Full-time: 3 Years
£9,250 per year (2019/20)
£13,250 per year (2019/20)
112 (September 2019 entry)
Markeaton Street, Derby Campus, Derby Theatre
Talented and creative professionals are in great demand for backstage roles in theatres and across the live entertainment industry. Offering hands-on experience in a real working theatre, our exciting BA (Hons) Technical Theatre covers all the behind-the-scenes skills that go into staging exciting productions.
- 100% of students said that they were satisfied with the overall quality of this course according to the National Student Survey 2019.
- You will have your own professional theatre in which to hone your skills. The University owns and runs Derby Theatre as a major venue in the city centre, where you can observe and work with industry professionals.
- The course covers all aspects of technical theatre. You will get to grips with stage and production management, lighting, sound, projection, sets, props, wardrobe and theatre administration.
- You will join a production team and help deliver compelling shows and performances locally, nationally and maybe even internationally.
- You will have the opportunity to visit other venues such as theatres, theme parks and arenas to find out what happens behind the scenes as well as on stage.
- You will be taught, guided and mentored by experienced industry professionals including the full-time staff of Derby Theatre, visiting professional designers and the highly experienced programme team.
To find out more about the work that Derby Theatre do outside of the University, please visit their YouTube Channel.
This exciting Technical Theatre programme is taught by practising theatre professionals with decades of experience and expertise in all areas of technical theatre. You will study the traditional technical theatre disciplines but then go on to explore the integration of new media and emerging technologies in live performance. During the course you will encounter a range of practices including stage and production management, lighting, sound, projection, set, props, wardrobe and theatre administration. You will be part of the production team for public performances in the Main House and Studio at Derby Theatre and other venues around the city and further afield. There is also the opportunity to be involved in extra-curricular activity at the Theatre.
You will develop a broad range of skills and be able to follow your particular interests and specialise in related areas. In your first year you will start with class work and focussed practical sessions in order to develop the fundamental skills and knowledge of technical theatre. You will work as assistants and operators on some of the produced shows as well as spending time observing and working with the professional team at Derby Theatre. In your second year you will develop more advanced skills and start to create and manage your own productions alongside students on other theatre courses. In your third year you will head up a department or engage in design roles for public performances as well as exploring your unique interests through your research project.
As well as the specialist facilities of Derby Theatre (which include a scenic workshop and dedicated student Production and Design suite) you will have access to a wide range of facilities at the Markeaton Street site including wood and metal workshops, computer labs with specialist design software, LASER cutters, 3D-Printers, audio labs, video equipment and much more.
'I chose to study a degree at Derby thanks to their outstanding facilities they have on offer. Due to the fact they have their own theatre, I’ve had the opportunity to gain real life learning by working in a professional theatre for the course of my 3 years. This has given me networking opportunities I’ll be able to take with me outside of the University and experiences working on big Main House productions that look great on my CV.' - Aaron Mace, BA (Hons) Technical Theatre
You will study all the traditional technical theatre disciplines but then go on to explore how new media and emerging technologies can be integrated in live performance. There is also the opportunity to pursue your personal interests to specialise in particular areas.
You will study modules such as:
The emphasis at this stage is on class work and focused practical sessions with opportunities to observe and shadow professional practitioners at Derby Theatre. You will work as an assistant and/or operator on productions.
- Spotlight on: Industry Practice
- Theatre Technology and Design
- Theatre Production in Context
- Stage Management and Production Process
At this stage, you will develop your skills and knowledge while creating and managing shows.
- Spotlight on: Research Methodologies for Theatre Production
- Creative Project in Theatre Production
- Design and Technical Processes
- Theatre Production Practice
You will progress to greater responsibilities within technical theatre, such as heading up a department or engaging in a design role for performances. Through your research project you will explore in depth your unique areas of interest. We will help you to prepare for the next stage of your career through the Professional Practice and Industry Preparation modules.
- Professional Practice in Theatre Production (Possible work placement)
- Major Project in Technical Theatre
- Spotlight on: Industry Preparation
Watch the video to see what you could get involved with at Derby Theatre...
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
You will take part in lectures, seminars, practical workshops, tutorials and self-directed study, while engaging with performance and production activities. Assessment is through written coursework and practical evaluation.
You’ll work alongside students on other courses such as the BA (Hons) Theatre Arts and BA (Hons) Costume and Set Design to stage work not only at Derby Theatre but also at other venues across the city and further afield. The nature of technical theatre means that you should expect to work on shows during the evenings, overnight and at weekends occasionally.
Whilst all of your learning is underpinned by classroom based theory this programme has a very practical, hands-on approach to learning and you will spend much of your time working alongside the professionals at Derby Theatre. You might find yourself helping to construct the set, rigging lights or organizing props.
Real world learning is at the core of the Technical Theatre programme. Your work will be grounded in the professional activities of Derby Theatre and you will find yourself involved in production activities from a very early stage. We also work with other theatres and entertainment venues (such as theme parks) to give you exposure to practices in a variety of contexts. As well as professional productions you will work alongside students from a number of courses and develop valuable skills in collaborating across different disciplines.
You willl benefit from honing your skills in Derby Theatre. We are one of the only UK universities to own and run a professional producing theatre and your course is delivered as part of the innovative Learning Theatre initiative, funded by Arts Council England, which enables you to gain valuable industry experience.
The vision for the Learning Theatre is to develop the next generation of theatre makers while creating a highly successful regional producing theatre and a city-wide community education programme.
Such has been the success of the Learning Theatre project that it won the prize for ‘Excellence and Innovation in the Arts’ in the Times Higher Education Awards. It has also become an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO).
Take a virtual tour of our facilities at Derby Theatre
People you will meet
You will be taught by practising professionals with expertise in their own specialist areas of technical theatre.
- Kit Lane – Programme Leader. Over 25 years’ professional theatre experience. Production Manager for over 100 productions in the UK, West End and internationally. Video Designer with dozens of professional designs nationally and internationally.
- Cath Badham – Lecturer. Over 25 years as a professional Stage Manager working at theatres across the country including The Sheffield Crucible, Nottingham Playhouse and The Royal Shakespeare Company.
- Alexandra Stafford-Marshall – Associate Lecturer and freelance lighting designer with 25 year’s professional experience. Formerly Chief Electrician of Derby Playhouse.
- Adam McCready – Guest Lecturer and Freelance Sound Designer with over a decade of experience and numerous design credits.
- Tim Heywood – Head of Wardrobe at Derby Theatre and accomplished designer of set and costumes for theatre, TV and film.
Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June and is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:
Take a look at highlights from the 2019 Degree Show.
September 2019 typical entry requirements
|UCAS points||112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level|
No specific subject requirements
|Specific requirements at GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|IELTS||6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)|
|Interview / Audition||Yes - see interview details|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - DMM
- Access to HE Diploma 60 credits: 45 at level 3 with a minimum of Dist: 15 Merit: 24 Pass: 6
We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
Our graduates have a great employability track record in many areas of the live event industry, including lighting design, project management, stage management, technical support and theatre technician roles.
Throughout the Technical Theatre course, you’ll discover countless opportunities to showcase your work to a wider audience, make contacts across the industry, and join professional agencies and support networks to help launch your career. We’ll help you to structure an impressive CV and portfolio to plot your course through the complex terrain of the creative industries.
- Richard Gerver, who studied Theatre Arts at Derby and has become a best-selling author, award-winning educationalist, acclaimed public speaker, and adviser to governments and major corporations across the globe. “There was a sense that anything is possible at Derby," says Richard. "We were studying in an atmosphere where risk-taking, creativity and entrepreneurship were the norm. It gave me a love of learning which has stayed with me.”
- Dan Clarkson graduated in Technical Theatre in 2016 with a special interest in sound. He has subsequently worked at a number of venues including Birmingham Old Rep and The Donmar Warehouse in London. He has also undertaken tours with shows as diverse as The Circus of Horrors and Here Come the Boys.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
† Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
Included in your fees
- Use of theatre workshop and all technical equipment in the Derby Theatre.
- 2 national field trips
- Discounted tickets to Derby Theatre during studies
- Here at Derby, we provide excellent learning resources, libraries and specialist laboratories and studios.
- Some Personal Protective Clothing (PPC)
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Correct clothing for practical classes - if not already owned approx £20- £30
- Safety footwear – if not already owned approx. £30
- Additional materials (printing, stationary, portfolio sleeves, folders, USBs/hard drives etc.) (Approx. costs - Year 1= £200, Year 2 = £250, Year 3 = £300)
- There will be occasions when you will be expected to attend exhibitions, screenings, performances and festivals. You will need to budget for these over each academic year.
Optional costs not included in your fees
- Additional course related publications (approx. costs £100),
- Specialist software/hardware (costs up to £1500)
- Students would be expected to build up their own tools for practice in the profession over the period of study on their degree.
- Final year project costs (costs determined by student £200-£400)
- Travel for work placement opportunities (costs will vary dependant on location)
- We provide full details of all course fees, but extra costs may include optional field trips (approx. cost £200-£400)
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.