Stage Management - BA (Hons)

  • UCAS Code: W450
  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (3 years)
  • Location: City Centre

Prepare yourself for a successful career in Stage Management by studying at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Our BA (Hons) Stage Management degree provides in-depth, practical training; we aim to produce confident graduates who are ready for a successful career in the industry as soon as they leave us. You’ll gain authentic industry experience while developing the vital skills needed in each role of a stage management team.

What's covered in the course?

Our three-year course provides you with a thorough understanding of all aspects of stage management. You’ll also develop an understanding of the core skills in technical theatre and the design elements, widening your knowledge and ability to work in the fast-paced, demanding environment of stage management and further afield.

During your degree you’ll explore all areas of theatrical performance production. Concentrating on the technical and logistical aspects, your studies will investigate lighting and sound, wardrobe, set design, props sourcing, maintenance, and the management and organisation of touring theatre. You’ll also widen your skills base, developing an awareness of the administration and funding of events and small theatre companies as well as the context of theatre today.

At Birmingham Conservatoire we have a vibrant, energetic and stimulating environment. You’ll be taught by our team of highly skilled and experienced staff, who also continue to work with industry.

Learn through practical experience

You’ll be expected to engage in a variety of professionally focused roles which will challenge you to grow as a creative practitioner. Taking on the essential duties of Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) in your first year of study, Deputy Stage Manager (DSM) in the second year, and Stage Manager in the final year, you’ll learn through experience, framed by theoretical study. Through a series of practical and theoretical lectures, seminars and workshops you’ll discover the disciplines needed to confidently and successfully bring scripts from page to stage.

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Why Choose Us?

  • Working on around 14 shows per year, you progress – as you would in industry – from Assistant to Deputy to full Stage Manager roles across your three years.
  • Your final year includes a six to eight week placement, where you experience the rigours and responsibilities of a busy stage management job. Recent placements have included the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera House, the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. 
  • Develop your ability to bring scripts from page to stage through intensive, challenging and exciting study. You’ll action the requests of the director, supporting the production department and working alongside the cast while facilitating the rehearsal room.

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Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Wednesday 23 October 2019. Visit us at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire to see our facilities and find out more about BA (Hons) Stage Management.

Book your place

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Meet or Beat scholarship for undergraduate students

Meet or beat our entry requirements and you could be eligible for an achievement scholarship worth £1,000.

*Terms and Conditions apply - some undergraduate courses are not eligible for this scheme. The £1,000 scholarship is made up of an £850 scholarship and £150 free credit to spend in an online shop.

Find out more 

This course is open to International students

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Discover Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Complicite
  • England Netball
  • International theatre tours such as CATS and Les Mis

And in jobs such as:

  • Company Stage Manager
  • Automation Technician
  • Ticketing Manager

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Jacqui Findlay.

Email Course Director

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

You should normally have an A-level or equivalent in drama, dance, performance or a related arts subject. We also welcome applicants with practical experience in the performing arts. You will normally need a range of GCSEs including GCSE English Language at grade 4 (C) or above plus a minimum of one of the following:

Typical Offers (UK students)

96 UCAS tariff points

Two A-levels at grade C (including Drama) plus two AS-Levels both at grade C

A-Level Drama or related subject (C), and CC in two further A-Levels

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (MMM) in Performing Arts or related subject

BTEC Level 3 Diploma (12 units) (DD) in Performing Arts or related subject

BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma when studied alongside other qualifications

For full details and advice about auditions and interviews, please visit the Acting Auditions and Interviews section of the Conservatoire website.

Admission to this course is via interview. Please see our Guidance for Applicants for more information.

Don’t meet our entry requirements?

You could apply for a foundation course or a course at our International College. These routes have lower entry requirements and act as the bridge to a full degree. To find out more, please select your status:

Home student International student

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £16,600 per year

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. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU 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
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (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.

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.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

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

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

View additional costs for this course

Applications are still invited for this course

Main deadline date 15 January 2019, 18:00 (UK time) – please note that applications submitted after the main deadline date will still be considered for the 2019 intake.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

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

Practical Stage Management 1 (ASM)
40 credits

The role of a Stage Manager requires an understanding of the multiple contexts within which contemporary theatre is created and the impact of past traditions on present practices. Students must be able to understand the cultural and historical framework of a script. Students need the opportunity to then put into practice the theories, skills and knowledge they gain in other modules on the course in a professional theatrical environment to gain a realistic sense of the pressures, deadlines, problem-solving, and on-going decision-making processes that public performance entails. Students will be encouraged to develop their creativity in relation to their stage management duties, working across 3 production seasons.

Production Realisation
40 credits

Students provide support for the two workshop seasons by taking on the role of DSM in rehearsals, demonstrating the roles specific tasks linked with this position. Also working as a team they ensure high production values across props, costume & scenic design. They exercise their creative skills to ensure period detail and accuracy in making and sourcing all that is required for the show from rehearsal period to final show. Supported by detailed prompt copies for both productions.

Technical Theatre 1
20 credits

A strong Stage Manager needs to not only understand their own discipline but also have an understanding of the various technical elements which come together to create a piece of theatre or other performance event. This module provides students with a working knowledge of these technical areas in lighting, sound & video.  

Production Design 1
20 credits

Stage Management requires an understanding of the various elements of props, costume and scenic design which come together to create a piece of theatre or other performance event, and the practical skills required to realise those design concepts.

Year two

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

Practical Stage Management 2 (DSM)
40 credits

This module along with the other Practical Stage Management modules in Years 1 & 3 provides the central practical focus within the course.

Students need the opportunity to put into practice the theories, skills and knowledge they gain in other modules on the course in a professional theatrical environment to gain a realistic sense of the pressures, deadlines, problem-solving, and on-going decision– making processes that public performance entails and how these relate to the role of a Deputy Stage Manager. In preparation for the 3rd year they will also then focus on those skills of a stage manager for an in house workshop season giving them the chance to practice these before working on public shows. Students will be encouraged to be an essential creative part of the production team, and not see their role as one of a service function.

Production Administration
20 credits

Students have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and understanding of producing a theatrical event and the considerations needed to take a piece of theatre on tour. Stage Managers need to understand many levels of working in an Arts Organisation, especially in smaller self-contained companies. This module prepares the students to deal with the development of budgets, the sourcing of funding and the marketing and selling of product.

Technical Theatre 2
20 credits

Having gained in the first year of study a foundation knowledge and understanding of the various technical elements which come together to create a piece of theatre or other performance event, students need the opportunity to further deepen this knowledge and understanding through the more specialised creative development of either lighting or sound.

Students will need to gain a wider practical experience of the real-life context in which they can exercise the skills they are learning.

Production Design 2
20 credits

Having gained in the first year of study a foundation knowledge and understanding of the various prop, costume and scenic design elements which come together to create a piece of theatre or other performance event, students need the opportunity to further deepen this knowledge and understanding through the more specialised creative development of either props, costume of scenic design.

Students will need to gain a wider practical experience of the real-life context in which they can exercise the skills they are learning.

 
Faculty Collaborative module
20 credits

Year three

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

Practical Stage Management 3 (SM)
40 credits

This module along with the other Practical Stage Management modules in Years 1 & 2 provides the central practical focus within the course.

Students need the opportunity to put into practice the theories, skills and knowledge they gain in other modules on the course in a professional environment to gain a realistic sense of the pressures, deadlines, problem-solving, and on-going decision–making processes that public performance entails, and how these relate to the role of a Stage Manager, Including a firm understanding of Health and Safety regulations and their practical application.

Professional Development
40 credits

This module offers the student Stage Manager the opportunity to research and explore for themselves the work of a professional company or area of interest which may offer professional employment, and to relate their training to the professional world. Students need to develop the basic freelance personal management skills in order to operate as a professional Stage Manager. Students will have the opportunity to use their organisational and communication skills to network professionally.

Students need to recognise that professional development is a continuing process across a lifetime. Students need to understand the further opportunities offered to those with stage management and technical skills by the wider context of other related media. Students need to understand the opportunities which exist for further education and training beyond the BA (Hons) Stage Management.

Final Major project
40 credits

This module allows students to use the skills they have developed on the course to be given full creative expression. Students will be able to autonomously develop their skills in technical and stage management, and test the limits of their own imaginative and professional capabilities. They will have the opportunity to use all their ensemble, problem- solving, negotiating and management skills in a collaborative, creative practical context.

Course Structure

During your degree you’ll explore all areas of theatrical performance production.

First Year

Your first year of study will introduce you to the demanding and essential duties of an Assistant Stage Manager. You’ll investigate technical theatre skills, as well as prop, costume and scenic design. 

There are three elements of study during your first year that are vital to the function of a stage management team. You’ll learn these through the Practical Stage Management, Technical Theatre Skills and Prop, Costume and Scenic Design modules.

Development of the skills taught through these modules will extend your ability to work and respond creatively within a team. Through contextual studies you’ll explore the history and context of theatre today. This will teach you to understand the world in which a play is set, and which it is based. You’ll learn how to critically evaluate your role as an Assistant Stage Manager learning how to carry out the prescribed tasks. You’ll work as an Assistant Stage Manager on the School’s full scale shows, putting all of these skills into practice.

Your first year of study provides a foundation for practical work that will take place in your second and third years. Your study will be delivered through workshops, studio and rehearsal based spaces.

Second Year

During your second year of study you’ll build upon the knowledge and skill development throughout your first year. You’ll take on the role of Deputy Stage Manager, becoming an integral part of the rehearsal process and in theatre ‘calling the show’. You’ll develop your knowledge and skills in technical theatre and props, costume and scenic design. And you’ll be expected to learn key aspects of arts administration and health and safety that will be invaluable to your career.

During this year you’ll be able to delve into a more specific area of study, which is discussed within the Technical Theatre 2 and Props, Costume and Scenic Design modules. You’ll gain a wider practical experience of a real-life, professional context. You’ll do this through taking responsibility as part of a student team, running and maintaining the School’s studio performance space in your Technical Theatre Skills Two module.

Your knowledge will evolve and deepen, becoming more specialised and paving the way for your final year and then on to a creative career.

Third Year

Your final year of study centres on practical application of the skills you’ll accumulate throughout the degree. You’ll explore the role of Stage Manager in the Practical Stage Management module during which you’ll stage manage one of the School’s full scale shows in an external venue. You’ll also work alongside your peers to create and design an event to showcase the stage management skills you’ve learnt and present the event to an invited industry audience as well as the general public.

The final year will prepare you for your career. Through the Industry Research and Professional Studies modules you’ll critically reflect upon your own skills. We’ll prepare you to enter the workplace as dynamic and entrepreneurial professionals. These modules will enable you to generate project outlines and business plans for productions in a variety of venues and performance styles while preparing you for the world of work in this industry.

Your third year of study is designed to help you gain a realistic sense of the pressures, deadlines, problem-solving processes involved in public performance, teaching you how these issues relate to the role of a stage manager.  In this role you also supervise your own team of a student Deputy Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Managers,under the guidance of staff.

 

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Pirate's Tale Feature

Stage Management students’ Paper Installation ‘A Pirate’s Tale’

First year Stage Management students have hand crafted a new world to explore, created entirely from paper and card. This installation will transport you from reality to fantasy as it guides you through a boy's dream.

Read more 

Jordan Goff Stage ManagementStudent stories

Jordan Goff graduated from the BA (Hons) Stage Management course at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Since graduating he has constantly been in demand for large-scale musicals and is currently the Stage Manager for the China tour of CATS.

"The broad set of skills I gained gave me the perfect foundation and drive to explore as many different areas of stage management as possible. Without the knowledge, encouragement and guidance I received, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today."

Enhancing your employability

The BA (Hons) Stage Management course provides you with a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a Stage Manager in a theatrical production. You’ll discover and understand the use and purpose of theatre lighting, sound and audio-visual technology. With an exploration of props, costume and scenic design, you’ll discover, in-depth, the demands of the field.

We’ll provide you with the ability and skills to take on the role of Assistant, Deputy and Stage Manager. Discussions of the work of professional organisations and interests will help prepare you to take on employment within industry.

You’ll develop an understanding of the use and purpose of all aspects of stage management skills, design and various technologies in the creation of production, including investigation of the health and safety requirements that govern a theatrical production. You’ll learn many transferable skills throughout your study.

The course will help you develop a critical awareness of the creative possibilities that theatre provides. You’ll be able to interpret, assess and quantify the requirements of a theatrical event. You’ll acquire the ability to respond to the demands of the industry, and you’ll be able to carry out the tasks and roles of Stage Management.

You’ll learn how to organise, promote and enhance your skills as a creative practitioner, and you’ll be able to work effectively as part of a team. You’ll learn how to manage personal workloads, and negotiate and pursue goals with others.

Placements

During your final year you’ll have the chance to undertake a placement within a professional context relating to stage management. You’ll take responsibility for finding and organising the role, with support from the School.

We encourage you to engage with ideas and theories within a practical setting, developing your communication skills and working in an authentic environment. In the past, students have undertaken placements at industry-leading organisations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.


Ellie Southwell

Ellie is a final year BA (Hons) Stage Management student and has recently completed her industry placement at the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End. Through her placement she was given the opportunity to work on plays such as Half a Sixpence, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. Read more about how she secured her placement and her experiences working up until the opening night of the plays.

Read about Ellie’s placement


Lauren Wood

Lauren is a final year student on the BA (Hons) Stage Management course who undertook placements at the Birmingham Hippodrome and The Rep Theatre. Lauren worked on preparing for the press night of Billy Elliot at the Birmingham Hippodrome, which was something that she describes as a “night to remember”. This placement gave her the opportunity to make many contacts, through working with people across all departments.

Read about Lauren’s placement


Tabitha Sylvester-Kilroy

Tabi is a final year BA (Hons) Stage Management student and has recently completed her industry placement at mac birmingham and also at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. Tabi describes how she managed to secure her first placement through one of the performances that formed part of the course. Tabi tells us about how being at Birmingham Conservatoire has helped her gain the skills and confidence to succeed within the industry.

Read about Tabitha’s placement


OpportUNIty

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.

Firewalking

BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Trips and visits

Throughout the duration of the three-year course we encourage you to visit as many productions as you can. This will allow you to develop an authentic understanding of the theatrical and event world.

There are select opportunities throughout the course to gain industry experience. In the past, as part of the Stage Management Skills module, we’ve taken students to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s archive to observe and understand prompt copies. We aim to widen your knowledge of the industry through the encouragement of practical engagement. We also have backstage tours of the Royal Opera House and where possible observe professional technical rehearsals.

In your final year of study you’ll be offered the chance to undertake a placement, which you’ll organise individually, allowing you to take on a role that is specific to your interests.

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:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

Location

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is based at the University’s City Centre Campus. A part of the Arts, Design and Media faculty, we are based within Millennium Point but also have access to facilities at the Parkside Building.

The Parkside Building boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as radio and television studios, edit suites, photography studios, and much more. 

Rehearsal space

There are ten rehearsal spaces, a ‘black box’ performance studio, showers, lockers and workshop space within the Department of Acting. The ‘black box’ performance studio, also known as the Patricia Yardley Studio, is our in-house performance theatre. Using variable acoustics which can be adjusted, and housing a fully operational lighting rig and a quadraphonic sound system.

Each studio contains: specialist acoustic panelling; specialist sprung floors; a heating system that radiates heat equally around the studio; and an air replacement system that maintains a constant room temperature.

Performances

Students regularly perform at professional theatres across the West Midlands, including The Birmingham Central Library Theatre; Crescent Theatre; Hippodrome Studio (Patrick Centre); The Old Rep Theatre and The Drum.

Stage Management facilities

Learning from industry experts

Discover more about the industry experts you can meet on our Acting degree courses.

Jacqui Findlay is Programme Director for Stage Management - BA (Hons) and Production Manager for the school - watch this video to find out more.

Jacqui Findlay

Programme Director for Stage Management - BA (Hons) and Production Manager

Jacqui Findlay is Programme Director for Stage Management - BA (Hons) and Production Manager for the school.

During her freelance professional career Jacqui worked on a diverse range of projects from Shakespeare to contemporary dance via opera and panto. Many of these projects toured both nationally and internationally. Just before joining BSA Jacqui was Tour Manager for Candoco Dance Company. She has also worked in Television, Film and Live outdoor events.

Since joining the university in 2007 Jacqui has written and developed the BA (Hons) Stage Management programme which took on its first students in 2008, with the aim of providing students with the ability to demonstrate a thorough practical knowledge of all areas of Stage Management.

Jacqui also leads the schools professional production department who work across most courses at BSA providing support to the individual production needs.

Read Jacqui's full profile

Hollie Wright

Lecturer in Scenography

After graduating with a Master of Visual Communication Scenography, Hollie’s passion for immersive environments and dining experiences grew; working 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 Truck and Kendall Calling. Hollie has been lecturing on BA Hons Design for Performance and BA Hons Stage Management since 2006.

Read Hollie's full profile