RWCMD is a world leader in the training of designers for performance. The 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.
RWCMD’s courses offer intensive training across set design and construction, costume design and construction, prop making, model making, computer aided design, and puppetry. At postgraduate level, students can choose specialist pathways in design for set, costume, lighting, sound, or video.
The Design department enjoys close relationships within a thriving creative industries sector in Wales and beyond, hosting regular visits and talks by leading international practitioners, and placement opportunities with renowned venues, TV and film production companies. Recent students have undertaken placements at venues such as the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre, Theatr Clwyd, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Sherman Theatre, and with companies such as Bay Productions, Bad Wolf / 4 Wood, and Cardiff Theatrical Services.
This ever-evolving relationship with industry has seen staff mentor students into immediate pathways in employment across the sector for all students, with the 2021 cohort achieving 100% employment.
As members of Stage Sight RWCMD Design is committed to tackling under representation in off stage roles, building a diverse creative community enriched by multiple perspectives. The Design department actively encourages applications from all backgrounds promoting the pursuit of excellence through a supportive and nurturing environment. The vital requirements for each applicant are ambition plus artistic and creative talent.
For students from economically challenged backgrounds the College can offer financial assistance. Students across all protected characteristics, who have been underrepresented or have faced barriers through inequality, are welcomed in a creative collaborative and safe space.
RWCMD’s wide-ranging artistic programme offers a wealth of opportunities for designers and makers to realise their work for public performances, working with directors, actors, musicians, singers, and stage managers. As part of the Richard Burton Company, they work on over 20 productions each year, from classic drama and London transfers of specially commissioned new plays, through to main stage musicals, large scale opera productions, and uniquely for design – site specific puppetry performances.
A Wearable Art Show, performed for a public audience each spring, gives designers the chance to take centre stage, modeling costumes created from ‘found’ and recycled materials.
The annual site-specific puppetry performance offers further opportunities for designers to experience audience reaction first-hand. With 2020’s performance unable to go ahead due to lockdown, students worked on a ten-week project to create puppets remotely using everyday materials, and showcased their work on a website.
The College’s Linbury Gallery provides a stunning and unique setting for ever-changing displays of student design work – from installations featuring giant paper sculptures to scenic art and props displays. Balance, our annual exhibition of graduating students’ work, attracts the interest of leading professional directors and other employers. The opening week at RWCMD in Cardiff is followed by a residency at Bargehouse on London’s South Bank.
The Linbury Prize
RWCMD has an unparalleled track record of success in the Linbury Prize – the UK’s most prestigious competition for emerging performance designers. In 2019, six of the twelve finalists were recent graduates, and two were awarded commission prizes. Finalists get the chance to work with some of the country’s leading theatre, opera and dance companies and to exhibit at the National Theatre.
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