Design for Performance

Design for Performance

What is Design for Performance?

RWCMD is a world leader in the training of designers for performance. Our Design department offers immersive, hands-on practical and ‘fit-for-the-future’ training for students wanting to work across the theatre, event, film and television industries.


Do you have a love of art and design and want to develop your passion and be inspired? Can you look at your work with critical reflection and see your progress?

Show us how you put your hands into action to make things and share examples of what you enjoy doing creatively. Seeing your artistic development is interesting to us and we encourage you to be critically reflective about your work and show us what worked and what did not.

Design for Performance (also known as Scenography) is the creation of stage and performance environments for film, television and theatre (inclusive of scenic design, lighting design, sound design, costume design). It combines art and design with production for performance.

We are committed to tackling underrepresentation in the industry and want to build a diverse creative community enriched by multiple perspectives. We therefore actively encourage applications from all backgrounds to study in our supportive and nurturing environment.

Fundamental to the course is the relationship with the industry. We’re continually listening to what skills they’re expecting us to provide to our students, and in return, we have a fantastic relationship with them. We have had guaranteed employment across film, television, and theatre after graduation over the last few years.'

Sean Crowley, Director of Drama and Collaborative Performance Practice


Where do you see yourself working in the industry?

Our students define their own path and can experience all aspects of Design for Performance including model making, puppetry, costume, sound, lighting and conceptual design before deciding what to specialise in.  You choose what you want to be, and we help you find that journey through your professional life by tailoring the course to you. You will be taught by award-winning practitioners.

The skills you learn here are hugely attractive to employers. The creative sector often approaches us to work with our sought-after graduates and this is reflected in our high graduate employment rate across film, television, and theatre.


Why study design for performance at RWCMD?

  • We are a world leader in the training of designers for performance producing Golden Globe, Tony & BAFTA-winning graduates.

  • Our graduates are regularly honoured at the prestigious Linbury Prize for Stage Design and get the chance to work with some of the country’s leading theatre, opera and dance companies and to exhibit at the National Theatre.

  • We offer immersive, hands-on practical and ‘fit for the future’ training and have built strong relationships with major UK arts companies in film, TV, and theatre.

  • Recent student & graduate film and TV credits include Willow, Havoc, His Dark Materials, Sex Education, Winter King among others.

  • We can offer placement opportunities with renowned venues like Royal Opera House, National Theatre, Sherman Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company among others.

  • Our in-house production company, the Richard Burton Company, produces around 24 productions a year which offer our students cross-course collaborative opportunities 

  • Our design students create their design work for public performances, working with directors, actors, musicians’ singers and stage managers. The performances range from classic dramas, specially commissioned plays, main stage musicals, large-scale operas and, uniquely for design, site-specific puppetry.

  • We offer regular talks and visits by leading international practitioners like RWCMD Fellows Pamela Howard and Paule Constable.

  • We have a high ratio of staff to students with lots of dedicated one-to-one training and mentoring available to our students.

Balance exhibition

Balance Logo

Each year, our Design for Performance graduates take part in the Balance exhibition in Cardiff and in London. The exhibition is a celebration of students’ work across all areas of design, across all College productions. View the work of this year’s graduates.


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