Work placements and hands-on training in our studio workshops are at the centre of this specialist course that focuses on building sets for theatrical productions.
From day one in our state-of-the-art workshops at Llanishen Studios, you’ll learn fundamental construction techniques in carpentry, metalwork and welding. But you’ll also delve into using digital tools that are essential in set construction, such as SketchUp and Auto Cad, and computer numerical control (CNC) equipment.
Following your workshop training, you’ll then become more familiar with the theatre environment, learning basic skills in access equipment, rigging and flying systems. You’ll also gain greater insight into the roles and duties of relevant team members and become involved in the load-in and fit-up of productions here at the College.
The bulk of this course, which is the only one of its kind in the UK, consists of nine six-week work placements – four of which will be held at the College. The other five will take place externally with our professional partners, which are some of the largest and most prestigious companies from the TV, film and theatrical industries in Wales and the UK.
In our welcoming creative environment, you’ll build all the professional, practical and technical skills you need to secure a construction technician role after graduation – a position that’s highly in demand.
Why study this course?
Your skills will be in demand – there’s currently a shortage of suitably qualified entry-level technicians in the stage and screen industries.
You’ll be guided by expert practitioners who are currently working in today’s industry. They offer you not only first-rate teaching, but mentorship and networking opportunities as well.
Your cohort is small – only eight students in total – so you’ll receive a very high level of individual support and attention during your course.
We’ve partnered with some of the largest companies in the UK, who offer our students professional work placements and specialist construction roles after graduation – they include the Welsh National Opera, City Theatrical Services, Bay Productions, Wild Creations, Four Wood and Bad Wolf. We also have connections with some of the most prestigious companies and theatres in the UK and abroad, including the National Theatre, Royal Court and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
You’ll take on increasingly high levels of responsibility for creating and installing stage sets for our in-house productions, including opera and musical theatre. You’ll take on the role of construction leader in at least one of your placements. As part of this work, you’ll follow the design process, work with the designer to produce the required construction drawings, lead the construction and the final fit-up of the set.
You’ll be based at our large and superbly equipped workshops at Llanishen Studios, which are the largest and best equipped of any competitive conservatoire.
At the end of the two-year course, you’ll have the option to ‘top-up’ your qualification and receive a BA (Hons) in Design for Performance by completing an additional year of study specialising in scenic construction.
Alongside your placements, you’ll have evening classes at the College to help you develop commercial and financial awareness, as well as project management communications and leadership skills.
Collaboration runs through everything we do here. You’ll train alongside other design and stage-management students, as well as those studying our performing arts courses. This kind of work helps you to develop an understanding and empathy of other creative arts disciplines – but it also helps you to build partnerships that can last long after you graduate.
You should normally be working towards your Level 3 or equivalent qualifications, although we will consider applications from people over the age of 18 with relevant skills and/or experience in craft, design and technology.
We recommend that you use the personal statement on your application form to demonstrate your interest in theatre/film/TV and any relevant experience. Final selection will be made on the basis of an interview.
Tuition Fees for 2023-2024 (2024-2025 still TBC)
|Course Duration||Students from the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man||Overseas Students|
|2 years full time||£9,000 *||£23,860 **|
* Undergraduate tuition fees for UK students are set by the Welsh Government. They are reviewed annually and may be subject to an increase in future years.
** Undergraduate tuition fees for overseas students are subject to an annual increase.
Further information on the funding available towards the cost of tuition fees.
Most parts of the city are easily accessible on foot. The halls of residence, most residential areas and the city centre are a 10-15-minute walk from the main campus.
You will be based at the College’s scenic workshops at Llanishen Studios, which is a short bus ride from the main campus. A weekly ticket is available from Cardiff Bus for £15 and students aged 16-21 can apply for a pass which reduces this to £9.60 (prices correct as of March 2023).
During your training and throughout your career, you will be expected to build up and maintain your own toolkit. You will need to purchase your own steel toe safety shoes. Students are not allowed into the workshops without safety shoes.
A mobile phone is an essential tool for anyone working in the entertainment industry. The ability to send and receive emails is of high importance, and a smartphone also allows easy access to the College’s online timetabling system.
You will also find it useful to have your own laptop, which is able to run Microsoft Office and basic CAD programmes such as SketchUp.
You can usually apply for bursaries to help towards costs associated with external placements although these will not cover all costs and you are responsible for remainder.
Students are encouraged to attend as many College performances as possible and are eligible for free tickets to Richard Burton Company shows. For other performances, students are eligible for discounted tickets.
Students who are required to re-sit assessments may be expected to pay a resit fee.