Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Scenic Construction
Learn to plan and build sets, and develop skills such as carpentry, structural design, metalwork and mechanical engineering. Training will principally be in theatre, but the skills learned are easily transferable to many different media environments, including film, television, and advertising.
About the course
Scenic constructors need to be creative problem-solvers who use ideas and solutions that are drawn from all aspects of engineering and industrial practice to aid the creation of sets or staging. Students will learn to be autonomous and resourceful and to develop specific skills to the high professional level required by industry.
From the second year, students have the opportunity to work in professional contexts, such as in venues, scenery building companies, or organizations doing events, television or advertising. This course is ideal for those with a strong interest in building with wood and metal, but who also want a creative career.
Learning about a variety of materials, including woodworking tools, hand-held tools, and machinery. Students will build specific elements of scenery, working to a professional designer’s specifications and closely with technicians to plan how scenery might be rigged to fit within either a studio or a main-house space. Learning specific carpentry techniques, students work as part of a team, building or adapting scenery. Students will also have an introduction to AutoCAD and learn basic technical drawing.
Students continue to further develop AutoCAD skills. They will work on welding and building metalwork structures, to build a set for a public production, either individually, or as part of a team, as well as working with the automated scenery. Students also have the opportunity to work in a professional context within the industry.
Students undertake the role of Head of Department on a full-scale realized production in Central’s Embassy Theatre or Webber Douglas Studio, manage other students building scenery and coordinate with all members of the creative and production team. They will work on a personal project or placement that is focused on an individual area of expertise. Project work is chosen and negotiated to fit with the students’ understanding of which area/s of the industry they are most keen to make a career in. Students participate in an exhibition to present a portfolio of best work to the industry.
From the second year onwards, students have the opportunity to arrange placements. A wide range of professional companies works with Central, allowing access to many performance styles.
Through placements in the second and third years, students have worked on productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company, English National Opera, Blackfriars Scenery Ltd, Scott Fleary, Shape Construction and East London Furniture Company.
Students regularly undertake placements at the Royal Opera House and Watford Palace Theatre.
Through the links the course has established with other industries – such as festivals, events and theme parks – students have been able to broaden their scope of skills and expertise by working on a diverse range of projects.
Scenic Construction students will meet and work with many professionals and organisations throughout their time at Central.
This course has links with established scenic workshops studios such as Scott Fleary, Blackfriars Scenery Ltd, Factory Settings Ltd, Shakespeare’s Globe, K.C. Construction, Object Construction and Freeform Construction. These workshops build sets for theatre, television and corporate events, giving students an opportunity to experience the varied and diverse areas in which they can work upon graduation.
Students have also worked on scenery for television shows such as The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Red Or Black?, as well as events at Glastonbury Festival, Theatre Materials Conference, Paradise Gardens Festival and London Mela.
Many other opportunities come through the network of graduates already well-placed in theatre and contacts made with the professional designers they work with on public productions at Central. Students have also successfully started their own companies, all offering opportunities for graduating students.
Recent Visiting Staff
Roger Harrison, Lynsey Brown, Rafe Mullarkey, William Floyd-Maclean, Ruari Murchison, Jon Hare, Alexander McPherson, Colin Mander, Nigel Hayne, Philip Engleheart, Gary Thorne, Michael Taylor, Paul Wills.
Entry Requirements and Admissions
Minimum Entry Requirements
3 A Levels at BBC, BTEC ND: DDM.
Offers may vary from this, depending upon expected grades and performance at interview. Exceptional applicants who do not meet this requirement but demonstrate appropriate potential at interview and via their portfolio may be accepted. All candidates invited to interview are asked to bring a portfolio.
Admission with Academic Credit
For information on alternative entry requirements please see our website.
See How to Apply section for Undergraduate courses.
Interviews in London
Find out more about the interview process for this course.
Each year Central hosts a number of interviews outside of the UK, with a team of tutors from Central traveling to meet applicants. The international interviews are designed to replicate the London-based interview experience in every aspect (other than a tour of our site!). See our Event Finder for listings of upcoming interview locations and dates.
Visit the International Students section to view details of English language requirements for Central's courses.
Graduated 2013, freelance Scenic Constructor in London, has worked with English National Opera, Stage Technologies and as Production Manager on The Wedding Singer at Watford Palace Theatre.
"The best part of the course was the hands-on approach to learning. When working on a public production, a typical day was meeting the team and making sure that they were up-to-date and that there weren’t any problems, whilst working on technical drawings, budget, scheduling and liaising with other disciplines within the production team."
About the School
An introduction to Central from the Principal. Professor Gavin Henderson, CBE Principal Central stands at the forefront of training and research in the Dramatic Arts. Graduate employment statistics a... Read More