonderland Telford, was put on hold. But when I returned in June 2020 I was offered a full time position as Artist in Residence, repairing and repainting all of the props, buildings and figures around the theme park. I'm also still events designer, in which I decorate the park for Christmas, Halloween and Easter. My other roles include the general maintenance of the exhibits and props, as well as costume repairs for our live characters.

It's a hard manual job, and I work in all seasons, having to adapt my skills all the time. I have learned so much in my time here, and it's so rewarding to see my creative style now dominating the majority of the park.

For the future I hope to return to freelance work, keeping my role at wonderland whilst working on other projects. I would like to explore the idea of making my own props available for hire or sale."


Catherine Briggs
Scenic Assistant, Brilliant Stages

"The course allowed me to keep my options open and explore many aspects of stage design. This flexibility helped me to explore both design and production and discover the career path I wanted to make in the rock and roll industry. The course was also flexible to allow work placements, helping me land my first job at Brilliant Stages."



Connor Woodey
Texture Artist

"The course provided insight into the vast scope of career options within the entertainment industry. Through completing a variety of projects, the course allowed me to zero in on my choice of career and then pushed me to start learning the necessary knowledge to succeed in that career. I developed many skills and gained a lot of practical knowledge throughout the course, whilst still enjoying every moment. I would highly recommend this course to anyone that strives for a job in the entertainment industry."


Lucy Norton
Arts Producer, The Art House

"I currently work as an arts producer for The Art House in Wakefield, I manage a huge variety of projects and get to work with amazing artists doing fascinating work. It’s such a varied role and one which I think makes a real difference to my community which is what makes it so enjoyable.

I’m also part of a new social design collective, Open to the Public. Myself and 3 friends set up the studio in 2020 and we have already undertaken some big projects across Leeds and Wakefield painting murals, delivering creative workshops for children and designing publications, we’re really excited for what’s to come!

The course taught me to be collaborative, flexible and adaptable to different briefs and clients. It gave me the chance to really explore all the different aspects of design for performance and to understand how to make those skills work for me in the future. I still use all of those skills today and I'm really grateful for my time on the course and to everyone I studied with during my three years there, it was so much fun."


Megan Tester
Creative Assistant, Harrods

"Studying this course has provided me with vast opportunities to work alongside a variety of students, academics and industry professionals. Working collaboratively throughout university has allowed me to adapt quickly into an industry environment with awareness of my strengths, meanwhile always learning from colleagues and clients. The freedom to explore a multitude of disciplines over the three years at university has allowed me to gain an understanding and establish favourable industries. Currently working in the exhibition and events industry, my knowledge of various creative practices has provided the ability to be innovative and individual in my approach to a brief. The value of development and having trust in the creative process is something that came to light in my time as a student at Birmingham City University; it is also something I have taken into consideration daily since, the ability to develop and adapt based on client requirements has allowed me to advance as a recent graduate navigating the endless opportunities in the design industry. "

Elizabeth Howell - Design for Performance graduate

Elizabeth Howell
Producer at Tate St Ives

“I am the festival producer for SWITCH festival for Tate St Ives. I have been a tutor creating programming with a group of young people to create a festival of newly created artwork, DJs and VJs, and contemporary dance on the beach. I have curated an exhibition and produced an open call for moving image artwork from young people across the UK. My role consists of tutor, mentor, programmer, exhibition designer, copywriter, producer, production manager, lighting designer and community liaison.” 

Chris Morris
Creative Director, STAX Creations

“I started Stax Creations with two friends a few months before graduating. We began by making decor and pallet furniture for local events, and we now design and make large-scale immersive installations and stages for festivals, venues, bars and experiential marketing. Our clients include Cornetto, Coors, Heineken, Carlsberg, Bestival, The Zoo Project and Sound City Festival, taking us to Ibiza, London and all over the UK. We’re on a mission to gather as many creative designer/makers as possible in all disciplines to help us on our way as we grow.”

 Cat Casewell

Cat Casewell
Visual Merchandising Assistant Manager at Selfridges

"I absolutely love my job. I love being a part of a wider team, all working towards one goal of delivering extraordinary customer environments every day and new scheme designs within the windows and visual moments within the store. I get to work within the Manchester and London stores, as well as getting the opportunity to travel to places like Paris, Milan and Copenhagen. Within these trips I get to explore different spaces, designs, displays, exhibitions and fashion shows. Visual Merchandising combined both my passion for events and the design of spaces with fashion.

I began working for Selfridges as a sales associate when I left the University. Later I got a job as visual merchandiser for menswear, then team leader, and now assistant manager for the store. No day is the same and no is job quite like this." 


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Further Information

The course is positioned within the School of Art, which has a longstanding and active internationalised profile and agenda. The course provides the ability to study in one of the UK’s most historic art schools. You will learn to develop your own creative practice in a thriving creative community in the heart of the UK’s second city.

International student case study: Karolina Bielskyte

Karolina Bielskyte Case Study

Studying this course was the reason why I came to England. In this unique programme of study, I became an interdisciplinary artist experienced in design for theatre, film, performance, exhibitions and more.

The course enabled me to embrace various aspects of performance related design, unifying different techniques and combining them with my traditional art knowledge. I have explored storyboarding, set construction and dressing to filming and post-production. I really enjoyed my time on the course as the range of projects and the high quality of teaching developed the skills I already had, encouraged me to gain new ones and helped me to grow as an individual and an artist at the same time. Most importantly, course tutors never put me in any frames or made rules to restrict my individuality or creativity, instead always encouraged and lead me though my own individual development.

Soon after graduation, I won the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Award at the VISCOM Ian Emes Awards which led to backstage work experience at The REP Theatre. Here, I had the chance to work with a wonderful person, Milorad Zakula, the REP production Manager, along with artists Rob Olins, Douglas Benford and Lee Berwick to create ‘The Sound Of Memories’ - an interactive audio visual installation in the theatre foyer. While there, I was also involved into making of a 50 minute film production to be released in tandem with the new Pink Floyd album, and for ‘The Endless River’ directed by Ian Emes, I was both an art director‘s assistant and a performer as well!

Later on, I took an ERASMUS+ opportunity and a two month placement at a theatre company called ‘Chille De La Balanza’ (located in a former psychiatric hospital!) in Italy, Florence. Here, I helped set up a painting exhibition and worked on set designs for the show ‘Fathers and Sons’ by Ivan Turgenev.

Facilities & Staff


Our Facilities

Birmingham School of Art (an impressive purpose built Grade 1 listed example of Venetian Gothic architecture) was the first major renovation project undertaken by the university (£5.5m refurbishment). The School provides an incredible resource for the production of art and its associated fields of study. The building has a range of facilities available including studios, workshops, specialist art and design library, bookable spaces and lecture/seminar rooms.

Our staff

Paul Barrett

Course Director/ School Academic Lead

Paul Barrett has been the course director for BA Hons Design for Performance: Theatre, Film and Live Events since 2001. A practising scenographer, his professional credits include designs for large-scale theatre, small-scale outdoor touring productions, corporate events and festivals. He has many years’ experience as a freelance designer, company...

More about Paul

Dr Lara Furniss

BA Art and Design Course Director

Lara has twenty years professional experience working internationally across many art and design disciplines. This extensive cross-disciplinary professional experience directly informs Lara’s teaching, with a primary interest in developing new pedagogic approaches to non-discipline specific problem solving. Lara’s research interests have emerged...

More about Lara

Dr Joanna Jarvis

Lecturer in Performance Design

Joanna’s background is in designing and making period costume for performance. She has combined her studies of dress in the eighteenth-century with an interest in women’s attitudes to self-presentation through their clothes and current theories on the psychology of dress. This combination is providing a rich field of study with reference to women...

More about Joanna

Hollie Wright

Lecturer in Scenography / School Marketing & Recruitment Lead

Hollie has a passion for immersive environments and dining experiences; having worked as a designer maker with experience in sculptural work and spatial design. Hollie’s professional credits span theatre, puppetry, and music festivals from Glastonbury and Download to 2000 Tree and Kendall Calling. Hollie has been lecturing on BA Hons Design for...

More about Hollie

Professor Andrew Kulman

Principal Lecturer in Visual Communication

Principal Lecturer and Professor of Graphic Art. Award winning Illustrator with 30 years of industry engagement. Currently Head of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Visual Communication. Responsible for developing courses in the School of Art and initiating several outreach programmes for the University. Research areas include the development...

More about Andrew

George Hart

Deputy Head of Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts

George Hart was the first member of my family to go to University, which has given him an understanding of the challenges students face when going to Universities. After the completion of his degree George worked within the creative industries for seventeen years as a Freelance Illustrator/ Designer, mainly working in London, but also nationally....

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