BA (Hons) Costume Production


Program Description

Applying to study with us in September 2021?

From Script analysis to character realisation - on this course you will develop your practicel and design skills for costume in performance

The unique strength of this course lies in its combination of technical focus with opportunities to experience the performance industry first-hand.

Both academically robust and creatively stimulating, the hugely diverse rnage of processes and media that we have on offer makes us a truly exciting place to study costume production. Interdisciplinary collavoration is actively encouraged, particularly amongst your peers in film and other media productions and as a student at Plymouth College of Art you'll gain unrivalled access to a range of digital processes, textile printing and 3D-making.

Our intensive, practical Costume Production & Associated Crafts programme helps you develop into an outstanding costumier, ready for a wide range of careers in the performance industries – including television, film, the stage and heritage exhibitions.

You’ll gain the most sought-after costume craft skills, including strong technical competence in pattern-cutting and construction for costume and accessories.

Our programme incorporates research into the historical and cultural contexts of costume as well as giving you an understanding and appreciation of costume design principles.

The hugely diverse range of processes and media that we have on offer makes us a truly exciting place to study costume production.

You’ll work collaboratively alongside students in film and other creative productions. You’ll also have access to excellent workshop resources, including a range of digital processes, textile printing and 3D making.

Supported by a dedicated team of professionals who have worked for theatre companies including the Royal Exchange Manchester and the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as television and film productions, you’ll benefit from a strong support network through our links within the performance industries.

The unique strength of this programme lies in its combination of technical focus with opportunities to experience the performance industry first-hand.

What will I achieve?

You’ll learn how to cut and make costumes to industry standard, with first-hand advice from costume wardrobe professionals.

You’ll develop design and illustration skills to communicate your ideas, and achieve a practical understanding of the rigour involved in making costumes for a range of performance types. You’ll also have the opportunity to work on incoming commissions.

Our innovative students have been involved in making costumes for TV and film, such as BBC’s ‘Poldark’, ‘Frontier’ by Take the Shot Productions, Canada, and BAFTA-winning director Robert Young’s film ‘Curse of the Phoenix’, which won the Platinum Award at Houston WorldFest.

Students have also worked on stage productions such as ‘Wicked’, ‘Book of Mormon’, ‘Wind in the Willows’ and for the Actors Wheel tours of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘King Lear’.

Students have had success in various prestigious competitions, including reaching the finals twice consecutively in World of Wearable Art, New Zealand (2016, 2017), and The Costume Society’s Patterns of Fashion (2016, 2017).

Thinking & making

Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our academically robust and intellectually stimulating degree programmes are delivered by our team of academics, technical demonstrators and invited experts who together deliver excellence in learning, teaching and assessment. Our programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.

We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.

Opportunities for studying abroad are available at our partner institutions.

BA (Hons) Costume Production:

  • Gain experience working on live briefs, designing and producing costumes in collaboration with performers to put a show together
  • Learn a high level of practical content, paired with a deeper exploration of costume design.
  • Develop essential organisational and communication skills.
  • Access outstanding facilities across the college.
  • Receive support from industry professionals. Become a confident, enquiring costumier.
  • Visit Puy Du Fou historical theme park and Les Machines de L’ile, to discover immersive theatre and large-scale costume in action.


Year 1

  • Unit 1: Method & Materials
  • Unit 2: Encountering Place
  • Unit 3: Exploring Subject
  • Unit 4: Platforms of Exhcange 

Year 2

  • Unit 1: Speculative Strategies
  • Unit 2: Global Challenges
  • Unit 3: Ideas & Audience
  • Unit 4: Emergent Practice

Year 3

  • Unit 1: Research & Development
  • Unit 2: Publication
  • Unit 3: Positioning Practice
  • Unit 4: Final Project

Module details listed above are indicative content only.

All modules listed are compulsory.

Careers & alumni

Our ambitious students have been awarded internships at prestigious institutions, including Glyndebourne, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Royal Ballet and National Theatre.

Amongst many other professional industry links to both theatre and film, we are on the doorstep of Theatre Royal Plymouth – the largest and most attended regional producing theatre in the UK, and the leading promoter of theatre in the South West – where students have enjoyed after-show talks and backstage tours.

You’ll learn from lecturers who have worked on West End productions for Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and gain insights from visiting professionals like Cathy Tate, Amanda Barrow and Jane Stuart Brown.

You’ll benefit from masterclasses led by experts in specialist areas such as prop making, millinery and costume design and visit events such as TheatreCraft, an offstage theatre careers event in London, and performances including opera, ballet, drama and musicals. In 2017 students created costumes for National Trust properties and exhibited at Destinations, London, where they met major film, theatre and television professionals and presented their work to prospective industry employers.

Our strong international connections allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our design studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange.

Graduates become:

  • Costume Makers
  • Costume Prop Makers
  • Costume Designers
  • Costume Stylists
  • Wardrobe Managers
  • Costume Supervisors
  • Theatrical Milliners
  • Lecturers

‘Careers & Enterprise in the Curriculum’ at Plymouth College of Art 

Professional practice is embedded within all of our programmes.  Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop the key professional, transferable skills for employability in the creative industries and potentially work in partnership with other sectors locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

From writing and making the most of your CV to gaining industry experience, the acquisition of professional skills has been written into the programmes of study by our staff teams, who have ‘real world’ experience. They are also supported by our Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.

Our students say

Heidi Peace

"Plymouth College Of Art gave me the opportunity to study as a mature student on a course that has changed my career. It gave me the freedom to study locally, which, as someone with family ties and commitments in the area was essential.

During the course I was able to collaborate with other departments, utilising different facilities, equipment and staff, thus giving me the possibility of expanding my skillset in a range of diverse genres that are needed for a career in costume production and small prop making.

One of the greatest resources in the college was the staff, whose expansive technical knowledge, industry contacts and experience has been invaluable both throughout the course and as an Alumni."

Jerry Moore

"I did a National Diploma course in Fashion and was awarded a week’s work experience at the Plymouth Theatre Royal Production Centre (TR2). I also completed a Young Apprenticeship Scheme course at the College and was invited back to TR2 to sew costumes. I worked there for two years altogether and have made costumes for 20 shows – some of them are touring in Denmark at the moment.

I decided to come back to Plymouth College of Art to get more design experience and a degree qualification in Costume Production to capitalise on all of my experience. I’ve worked with a lot of designers at TR2 and they have all been costume rather than fashion-based. There’s a lack of specialist theatrical tailors and lots of career opportunities."

Entry requirements

2020 onwards: A portfolio and 112 - 120 UCAS points (earned through A-levels, BTEC National Diploma, or Foundation Diploma etc).

We also welcome applications from students who do not have formal qualifications but can provide evidence of their creativity, skills and experience. You will also be required to attend an interview in person or via Skype, Google Meet or similar online platform.

International students

Language requirements for study at Degree level

  • Trinity College London
    • Integrated Skills in English II (Level B2), minimum grade required: Reading: Pass Listening: Pass Certificate valid for two years
  • IELTS SELT Consortium
    • IELTS (Level B2), minimum grade required: IELTS overall score of 6.0 with a minimum score Listening: 5.5, Speaking: 5.5, Reading: 5.5, Writing: 5.5,
    • Certificate valid for two years

Visa requirements

  • As an international student, you will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa which you can apply for online.
Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom ... Read More

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom making is as important as reading and writing, and where the purpose of learning is inseparable from that of living your life. A place for making things, and making things happen. For making a difference. Read less