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BA (Hons) Theatre & Performance Design Course Overview BA (Hons) Theatre & Performance Design  Course Overview

This highly practical course enables you to advance and develop your skills as a creative designer for performance.

By working on our extensive programme of public performances, you become a versatile practitioner, who feels equally at home designing for theatre, film and TV, dance, music and site-specific performances. Our approach allows you to create your own pathway and curate a compelling CV and portfolio that matches your ambitions.

Accreditated By:

Accredited by Federation of Drama Schools

What You Will


  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3
  • Student


    "The hands-on way you’re taught means you have real experience of teamwork – and collaborating with other courses on productions gives you an understanding of what other departments are doing and how to work with them."

    Frankie Bradshaw - Set and costume designer. She won the 2019 Stage Debut Award for Best Creative West End Debut, alongside director Lynette Linton, for Sweat at the Donmar Warehouse and Gielgud Theatre. (Graduated 2014)

    Frankie Bradshaw Quote Icon
  • Student


    "Having the framework provided by the experience of studying and working with other students on productions at LIPA, provided an incredibly useful skill set for work in the real world. Going into associate work I could use that experience to learn even more."

    Lee Newby - Set and costume designer, The Cherry Orchard (Theatre Royal Windsor), Musik (Leicester Square Theatre), Labour of Love (Noel Coward Theatre) (Graduated 2011)

    Lee Newby Quote Icon
  • Student


    "LIPA teaches you how to work with people. It’s different to a lot of other places because you go through the process of putting on a show. To do that you need to collaborate, to be able to communicate with people with respect."

    Chiara Stephenson - International and West End set and costume designer (Graduated 2008)

    Chiara Stephenson Quote Icon

How You Will


  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Practical Productions
    Practical Productions
  • Independent Study
    Independent Study
  • Group Work
    Group Work
  • Masterclasses

How You Will Be


You are continually assessed on your practical work and contribution to projects – both on your working process and your realised design. There is written work in the form of evaluations of your practical work and a final research project at the end of your third year when you explore an area of your choice.

Practical/written work ratio

80% practical work / 20% written assignments


LIPA aims to have probationary degree awarding powers from September 2025 (subject to Office for Students approval). This is an exciting step, allowing us to take full control of our curriculum and course portfolio. In the unlikely event LIPA does not achieve probationary degree awarding powers, our degrees will be validated by Liverpool John Moores University.

What Our

Graduates Do

Our graduates work in theatre (regional, West End, UK and international touring productions), film and TV. Their career achievements have included:

Lisa Jones (2019)

Freelance designer and maker. Dresser on The Nutcracker for Birmingham Royal Ballet, costume trainee for Netflix and Sky 1, wardrobe assistant for Welsh National Opera.

Kirsty Barlow (2018)

Finalist for The Linbury Prize in 2019. Work includes assistant set and costume designer for Sweeney Todd at the Liverpool Everyman, Seagulls at The Bolton Octagon and Ugly Bucket’s streamed performance Good Grief. 

Alfie Heywood (2016)

Assistant to leading stage designer Christopher Oram on Garsington Opera’s The Turn of the Screw, Bitter Wheat, West End and Geisha for Northern Ballet.

Heledd Rees (2016)

Recent costume design credits include an immersive production of The Wolf of Wall Street in the City of London and a socially-distanced The Great Gatsby at ImmersiveLDN.

George Leigh (2016)

Winner of European Opera Prize with director Karolina Sofulak and designed Manon Lescaut for Opera Holland Park. Associate designer to Charles Edwards on productions for La Scala, Opera North and Santa Fe Opera.

Jasmine Swan (2016)

Nominated for The Stage Debut Award for Best Designer in 2018 for her debut season of work. Finalist in the Linbury Prize.

Jess Imrie (2015)

Production buyer working in TV and film. Credits include Sanditon (ITV), Silent Witness (BBC) and It’s a Sin (Channel 4).

Kathryn Nolan (2015)

Senior consultant with leading international theatre, acoustic and digital consultancy company Charcoal Blue, based in New York.

Frankie Bradshaw (2014)

Set and costume designer. She won the 2019 Stage Debut Award for Best Creative West End Debut, alongside director Lynette Linton, for Sweat at the Donmar Warehouse and Gielgud Theatre.

Grace Smart (2014)

Set and costume designer. Credits include Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual at Curve theatre, Leicester; Good Vibrations at Lyric Theatre, Belfast and Killer Joe at Trafalgar Studios, West End. Winner of the Linbury Prize 2015

Morgan Large (2003)

Award-winning West End set and costume designer




UCAS tariff points required from level 3 qualifications

For example:

  • Two A Levels at grade C or above
  • BTEC Extended Diploma: MPP  
  • BTEC Diploma: MM
  • T level: P (D or E)
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma: Pass including 64 points from Higher Level subjects

You also need 5 GCSEs grade 4/C or above including English and Maths or Level 2 equivalents.

Mature applicants (aged 21+): if you do not hold the qualifications listed but have relevant work experience, you are welcome to apply. Your application will be considered on an individual basis.


IELTS or above

You need to meet our English language requirement - a minimum of IELTS 5.5 for each of the 4 individual components (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening). We also accept other English language examination equivalents. You can find out more about English Language requirements here 

You also need academic qualifications at the same level as UK applicants. You can find out more about qualifications from specific countries here

Mature applicants (aged 21+). If you do not hold the academic qualifications but have relevant work experience, you are welcome to apply.

Educational qualifications are important but limited in what they can tell us about you.

Your natural ability, your fit with what and how we teach, your growth and your potential are also key factors in our admission process. We can’t evaluate these solely on your educational achievements, so no matter which course you are applying for, we look for the following attributes on your application and at the interview stage.




Knowledge, Ability and Experience

You should have some experience of working in different art forms, including 3D and 2D work. We’d also like to see that you’re able to experiment with a variety of media. If you’ve got any experience of theatre and performance design (such as making costumes or props, set construction or painting, or helping with lighting design), we’d be keen to hear about this, but this isn’t essential.



In addition to showing that you’ve been creative with art and design across a range of materials, we’d like you to tell us about your interest in seeing live performance and the visual arts in general.


Ability To Work Effectively with Others

While you’re with us (and in your professional work) you’ll work with a range of people – students, teachers and industry professionals, so it’s essential that you can work well with others. We’d like to see that you can take direction and feedback well, listen to others and offer support and constructive feedback.


Broad Interest and Engagement

We look for evidence that you are curious about the world around you and want to engage with all aspects of the course you’re applying for and the wide range of opportunities we offer.



We’d like to know why you’re applying to us and how you think the course you’re applying for will help you to grow and achieve your career aspirations. We’d like to see that you understand your strengths and weaknesses and how we can support you.


A Spirit of Enterprise

We want you to be able to work on your own initiative and see that you’re interested in creating your own opportunities. You may have been involved in creative projects which weren’t part of your regular school/college curriculum, or if you haven’t had the chance to do this, you might have ideas and ambitions which you can tell us about.

  • "Students being able to have their designs realised in full productions is absolutely invaluable. It means that not only is LIPA training imaginative, creative, designers but also giving their students a real sense of the collaboration and practical skills required in the professional world of Theatre and Performance."

    Bunny Christie
    Set designer working in the West End and Broadway and film. Winner of four Olivier Awards and one Tony Award.

    Bunny Christie Quote Icon
  • "You have an amazing institution that gives the students the possibility to grow in a warm and nourishing incubator."

    Felice Ross
    International lighting designer working in theatre, opera and dance in Europe, Israel, South Korea, South Africa and the USA

    Felice Ross Quote Icon
  • "I’ve worked with LIPA students and graduates. One of them has even joined our team. She has proved beyond doubt that LIPA can deliver."

    Patrick Woodroffe
    Lighting designer, awarded OBE and Royal Designer for the industry

    Patrick Woodroffe Quote Icon
  • "It has been my great privilege and pleasure to have learnt so much, benefited so greatly from my experience working with the many LIPA graduates that have assisted me over the last few years."

    Christopher Oram
    Olivier, Tony and Critics Award-winning theatre designer

    Christopher Oram Quote Icon

Course Changes

For information on possible changes to course information, please click here.